CSUN’s a capella group Acasola on its way to the top

Kristin Hugo

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Former president of Acasola, Cathy Hegarty says she learned confidence, leadership, and was able to grow as a person in the group. Photo credit: Virginia Bulacio / Staff Photographer

After four years of establishing themselves as CSUN’s first a capella singing group, Acasola is a prime example of how commitment and persistence can turn a simple idea into success.

“When we started, we weren’t a powerhouse,” said co-founder Chase DeLuca, who started the club with Tille Spencer in 2006. “But we had an idea of what we were trying to create.”

When the club first started, the members of Acasola established a list of goals for the future, planning up to 25 years in advance. The goals and the structure of the club itself were largely modeled on a capella groups at other campuses. Although these goals have since undergone a bit of revision, the club has succeeded in quite a few of them.

DeLuca bought a house near campus, naming it “The Acasola House,” in which rehearsals and parties are often held. Both members and non-members can live in the house although it is currently half vacant.

Acasola competed in the International Championship of Collegiate a Capella (ICCA) their first year and finished last. Since then they have taken second place in semifinals and even toured California. This year, in accordance with their list of goals, they are hosting ICCA quarterfinals at CSUN in March. A capella groups throughout the West Coast will come to campus to compete to go to semifinals.

Another a capella group at CSUN called Vocal Percussion Radio (VPR) will also be competing.

DeLuca insists that if someone wants to start another a capella group, he would be willing to give them tips so they can grow and sustain themselves. One of the most salient goals of the 25-year vision plan is for CSUN to have a thriving a capella community, and that there be another a capella group on campus.

Although it can be a struggle for clubs to maintain members who are dedicated to the organization, the members of Acasola are committed to maintaining their membership.

“It’s easy to keep people interested in our club because it’s not just a singing group,” said Cathy Hegarty, business management major. Hegarty, 21, is a member of Acasola and its former president.

“It’s (Acasola) a big family that hangs out after rehearsals and has fun, and talks,” Hegarty said. The whole ‘commitment’ thing ties into the whole ‘family’ thing. You want to be committed to your family.”

To recruit members, Acasola has annual auditions, where a potential new member will go through scales and sing a song of their own choosing. They are also asked to tell a joke, because sense of humor and personality is important for membership in the “family.”

About 70 people show up to auditions, and the club hosts a callback party for the 20 hopefuls that demonstrated the best performance. Members are chosen based on their talent, personality, and need for diverse styles. DeLuca attributes much of Acasola’s success to their emphasis on experience.

The group stays relatively small and close-knit.

“One need only hang out with Acasola for a while to find the entire college experience you were hoping for,” DeLuca said.

“And we love hugs,” Hegarty added.

One goal in the 25-year vision plan for the group is to get a group island. At this rate it may be possible.