The birds, the bees and Dulcet

Pop. Hum. Bop. Stand in front of the Southern Oregon University Stevenson Union on a Friday afternoon and harmony falls like a gentle rain. For whatever reason, nothing seems to herald the spring time like SOU's a cappella group Dulcet and their weekly free concerts outside of the Stevenson Union.

"It's a lot more fun that most people would expect," said Ella Greene, one of Dulcet's founding members. "As a group, we have more fun than a choir. There's just a lot more freedom, and we are more friendly with one another. For the audience, there's more energy; all of our songs are memorized, there's no sheet music, it's a lot of fun to watch."

The performances are fascinating; a cappella stylings invoke no instruments, only the harmonies that band members can create with their mouths. The range fashioned, however, with the right amount of creativity, can amaze.

And, as Greene says, "No one does a cappella like college groups."

Get Greene talking about a cappella music and she gushes out a frenzied encyclopedia on the history of her art. "This genre is getting bigger and bigger and bigger! Groups are getting larger, and better funded," said Greene. "It's possible now to look for producers who have an ear for it. The biggest controversy right now is how much digitalization should be used (in production) so going to the right person is a big deal."

Only two years old, Dulcet is well on its way. This June, the group is recording a four track album, produced by their hero, Peter Hollins, creator of the Oregon State University group OutSpoken. They become an official SOU music ensemble this coming Fall, which will give them concert hall rights and funding, which their previous status as a campus club could not afford them. Co-founder Rebekah Mallorie stressed how a significant thing with Dulcet is that it holds open auditions and that many members are not even music majors, just students passionate about music.

"One thing we've always put a lot of emphasis on in putting on a good show," said Greene. "It's more important to us than (rigid) attention to vowel shaping, blend or other forms of musicality. As a group, we are more appreciated by audiences than judges."

The group dynamic ranges.

Just the same, Dulcet aims to conquer state quarter finals so that they can compete in semi-finals in California. So far they group has competed twice and done well. They got their first paid gig last Spring at SOU's Colloquium Symposium, earning a hundred dollars which is going towards the album session. They have performed across the state, mostly on college campuses, and have opened for University of Oregon a cappella groups, On the Rocks and Divisi.

"When the group wants to do something, we usually can do it surprisingly quickly," said Greene. In a lot of the shows we've done, the best pieces were the products of last minute passion rather than the things we've spent nine months trying to perfect and get down." Allowing their musicians to arrange songs themselves, another unique aspect of Dulcet is that there is no particular front man or woman, the lead switches according to the song. This aspect lends to a familial unity in Dulcet. So far the group has arranged a cover a broad range of musical genres, from Disney show tunes, to the Linkin Park/Jay Z "Numb encore" to the David Bowie/Queen ballad, "Under Pressure."

But hearing these songs from the mouths of this excitable, giddy group makes each song sound brand new. Their last concert played to about thirty people in front of the SU, some devoted regulars, some eager to audition, and some just passerby's who paused, entranced. As an elderly couple sat at a table, holding hands as the gung-ho ensemble proceeded, Spring was indeed in the air.

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