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UVM a cappella group is the "Cat's Meow" - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

UVM a cappella group is the "Cat's Meow"

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

You've probably heard this song by Grammy winner Lorde, but not quite like this.

Eleven voices make up the sound created by the Cat's Meow a cappella group. There are no instruments in sight. That's former Burlington High School student Jenny Michael singing the lead.

"It was pretty terrifying," she says.

Michael is a freshman at UVM studying biology with a minor in music. As she found out, this group does everything by vote, including picking songs to perform.

"Then we have auditions and they'll choose a part of the song that you have to sing and everyone goes around in a line and sings it and then whoever wants the solo leaves the room and then everyone else votes," she says.

The same is true for leadership positions.

Music director Julia Spellman was voted into that position and leads practices three nights a week in a classroom on the Redstone Campus. They've been doing it this way for more than thirty years now. The Cat's Meow got started back in 1981.

You'd never know that when senior Katie Ingles started in the Cat's Meow her freshman year, she had never done beat-boxing before. She taught herself how to make her voice create musical sounds like drums.

"I went home and did a bunch of research and just started practicing in the shower and on my way to class, which must have looked really weird, and eventually i got really good, I guess!" she says.

"While its an escape for us, it can also be for the audience. we do encourage audience participation," says Sarah Adams, a senior from West Hartford, Connecticut. "A lot of people can connect to the music. It brings them back to maybe when they were in college and they can relate to what we're singing about or a time that they had with their friends."

Avery Lavoie grew up in Huntington, just south of Burlington, and loves being close enough to home so her family doesn't miss a show!

"My family is there almost, every show really! So we have a show in Brattleboro this coming Saturday and my parents are driving three hours to come see us," she says.

The Cats Meow is the only all female group performing this weekend out of six top groups that will be on stage.

"I am incredibly thankful that we get to perform with some groups like the Dartmouth Aires and the Tufts Beezlebubs who were on the singoff, they're incredibly talented groups and I think, hopefully it speaks volumes about what they think of our group," Ingles says.

A few notes in is all it takes to figure that out!

The 11th Annual Collegiate A Cappella Concert is at the Latchis Theater in downtown Brattleboro later on Saturday.

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