It was a tough day going to cover the memorial service for alumnus Ryan Alley last year, but I’ll never forget the beauty of the service — not just in the touching words of friends and family, but in the emotional and passionate Coldplay medley sung by TCNJ International Tunes (i-Tunes), which left me with goose bumps all over.
Celebrating their sixth year as a group, the i-Tunes have grown steadily as a co-ed, student-run a cappella group that performs a variety of songs ranging from international numbers to recent pop songs.
“It’s grown tremendously since I’ve been involved,” said junior co-president Jaryd Frankel, who’s been a member since his freshmen year. “It’s really different than other a capella groups because we’re more pop than just classical music majors.”
Although it may seem that the members of this musically talented group would inevitably be music majors, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’m doing a pre-med track that requires a lot of time and a lot of science,” Frankel said. “It’s really cool to take a break from that. Singing is such a release and it’s awesome that I don’t have to be in a class to be involved.”
Having several different personalities and interests of students join forces, they are able to mimic the sounds of an instrument ensamble to accompany several lovely soloists throughout their performances.
It’s apparent, however, that it isn’t just the countless hours of practice that make them so enjoyable, but rather their obvious chemistry that stems from having fun.
“We love how we can have fun,” Frankel said. “It’s not extremely intense, and everyone from all walks of life can be a part of something special.”
The work and success of the group rests solely on the shoulders of the students. Senior Agnes Kalinowski coaches the group as its music director, while current members must conduct a competitive process of auditions and induct new members by a majority-rule vote.
In fact, during his first encounters with i-Tunes, Frankel was quite intimidated, thinking the upperclassmen were actually teachers. But, still involved in his third year, it is quite obvious he couldn’t be happier with his decision to join.
“The people are so interesting,” he said. “A lot of us aren’t music majors, so it’s a really good social outlet.”
i-Tunes is currently preparing to cover tracks by Adele as well as Swahili songs for their performance at “Acapellooza” on Saturday, Oct. 12.
“We look for energy and enthusiasm,” Frankel says. “Some people come in with a terrible attitude, but you have to a good attitude. It also helps to have a good knowledge of other cultures or languages (for international songs).”
If you’re interested in auditioning for i-Tunes, you can find more information on their website at tcnjitunes.weebly.com.