CI Guide: From a capella to comedy

Nearly 40 of GW’s hundreds of student organizations are performing arts groups. If you’re the type that likes to take the stage (or appreciate it from a distance) you may want to consider joining one of the University’s arts groups. Here are just a few to consider.

Pitches | The GW Pitches, an all-female a cappella group on campus, performs an electric mix of tunes ranging from Imogen Heap to Guns n Roses to Kelly Clarkson – with a little bit of Anchorman thrown in, as displayed at their concert last spring.

According to assistant director Leigh DeCotiis, the group, which was founded 10 years ago, takes pride in the fact that all of their music is self-arranged, a rarity among college a cappella groups. Overwhelmingly devoted to the group, she calls joining Pitches “the best decision I’ve ever made in college. I made some of the best friends that I will ever have, and have been able to keep singing.”

The women in the Pitches are unique, with their own interests and musical background – what they share is their love of singing and partying like rock stars.

“This isn’t your mother’s a cappella group. This is not your hand-folded, choral, ‘lo how a rose ere blooming’ a cappella,” said new Pitches director Arwen Sheridan. The group has big plans for the coming year – recording a new CD, building up a new repertoire and even going on tour. If you want in, look for the posters on campus, prepare a one-minute solo and sing your heart out.

Emocappella | Emocappella is big in Japan – seriously. Somehow, the group has gained notoriety overseas through interviews with Japanese radio stations and German magazines, along with mentions at home in Spin Magazine and as Blender Magazine’s “Weird Band of the Week.” They perform a cappella versions of songs by emo bands such as Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional – “and the occasional funny song about fat chicks or something,” said Junior Kevin Miller.

But to be in Emocappella, you don’t have to necessarily like a cappella, or be an emo kid, or even sing particularly well. Basically the point of the group is to have fun performing.

“What sets us apart (from other a cappella groups on campus) is that we aren’t that good, but people still like to see us,” Miller said. “We don’t try to sing a cappella so people can hear us sing; we try and put on a show.”

Emocappella has been busy: they released a new album, entitled “Is it in Yet?” after taking home an award for best song at GW’s annual Battle of the A Cappella groups this spring. The past year also featured a tour that included performances at the Universities of North Carolina, Virginia and Duke University. But their plan for this year – like every other year, according to Miller – is just not to break up, a task left up to the group’s new leader, Ben Balter.

Tryouts for Emocappella will be held in the fall, so keep a lookout for their signs around campus.

Recess | If you’re coming to GW because Georgetown rejected you and you’re bitter, Recess might be the group for you.

The comedy troupe’s greatest accomplishment of the year, according to junior Chris Singel, came when they defeated Georgetown’s improv group in a show that, unbeknownst to them at the time, had been advertised as “GW vs. Georgetown.”

“We’re trying to start a rivalry, but they’re not even in our league,” Singel said. “So suck it, Georgetown.”

Recess is GW’s one and only comedy group, taking over the Marvin Center’s Betts Theater once a month at midnight to perform their unique blend of sketch, video and improvisational comedy in front of rowdy crowds. They can also routinely be seen performing at shows around the D.C. area and at comedy festivals. Past members of the group have gone on to appear in movies, TV shows, on Comedy Central, and even in national print and television advertisements for Quaker Oatmeal.

Singel recommends the group for those who are serious about comedy, want to be serious about comedy, or just want to have the funniest friends on campus. Their first show is Sept. 15 at midnight in the Marvin Center’s Betts Theater, and auditions will be held there Sept. 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. Check for updates on their page at

“(Recess) has taken countless hours of my time, hundreds of dollars, blood, sweat and physical pain,” Singel said. But, he said, “I get one of the funniest college comedy groups in the nation, hilarious friends and enough attendance at shows to pay for the after party. We entertain thousands of people a year and offend several. It’s a risk we’re willing to take.”

Kino Fist Club | Washington D.C. isn’t the first city to come to if you’re interested in film, but here at GW there is a small but dedicated film scene. Kino Fist is GW’s primary film organization, usually meeting once a week to watch movie screenings of recent hits, the classics and independent favorites.

Some of the screenings last year ranged from titles like “Reservoir Dogs” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” to the growing cult classic “The Room,” which many consider to be one of the worst movies ever made. With many of Kino Fist’s members graduating, the group is looking for new members to join.

Announcements about joining Kino Fist will be made in film studies classes early in the fall semester.

Generic Theatre Company | Cara Chute says she is majoring in Generic Theatre. A senior, Chute is the executive producer of the student-run theater group. Founded in 1985, Generic is GW’s oldest and largest theater group on campus and was created in order to provide non-theater major students an outlet to perform.

Generic puts on six productions per academic year, including one musical, and is the home to the 24-hour play as well as Freshman Showcases.

“Generic is a company interested in putting on serious and quality theater for the GW community, but it is also a place to have fun, make friends and participate in something you are passionate about,” she said.

Check out Generic’s Web site (, or go to their first meeting on Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. in the Lisner Downstage.

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