Voices of Soul brings R&B to Brandeis

October 23, 2014

Brandeis University is home to 13 separate a cappella groups, all of which feature their own distinct genres and styles that set them apart from one another. One prominent group on campus is known as Voices of Soul.

The co-ed singing group was formed in 2001 and distinguishes itself with its rhythm and melodic nature as they perform songs in the R&B, hip hop and soul genres, exclusively. Voices of Soul currently has 11 active members, including two who were just recently added to the group this year. In the past, Voices of Soul has performed at venues such as Culture X as well as the Coleman House Nursing Home in nearby Northborough, MA.

The president of Voices of Soul is Jonathan Gilman ’15. As president, Gilman has been responsible for keeping the group together and on task. Also in leadership are Olivia Gunther ’16 and Molly Winer ’17. The two act together as co-music directors, and are largely responsible for the teaching and perfecting of the music that is eventually performed. Additionally, the two also create and manage musical arrangements, which includes assigning and teaching parts of a song to the group.

What makes Voices of Soul so special, says Winer, is their tight-knit relationship with each other. Winer states, “I’ve been in VOS for a year now, and I absolutely love it! Not only do we make awesome soul music together, but we’re also a family who loves to have fun.” This relationship is also the group’s key to their own success. Winer says that it is a combination of “strong leadership to keep the group in shape … [and] a great rapport between all of the people in the group.” To the members of Voices of Soul as a whole, “It’s not just about the music, but also about having a good time and doing something you love with your friends,” said Winer.

As co-music director, Winer is partially in charge of ensuring that the group performs to the high standards it sets for itself. While Winer states that the group has been working on making the group sound more like a unit, overall, “As a group, we are getting stronger and stronger as the semester goes on.” Some featured songs on Voices of Soul’s set list to look out for are “Hit ’Em Up Style (Oops!)” by Blu Cantrell, “No Diggity” by Blackstreet and “American Boy” by Estelle. New songs to be performed by the group this semester are “Ignition Remix” by R Kelly and “Doo-Wop (That Thing)” by Lauryn Hill.

Goals for this semester, states Winer, are “to keep improving as a group with our sound and confidence.” Already, the group has had a lot of invitations to perform at coffeehouses around campus, which have been “keeping us busy and give[ing] us an incentive to work hard and learn new music,” Winer stated. Voices of Soul’s next performance is scheduled at Chum’s this upcoming Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 9 p.m. as well on Nov. 8.

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