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A tough semester leads to big results for Squawkappella

The road to competition season wasn’t as smooth as members of Salisbury University’s a cappella group, Squawkappella, would have hoped for.

The group recently placed fourth in the Mid-Atlantic Quarter Final, which, according to senior President Stevie Bowen, is very good considering what the group had been through in recent months leading up to the competition.

Bowen explained the hardships of the semester, highlighting that the group's ability to quickly adapt to a changing team.

“Along the way, we lost three of our members, and we had to quickly add a new member, like, a week and a half before the competition," Bowen said.

Along with having to rearrange the whole group, Bowen further stated how when preparing their competition music, they faced many challenges, which caused them to have to prepare a set last-minute.

“We paid this guy a good amount of money to give us four original songs. He said he’d get them to us November 1 by the latest,” Bowen said. “We don’t hear from him until December 9.”

Squawkappella smiles at the 2020 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals Feb. 9. Photo by Stevie Bowen Images.

As a result, the group had to work with what they knew and throw together their own set of three songs. The members didn’t get started on rehearsing the new set until late January. Even though the set was arranged last minute it was emotionally powerful so much as to help the group place 4th at the competition.

Thomas Snyder, deemed the piano man for the group, described the music Squawk played at quarter finals.

“We were kind of trying to tell a story with our music,” Snyder said.

The group played a selection of Sam Smith, OneRepublic and Hozier songs.

In regard to if this emotional type of performance was the route the group first intended, Snyder chuckled and explained that sometimes the route to success is an unplanned one.

“It wasn’t the route we had intended at first, but with the cards we had been dealt this past year, we just mashed them together last-minute,” Snyder said.

The issues with the music weren’t the only things Squawk had to overcome in order to perform at the quarter final.

SU sophomore Alexis Andrew, the newly appointed treasurer for the group, talked about how the group was also struggling with financial issues in the beginning of the season.

“I was told we had $2,000 in our account at the beginning of the year," Andrew said. "But then I got a call and was told that we actually only had $300."

The financial burdens would mean the team would not have enough money to pay for to the music they wanted to sing during competition. Andrew explained how different members including herself stepped up and donated large sums of their personal savings to the group so that they could be their best this season.

The group's true dedication and love for one another not only showed through the actions this season, but also through the words they said about Squawk.

Despite struggles, Squawk feels its biggest strengths lie in teamwork and acceptance.

Squawkappella is a group of students who are dedicated to the art of singing and performing, but more so, they see themselves as a family who firmly believes in each other’s abilities not only to be great singers, but also great people.

SU junior Kayla Ivey Russel talked of how Squawk really accepted her with open arms.

“I always had trouble finding that one group of people that I could totally be open and candid with," Russel said. "When I found Squawk, I just found people so warm and welcoming of everything about me. We are a family.”

Andrew had similar feelings when she explained how much the Squawk family meant to her.

“I wouldn’t be here at school without Squawk. I don’t think I’d be alive,” Andrew said.

Squawkappella plans to bring its teamwork and talent to its show March 7. The show marks the group's 15th Anniversary celebration and will be held in Holloway Hall's auditorium at 7 p.m.

To buy tickets for the show, visit



Staff writer

Featured photos by Stevie Bowen Images.

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