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Spotlight: The Water Boys
On your mark; get set; sing your heart out! The Water Boys are back this year with new singers, new songs and more ambition than ever.
Now part of the UW A Capella Club (UWACC), The Water Boys formed in 2008 as the very first a capella group at the University of Waterloo. Since then, the group has delivered their fun and entertaining musical performances for audiences, peers, and judges. The Water Boys have competed at the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella for the last five years running, and recently took second place in the 2018 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Central Quarterfinal here at UWaterloo. The Boys plan to continue their competitive season on a high note at the upcoming Queen’s A Cappella Association (Q-ACA) Presents: Fifth Annual A Cappella Competition on March 3.
“We’re looking to polish our current music set for the Queen’s competition,” said Water Boys music co-director Wesley Choy. “We want to show the audience more than just exceptional singing. Our performance should evoke emotion from them because we believe in what we are singing.”
“I think that we are able to achieve this because our songs are connected thematically,” added Water Boys president Michael Paknys.
Choy has been a member of The Water Boys for almost one year and believes his experience at past competitions has trained him for the intensity of competition.
“You really learn to discipline yourself and focus on your assigned role, but it’s the teamwork that matters in the end,” he said. “Even though times can be stressful, it’s important to remember to have fun with the songs and the team because a cappella can be so rewarding.”
To prepare for the competition, The Water Boys have dedicated themselves to perfecting their performance to the smallest detail in order to avoid falling flat.
“We’ve been doing two to two-and-a-half hour rehearsals twice a week – occasionally three,” said Paknys. “It’s all about breaking down the songs and making sure everyone remembers the songs and choreography while also conveying the emotion that we aim for.”
“Sometimes we get technical,” added Choy. “For example, we focus on blending the vocals through dynamics so that everyone knows when to sing loudly or quietly. It’s a series of small adjustments that add up to the big picture for the audience to enjoy.”
In addition to adding 10 new songs, The Water Boys have also introduced six new singers to their line up this term. These members were hand-picked by the group’s executive team after a series of auditions that took place in January.
“I remember being in that room for a total of six hours during one round of auditions – four of which was for discussion,” said Paknys. “At the end of all of it, we were really impressed with the new singers’ enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I think we have an extremely capable team this term.”
Choy and Paknys shared their favourite songs to perform with The Water Boys.
“One of my personal favourites is ‘Cheerleader’ by Omi,” said Choy. “There’s just something fun about the upbeat tempo to that song. It’s a relatively easy song and it’s a good way to relieve stress after a hard day of work or practice.”
“My favourite song to perform with the group is ‘Midnight Memories’ by One Direction,” said Paknys. “It’s a high-energy song with intricate layers of singing and choreography that come together in a very satisfying way.”
Does a cappella sound like your forte? Visit the UWACC website or Facebook page to learn more about the a cappella scene at UWaterloo. Be sure to follow along with The Water Boys on their Facebook page for updates on future events and auditions as well as their YouTube channel for videos of their performances.