By Erin Reilly ’20, Editor-In-Chief
St. John Fisher College’s a cappella group, Drastic Measures, is seeing perhaps one of the most difficult semesters among the clubs on campus.
A typical semester for the group depends almost entirely on in-person rehearsals and shows.
“We would do on-campus and off-campus performances. Last semester we sang the national anthem and Alma Mater at some of the football games,” Kailee Roberts, a junior at SJFC and the president of the group, said.
Now, because of the restrictions put in place for clubs this semester, Drastic Measures’ semester has flipped completely upside-down. Jeanne Durham, the group’s sophomore vice president, expressed the difficulties for a club with its type of structure during this pandemic. “We’re only allowed to meet twice a month in person. We can meet over zoom, but that’s obviously hard when we’re practicing a song.”
Drastic Measures had even more high hopes for the semester on top of its typical performances, such as a possible recording opportunity and competing in the ICCAs (International Championship of Collegiate A Capella). Unfortunately, both of those opportunities are off the table for the time being.
Like all clubs and classes, Drastic Measures has the option of meeting virtually. However, connection issues and delays would make it difficult to have a cohesive rehearsal. “If one person’s connectivity is off, that messes up the whole song, the whole group,” Roberts said.
For the leaders of the group, the end of the semester and the lead into next semester are a bit up in the air. Roberts expressed that the school is doing what they can, but that they’ve gotten no information regarding the end of the fall semester or the spring semester. “It’s very difficult,” Roberts said. “We’re left in the dark about what’s going on.”
Although this semester will be tough, the group isn’t discouraged and there is still a bright future in the cards for Drastic Measures. Last-semester Senior and Former Vice President of the group, Alexandria Reppi, offered some insight into what it’s like to leave the group during a time like this while providing some encouragement for the younger members of the group.
Spring 2020 was Reppi’s last semester with the original group that she auditioned with, and it obviously didn’t end the way that she or the rest of the group had hoped. “It’s hard to have that sort of experience ripped away from you so drastically and quickly and not seeing an opportunity in sight to find closure on that,” Reppi said.
Reppi attributed the sting of this semester and the end of her time in the group to her experience being what it was. She called the group her “family” and expressed that there were countless times when she left rehearsal with her face and stomach hurting because she was laughing so hard.
“Obviously, people’s safety is paramount to me wanting closure. But it’s still really hard and it stings a little bit that this is how it has to end. It’s disappointing, but it is what it is.”
Reppi also wanted to extend some advice to members of the group who hopefully have more “normal” semesters with Drastic Measures in their futures. “Connect with everyone, love everyone, respect everyone. You’re all there because you have a mutual love of music and you all have extremely unique talents that are hard to find on a non-arts campus.”
She urged members of the group to continue to represent Fisher the way they know how, and to keep pushing to be represented by Fisher. “We are not known for our arts, so this is something that is very special that this campus offers that we can make special for other students.”
Durham and Roberts also beamed about the experience that being in the group has provided for them.
“I was nervous I wasn’t going to meet anyone like me, but once I got into Drastic Measures, I felt like I had a place on campus,” Durham said.
Roberts noted that the group’s members are constantly checking in on one other, as they know how taxing the college experience can be. For her, the group has been a great break from the school work. “It’s just nice to see each other’s faces and do what we love together,” Roberts said.
For students wanting to audition to be a part of Drastic Members, the group will be holding virtual auditions this semester. Information regarding the auditions has been released in an email from Campus Life to the entire student body, and audition videos must be in by Friday, Sept. 11. For anyone on the fence about going out, Reppi strongly encouraged taking the chance.
“It’s just been overall a wonderful experience. I don’t know what my college experience would be like if I had never found the group, if I had never tried out for it,” Reppi said.