Northwestern’s THUNK a Cappella Leads Grape Jam

By Middle and Upper School music teacher Emma Castaldi

Northwestern University’s oldest a cappella group, THUNK a Cappella, visited Parker on Saturday, November 17 to run a workshop with Grape Jam, Parker’s advanced choral ensemble. THUNK is a coed group comprising about 18 to 20 members year to year, and the group is entirely directed and produced by students.

On that Saturday morning, THUNK led 22 Upper School students in vocal warm-ups, then taught them two contemporary a cappella arrangements. Students also learned to beatbox and considered the importance of moving while singing a cappella music! Both groups had the chance to perform for each other before the day ended with a Q&A session. Students asked questions about singing in college, the audition process for a cappella groups, choosing and arranging music and performance and travel opportunities. Additionally, the entire workshop was streamed live over Instagram (@castaldichoir) so that parents and other choir students could participate in the fun!

Overall, the workshop was extremely inspirational. Students left feeling motivated to create beautiful music and grateful for the opportunity to sing in a group. The experience was especially meaningful for me, as I was a member of THUNK a Cappella when I was a student at Northwestern. I was so happy to see that Grape Jam found joy in the same group that defined my undergraduate experience and motivated me to become a teacher. I hope to continue this partnership with THUNK in the future!
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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.