To perfect one of the songs in their repertoire, the students in the Rocket Pitches a cappella group need about a month and a half of practice. In rehearsal after rehearsal, huddled together in a room in Sorenson, they seek the right blend of their voices. All the altos and sopranos, the tenors and basses, need to come together as one. When they reach that moment of unison, it’s hard to miss. “It gives me shivers,” says Judy Liu ’15, one of the group’s 20 singers.
To move people with their music is the goal of the Rocket Pitches. “We want the audience to feel the emotion,” Liu says. Founded about six years ago, their name an homage to one of Babson’s signature events, the Rocket Pitches sing at campus happenings and host an open mic night in Reynolds’ dining area. They perform songs such as Elton John’s Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Beyonce’s End of Time, and Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. “We do modern music,” says Liu, who serves as the group’s vice president for communications. “We feel everyone can relate to it.”
The music offers different rewards to the group’s members. “Music is a big part of my life,” says Sarah Noh ’16, the Rocket Pitches’ president. From elementary school through high school, Noh played the violin in orchestras, and she almost majored in music before changing her mind at the last minute. She joined the Rocket Pitches as a way to keep music and performance in her life. “I didn’t want to lose it,” she says.
For Liu, who always has loved singing, the group allows her to do something she has avoided: sing in front of others. “I think I’ve had a slight case of stage fright since I was young,” she says. “I want to overcome that fear.” Even if surrounded by others, though, she admits that performing onstage still isn’t easy. Singing without musical accompaniment can make one feel vulnerable at times. Make a mistake, and you break that wall of unified voices. “If one person is out of sync, you can hear it,” Liu says.
Beyond singing, the Rocket Pitches plan to change their act a bit this year. They’re adding more movement, some swaying, finger snaps, and steps, and they’re hoping to experiment with percussion. “We would like to have a beatboxer this year,” Liu says. “It would add more spunk.” But efforts to recruit a beatboxer, basically someone who uses his or her mouth and voice to make all sorts of rhythmic sounds, have proven unsuccessful so far.
Whether they find that person or not, the Rocket Pitches remain a tight group that stays in harmony both onstage and off. “This is where I made most of my close friends,” Noh says.—John Crawford