To prepare for all of their events and performances, they have rehearsals three times a week, for a weekly commitment of approximately seven hours. The group works to cater their rehearsal schedule to their members’ schedules. The weekly commitment has allowed the group to become a very close-knit family.
Here at the University of Massachusetts we have lots of opportunities to shine for those with musical talent. For students who love to sing, one of the many ways you can get involved here on campus is through joining one of our nine a cappella groups.
UMass Dynamics is one of the oldest co-ed a cappella groups here on campus, founded back in 2005. The group tries to keep a fairly diverse setlist, however their current songs have a strong emphasis on R&B music.
“There really isn’t one way to describe the UMass Dynamics...and I think that's what describes us! We’re an eclectic, fun, and diverse group with a super special bond,” says CJ, a sophomore.
Josh, one of the most recent additions to the Dynamics family agrees with CJ, explaining “I would describe the Dynamics as a family for most; with a whole lot of passion for music and our craft”. Both heard about the group through UMass Dynamics alumni.
CJ joined the group as a transfer because she wanted to be a part of something that made a big school feel more small; “somewhere that I could feel a little less like a tiny fish in a ginormous pond”. Sam, a first year student here at UMass Amherst, joined the group because he wanted to pursue music after high school, and describes UMass Dynamics as his "home away from home."
The group holds auditions on several days throughout one of the first weekends of the semester. The auditions involve singing a verse and chorus of any song the student wishing to join chooses. At the end of the auditions, the group decides on who moves to the next stage, and if you receive a callback you’re in! Josh joined the group at the start of the spring 2020 semester and recalls his audition experience as “not scary at all, I would even say welcoming”. Auditions are “really just a time to sing and get to know the people around you”.
For those wondering about the differences between college and high school a cappella, CJ points out that college a cappella is completely student run, allowing the members to “have a much stronger sense of commitment and far more creative and innovative liberties” with their group’s projects and directions. Natalie, a third year member of the group, agrees that college a cappella allows members to have more freedoms. She adds that by "allowing space for each and every member to contribute to how we want our songs to sound", it allows them to create a cohesive piece that everyone wants to sing and perform.
UMass Dynamics currently has 16 members, but the size of the group changes each semester. The group performs at many events, both on and off campus, throughout the school year. Typically the group hosts three of their own concerts and have had the opportunity to perform with many of the other groups on campus for school events. They’ve performed for a handful of charity organizations and paid gigs in the nearby area.
Throughout the years they've also gotten the honor to perform at some really cool events. Back in 2011, the group advanced to the finals of the northeast region in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), where they competed and learned from the best a cappella groups in the country. In 2008 the group also had the opportunity to perform at one of Barack Obama's presidential rallies. More recently, in 2019, the group released their seventh studio album (check it out below!).
“If I listed every fond memory I’ve had in just under a year with a group, I would be going on for hours. There’s never a dull moment with those people; someone is always making you laugh,” CJ explains.
She says her first concert with the group will forever stick with her, as she felt overcome with joy, knowing she’d found her place and her people. For Josh, his first semester with the group was cut short due to the COVID-19 crisis, but recalls one of his favorite moments as the auditioning experience: “looking back I had a lot of fun meeting and singing with these people for the first time”.
During 2020 the UMass Dynamics are celebrating their fifteenth anniversary, and have a very close connection with their alumni. The group says they were planning on an alum event for the spring, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. However, in preparation for this event the group created a Facebook group for alums, and were still able to get in touch with some of their founders through a Zoom call. They are working on ways to further develop their connections with their alumni, and hope to have a reunion at a later date to showcase all of the new things the Dynamics have been up to.
The group has not set audition dates for the fall yet but would still love to hear from anybody currently interested in learning more about the group and the audition process. To get in contact with the UMass Dynamics they can be found on Instagram and Facebook or contacted by email.
Life at UMass