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Pitch Perfect effect: Scotland's a cappella groups on the rise

Pitch Perfect effect: Scotland's a cappella groups on the rise

As Pitch Perfect 2 smashes through the weekend box office, a rather Aca-awesome trend has been humming its way to the top in Scotland.

The Barden Bellas blockbuster, a musical comedy that made a whopping $115m worldwide in its original form, has been pegged as one of the main reasons behind a rise in the number of vocal only groups across the country.

From the Killer Quines and Aberpella in the north to Choral Stimulation in the west, Scotland's a cappella singing groups are soaring for the high notes.

"It’s new to a lot of people and since Pitch Perfect, it has definitely had a boost," said a cappella singer Emma Rowse.

"New groups are starting all over the place."

A politics and international relations student at Aberdeen University, 20-year-old Emma has been a member of all-girl a cappella group Killer Quines for the last two years.

Killer Quines

"I always wanted to do something with singing," she said.

"It’s just really fun. We don’t take it too seriously; we do it because we love to sing."

The Killer Quines joined a harmony of other keen a cappella groups for the Scottish A Cappella Championship earlier this year - the second time that the national event has been held.

Lightbox St Andrews

"We competed for the first time this year and there were eight groups there from across the country, " said Emma.

"It was really good but really nerve-racking. It was good to see other groups and see what’s possible. There’s a lot of variety and a lot of good choreography taking place."

While a cappella - the vocal art of producing music without instruments - has been around for centuries, particularly within religious music, the Pitch Perfect film phenomenon has brought unprecedented attention to real collegiate a cappella groups.

Ricky Fung

Modern collegiate a cappella enjoys both national and international success, with most US colleges having multiple student-run groups. There is even an International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICAA), an annual competition hosted by Varsity Vocals that draws in the top groups from around the country.

Though Scotland still has some way to go, to top the American trend - the University of Virginia has over 18 active a cappella groups with genres ranging from hip-hop to gospel.

myISH

For the movie makers at least, though, the a cappella genre has been something of a moneymaker.

Pitch Perfect 2 has already earned an estimated $30.3 million in its first three days at the box office, putting its four-day domestic gross at a projected $37.9 million.

The sequel earned a worldwide haul of $187 million through Monday.

"It's just a bit of relaxation for us though," said Emma.

"It's a good way to get a break from our studies and a way to meet a great bunch of people."

  (The Killer Quines)
via STV via STV

"We’ve recorded our first ever CD which is being edited at the moment to be released later this year - so we do work hard.

"But really, we're just a group of people who love to sing and have a laugh."

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