Assumption’s a Capella Group, Organ Scholar Take First Place in Competitions

Jan 10, 2019

Assumption’s a cappella group, Hound Sound, earned first place in the second annual WEC’appella competition. The event, which was sponsored by Worcester Education Collaborative (WEC) and took place at Mechanics Hall, featured five college groups from the city.  Hound Sound bested a cappella groups from Anna Maria, Clark, Holy Cross and WPI.

“I couldn’t believe it until I held the trophy in my hand,” shared marketing major and music minor Rob Yirigian ’20, of West Hartford, CT, upon winning first place. “We put a ton of work and effort into this and I couldn’t be more proud of us as a group.”

“We are very proud of our student musicians,” said Assumption Professor of Music Michelle Graveline. “It is very gratifying for the music professors to see exceptional performances from the student musicians we coach.”

Those members of the Assumption a cappella group that performed “Elastic Heart” and “If I Ever Fall in Love” include: Izzy Camasura ‘18, Sarah Clancy ‘18, Julie Craven ‘10, Meaghan Creedon ‘19, DeAnne Duquette ‘19, Delaney Fenton ‘20, Cole Foster ‘10, Deirdre Gunning ‘19, John Killian ‘19, Gretchen Lynch ‘19, Giancarlo Maglitta ‘19, Reb Mariano ‘19, Holly Olson ‘18, Jennifer Rios ‘17, Pamela Rios ‘19, Talia Rossi ‘20 and Rob Yirgian ’10.

“We had been working really hard all semester, from deciding what songs to perform to perfecting the details of each song to adding in choreography that we could all do as a group,” said psychology major Talis Rossi ’20 from Scituate, RI. “Performing with this amazing group of individuals has helped me truly find my own community at Assumption. Hound Sound has become a second family for me. Each group member makes a unique and important contribution to the music we create and I love that.”

“Coming into the competition, our emotions consisted of excitement and just pure happiness to be there,” said economics major DeAnne Duquette ’19, third semester member of Hound Sound and a Shrewsbury, MA native. “The best part of my whole night, and what I had looked forward to the most, was performing with people I have spent so much time with, putting in a lot of hard work to prepare.  Each and every one of us gave it our all and I just couldn’t have been prouder.  Being able to showcase our talent with the audience is what I’ll forever remember but taking home the trophy was just the icing on the cake.”

Hound Sound is Assumption’s official audition-only student-run a cappella club, and one of the several ways students can get involved in singing on campus.  In addition, Assumption has a Chapel Choir, as well as Chorale and VOCE, a select mixed a cappella ensemble for advanced Chorale singers. One of many examples of the intitution fulfilling its commitment to the liberal arts, Assumption offers a number of vocal music merit scholarships to students who demonstrate vocal excellence and who commit to participation in the Assumption Chorale and VOCE. The scholarships are awarded to incoming first-year students based on an audition, which the student must complete before February 21 of the spring prior to matriculation. The scholarship is renewable each year, provided the student continues to participate in Chorale and VOCE and maintains good attendance in those ensembles.

For more information about the competition, click here to read about the event as reported in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

On the same day in the eastern part of the state, Christian Copeley ’19, Assumption’s organ scholar, was the first place winner of the Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists sponsored by the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) at All Saints Episcopal Church, in Boston. Copeley played a 35-minute program for three professional judges, which consisted of a Bach work; another written after 1750; a hymn; and Frank Ferko’s “Mass for Dedication.”

“My teacher, Dr. Michelle​ Graveline, prepared me very well by taking me to practice at various tracker organs in the area, such as at Our Lady of the Angels, Emmanuel Lutheran, and Mechanics Hall,” explained Copeley, a native of Concord, NH who is currently studying music. “This helped me to familiarize myself with the action of a tracker organ, which was the type of organ used in the competition. To any future organ scholars here at Assumption, should they get the chance, I would highly recommend this experience of advancing in organ performance.”

He now will advance to the Northeast final competition of the American Guild of Organists in Montreal on July 1.  The Northeast region includes all of New England and New York, as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. 

According to the AGO, Copeley has studied piano since he was 11-years-old – organ since a freshman in high school – and his experience as a musician includes participating in piano competitions and accompanying for Masses and other services at various churches in New Hampshire. 

The Boston AGO shares that the purpose of these competitions is to encourage younger organists to pursue excellence, to gain performance experience, and to receive recognition for their achievements. 

The following video includes performance footage of Hound Sound.