An important discovery on Tuesday may permanently change the way a cappella groups perform at the University of Michigan. The Awkward Fellas, the newest all-male a cappella group on campus, found out that they could replace all their vocal parts with newly discovered devices tentatively being called instruments.
Musical director Joe Sherman tells the story of how the discovery was made. “It was [sound similar to a dolphin chirp]. One day at rehearsal I was playing the pitch pipe and I had a crazy realization that I was creating music without using my voice or anything. I thought, what if there was a pitch pipe for every silly little sound we try to make? That’s how I discovered instruments.”
Over the course of the last three weeks, members of the group have been experimenting with these new tools. Mikey Rodgers, the group’s renowned beatboxer, stumbled upon a set of acoustic beatboxing instruments. He used the term ‘drums’ to describe these devices. “These cylindrical instruments can almost perfectly replicate my pfts, and these discs provide a totally realistic sht and pshhhhh. If I’m being honest they might actually be a bit better than me, it’s astounding.”
The group has been giving each instrument a name based on which vocal sound it imitates. They now call the bass guitar the badumdumdum, the piano the dindindin, and the trumpet the bwaaadaaaDOW.
The group has quickly adopted the new instruments they’ve found. The a cappella group now consists of two guitarists, one bassist, one pianist, one drummer, and only one singer. The rest of the group now just sits behind the band and bops their heads in time with the songs.
“This discovery has made our lives much easier,” said sophomore Alex Reed. “I used to get really stressed out about making my das and dums 100% perfect, but now the band plays all the tricky melodies, it has really allowed me to concentrate on my dancing.”
Some group members have come out as opposed to this musical change, however. “I used to love moving people with my odd ability to make strange, nonsensical sounds,” said soprano Eric Schulte. “I no longer have that to look forward to anymore. I’ve had to resort to singing bopbopbop and ts’pts’pts’pts’p in my room late at night. And my roommates hate that.”
The larger a cappella community has seemed to react negatively to the discovery. Professional a cappella singer Nora Daniels summed it up well in an official statement on Tuesday. “This is appalling. It seems like nowadays, kids don’t know their shoobidity-boobops from their yabadabadooooobas.”
Originally published October 2014