Wash. U. a cappella group auditions for ‘The Sing-Off’

Katelyn Mae Petrin | Contributing Reporter

The Mosaic Whispers, Washington University’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, may be coming to live television.

On Oct. 2, the group took a road trip to Nashville, Tenn., singing all the way. There, the Whispers auditioned for “The Sing-Off,” a NBC reality show on which a cappella groups perform in front of a televised audience, competing for a grand prize of $100,000 and a recording contract.

If chosen to appear on the show, Mosaic Whispers members would have to miss several weeks of school in mid-November and early December to compete. They would appear in “The Sing-Off”’s fifth season, which will air as a short holiday series.

“A lot of us missed classes and quizzes, and people had to reschedule tests, but we were all so excited about it,” senior Cassie Parks, one of Mosaic Whispers’ two music directors, said. “We thought it would be silly to miss that kind of opportunity.”

The Mosaic Whispers’ YouTube videos caught the attention of “The Sing-Off,” according to the show’s casting associate in the email that invited the a cappella group to audition.

For the audition, the Mosaic Whispers came prepared to perform their arrangements of “Crazy in Love” and “Cry Me a River.” Parks and her co-music director, senior Parker Crist, said the real challenge and fun of the competition, however, was to respond to the judges’ requests for improvisation.

The group is hesitant to expect much from the audition, saying they were happy simply to go through the experience.

“The way we approached it in the beginning was with no expectations—we’re going there for a fun experience, and if it were to happen, it would be amazing,” Parks said.

However, both music directors still hope that the group’s audition was successful. If they are elected to compete, Parks and Crist see several benefits for the group.

“There would be two sides of it: our personal experience of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show what we practice so hard and love so much to the world,” Parks said. “And there would also be the aspect of our name getting out there more, which would be amazing.”

Junior Shyam Akula has watched “The Sing-Off” in the past and said that he would be excited to see the Mosaic Whispers on the show.

“The Mosaic Whispers are tons of fun to listen to,” Akula said.

Though they have signed a confidentiality agreement and cannot provide details on their audition or the competition, Crist and Parks expressed that the experience was valuable to their group regardless of its outcome.

“We showed that we definitely could handle what they threw at us,” Parks said.