The Wells a capella group has been chosen to perform alongside 200 other students at the Lincoln Center in New York City in March in a performance titled "Total Vocal." Credit: Bailey Smith photo courtesy of the Journal Tribune

The Wells High School a capella group may be new, but their voices are bringing them to big places, and fast.

The vocal group, which was formed just last year, has been selected to attend a group a capella performance, titled “Total Vocal,” at the Lincoln Center in New York City in mid-March.

The Wells group will join about 200 other student vocalists in a performance arranged by Deke Sharon, a globally known singer and composer of a cappella, and cast members of a cappella films and television shows, like “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off.”

WHS a cappella director Bailey Smith said the audition process included submitting multiple group performances demonstrating the group’s skills set.

“We submitted one video where we performed at one of the Friday night football games for an armed forces tribute, and for round two we actually sent a performance from last spring in a competition the group attended,” Smith said.

Now that the process is finalized and the group has claimed their spot in the mega chorus, many girls have expressed disbelief over the achievement.

“I feel like it will be a shock once we get down there, but right now we’re at the point where we are so excited nothing else really matters,” vocalist Katie Reidy, a junior, said.

Vocalist Kylie Belanger, a senior, said the opportunity to work with Deke Sharon is one of a dozen reasons why she’s excited.

“He’s an a cappella genius,” Belanger said. “He’s the originator of all that is a capella. He made a capella cool, and he [served as music director for] ‘Pitch Perfect.’”

“Pitch Perfect” — which spawned two sequels, including one coming out in December — has a big Maine tie, as well, in that it stars Portland native Anna Kendrick.

Belanger said the group has been practicing once a week for two hours. They are still performing locally, but soon practices will shift gears and focus on the arrangements they will be performing in New York City.

Once the group arrives in the city, they will have two days of rehearsals, ranging from five to six hours, with all the students and Sharon.

The group will need to learn the songs quickly, Belanger said. But added the members are used to that given the fact that the group has only been together for a year.

“We are used to learning things in short periods of time,” Belanger said. “Sometimes we will get two practices in and next thing you know we’re out there giving the song a go.”

The group will essentially have an extended weekend when they make the trip down for the concert. They will leave for New York on Thursday, March 22, perform on Sunday, March 25, and return on Monday.

Smith called entry to the performance a huge feat for the a capella program, given how new the group is. Belanger added that the group’s acceptance is even bigger for the school.

“How often do you hear about musical groups from Maine going to a big city to perform nationally?” Belanger said. “This is one of the biggest things that’s happened at the school for some time.”

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