Male a capella comes to campus

by Page Forrest
Junior Editor

What does Sewanee and every Ivy League school have in common as of this year? They now all have all-male a Capella groups. For years, Sewanee’s a Capella scene has been dominatedby Cadence, an all-female group, and Cambiata, a group composed of men and women. This began to change this past semester, when a group of guys got together, and decided they wanted to form Sewanee’s first all-male a Capella choir.

A Capella has a long history of being a traditionally male dominated activity, because of the myth that female groups can’t be successful due to seeming inability to fill out the base notes. That myth has been challenged by successful female groups like Delilah, who appeared on Season 3 of The Sing Off, an a Capella competition show from NBC, and the 2012 movie, Pitch Perfect. Schools like Yale and Dartmouth have male a Capella groups that have been active for over a century, and they do everything from record albums and go on tours. Late last year, a group of Sewanee men decided they wanted to fill the gap at Sewanee, and decided to create their own group. “The Key of D” was founded in the Advent Semester of 2013, the name a playful reference to the fact that all the members are men. The founding members were Colton Treadwell (C’16), Maxwell Guy (C’16), and Alex Linton (C’14).

The three decided that they not only wanted to fill the void of all-male a Capella organizations on campus, but also to create a different sort of atmosphere within the group. Colton Treadwell explains “We wanted tocreate a group with a more laid-back environment, where we do all of our own arrangements.” Last semester was mostly spent figuring out logistics and structure, as well as recruiting a few more members, including Joe Butler (C’14), and Scamp Watkins (C’16). This semester, the group is looking for more members, not only to make the group larger, but also to ensure that each voice part is filled out. Group officers also stated that membership will most likely be a continuous involvement, with no re-auditions each year for current members. “The Key of D” won’t be focusing on any specific genre – rather, members of the group will be free to suggest songs or potential arrangements, and then everyone will decide as a whole what they want to perform.

With the recent boom of presence in pop culture lately, it’s no surprise that a Capella is growing in popularity everywhere. It makes sense that college campuses would see a surge in popularity for the activity and new groups being formed. “The Key of D” will only add to Sewanee’s growing a Capella community, and hopefully will be entertaining us in concert soon enough.

If you’re interested in auditioning for “The Key of D”, you can contact Colton Treadwell at