A group of college students dressed in farm animal costumes prances around the stage of Kerckhoff Grand Salon. The image may strike the casual observer as odd, but for the members of Random Voices, the gimmick pays tribute to the memories and inside jokes shared within the group over the school year.
Tonight, Random Voices, UCLA’s all-female a cappella group, will host its annual Spring Concert, showcasing all the songs the group has practiced over the school year. The themed concert, titled “Old McGowan Had a Farm,” marks the final performance of the school year for the group and also highlights humorous moments from throughout the year.
Every year, the first half of the concert features a theme that allows members to share entertaining experiences with the audience. Last year’s theme, titled “Sincerely, Random Voices,” involved members writing notes to the audience, said Amelia Rudnicki, a second-year psychobiology student.
Megan Gaumond, a first-year physiological science student and Random Voices member, said this year’s theme of “Old McGowan Had a Farm” pokes fun at an inside joke centered around Random Voices member Marilyn McGowan, a third-year biology student.
“(McGowan) actually does live on a farm. … Her farm has pistachios and almonds and fruits, and we make fun of her for that,” Gaumond said. “We decided to make that our concert theme and it’s going to be really funny.”
Because the concert is so close to Spring Sing, members had to balance practicing for Spring Sing and learning new pieces for the Spring Concert.
Hannah Bucko, a second-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student and Random Voices’ music director, said the extra time spent preparing for the concert has brought the group closer together.
“Spring Sing was obviously super fun, but it’s been a little difficult jumping right into preparing for the concert,” Bucko said. “Everyone’s been rallying and working hard to make it a good performance, and that (effort) will show in the concert.”
The concert will also feature a promotion of Random Voices’ sixth studio album, titled “Lot 7,” the group’s first album since 2009. The album will be released before the end of the school year and contains old and new songs, including the group’s Spring Sing piece, Gaumond said.
“Most a cappella groups make a CD every three to four years and we haven’t made one for a while,” Gaumond said. “It means a lot to us because we’ve worked so hard recording and mixing and put in so much effort, (and) we’re so happy that it’s all finally coming together.”
Rudnicki said the album’s title pays homage to the group’s musical journey over the school year by reflecting the long hours spent rehearsing in parking lots for events and competitions that required choreography, such as Spring Sing.
“Lot 7 was one of the parking lots we practiced a lot in,” Rudnicki said. “It has a cool name, but it also has meaning for us as a group. … We spent a lot of late nights there and bonded there.”
The concert also pays tribute to the graduating members of the group. Featuring a solo from each of the four graduating seniors, the concert is a way for the younger members of Random Voices to say goodbye to their mentors and friends, Rudnicki said.
“The songs are for the seniors, and we want to do extra well because it’s the seniors’ final moment in Random Voices,” Rudnicki said. “We appreciate them and we want to show that.”
As a new member of Random Voices, Gaumond said the group has not only helped her become a better singer, but it has also become her second family, making it difficult to say goodbye to the graduating seniors.
“(The concert is) a really meaningful and a good way to tie up the year, but it’s bittersweet because seniors are leaving,” Gaumond said. “(They are the) first seniors that I ever got to know, and it’s sad that they’re leaving.”
For Bucko, the concert is testimony to the members’ friendships and musical abilities and represents a fitting tribute to the group’s accomplishments over the school year.
“(There is a) diverse musical set represented in this program, with lots of different tastes, and we just love to perform and spend time together,” Bucko said. “We hope that will be reflected in the way we perform together.”