Not necessarily. Many of our members have some kind of background in choir, but not all. The most important musical skills we are looking for are a strong sense of pitch and good tone. The ability to read music, while not always required, is also highly recommended.
You should prepare 30-45 seconds (or a verse and a chorus) of a song of your choice. The song should be one that you like and you feel showcases YOUR unique voice. We don't specify a particular genre of music for the initial audition, but the song should be melodic (as in, don't rap for us. It's cool, but we need to hear some notes). In addition, if you are able to do vocal percussion (beatboxing), then we'd love to hear you lay something down for us. To read more about the general audition process, visit the ACAC website.
Round I auditions are short (10 minute time slots) and very laid back (we promise). Basically, we have two goals during this first audition. First, we'd like to get to know a little about you personally. You're taking time out of your schedule to demonstrate your interest in us, and we feel like we owe it to you to know more about you than the fact that you're tall and you sang such-and-such. So we might ask you a few questions about your musical interests, your hometown, or where you got such cute shoes. There are no right or wrong answers. We really just want to get to know you a little better and help you relax before singing. Next, we'll want to hear your singing voice, of course. We might have you sing a few scale-like vocal warm-ups on a syllable like "la." Our goal is to get a taste for the complete range of your voice. Then we might have you do a few exercises in tonal memory, in which we'll play a few notes on the piano and we'll have you sing them right back to us. Then our favorite part: we'll ask you to sing your solo for us! After you do your thing, we'll tell you what a great job you did and then you're through. Pretty simple, right?
Callbacks require a little bit more preparation. We'll ask you to prepare another song to sing for us (again 30-45 seconds in length), but this time we will ask you to choose a song from a different genre. So if your last song was a musical theatre ballad, you might choose an upbeat pop song for your callback. Don't worry though—if you mess up and sing the same song in your callback as you did for your audition, then it definitely will not be held against you. We'll test you again on your range and tonal memory, but we might also ask you to clap out a few simple rhythms, do some simple ear- training exercises, and listen to you sing and blend with the group. As with the first audition, we'll try to make the callback process as fun and relaxed as possible.
After Dark is a big time commitment, but it definitely does not prevent you from pursuing other interests. We rehearse between 6-8 hours a week, perform in several gigs on and off campus, put on our annual two-night concert "A Light from the Darkness," compete in the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), and spend time in the studio recording our CDs. But if you ask any After Dark member, the first thing they'll say is how much fun it is to be involved in the group (go ahead, ask one). After Dark members actually enjoy spending time together, and they often hang out outside of a cappella, too. Even though After Dark is a big time commitment, you will still have enough time to take on the other activities you are interested in pursuing. Current After Dark members are involved in Greek Life, student government, student admissions committee, community service organizations, academic honoraries, WashU dance theater, and a host of other extra-curricular activities, all while taking on full course loads. Being a member of After Dark requires energy and dedication, but it definitely does not exclude you from any of the other activities that Wash. U. has to offer.
Feel free to ask! We love to hear from interested students. Please email our Auditions Coordinator, Will Freeman, at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Group Coordinator, Aidan Levine, at email@example.com with any other questions you may have.