In my time in Enchanted, I haven’t spent much time reflecting on the past and instead looked to the future. Part of that is because I’m never completely satisfied with my own performance, and I continuously search for ways to improve. For better or for worse, I approach the whole group with the same mentality: yesterday we were pretty good, but tomorrow we can be even better.
If you want to sing a cappella at Tufts, that’s the kind of thought process you need to have in order to keep motivated, motivated to continue singing and finding ways to move the group forward. As the latest addition to the a cappella scene, formed entirely by wide-eyed freshmen, we’ve had to rethink a lot of ideas about what it means to be an a cappella group. The founders of Enchanted had crazy, half-baked ideas that led to a lot of trial and error. Emphasis on the error. We had a general goal in mind and no idea how to get there. During our first few meetings we had no songs planned, we weren’t sure how we would learn music or obtain arrangements and yet we were already expected to perform at Spookapella in less than three weeks. Things had to happen quickly and our own progress as a group could not keep pace.
Early on I got the sense that people had high expectations for us. Perhaps a little too high. A cappella (and Disney appreciation) at Tufts is serious business and people are accustomed to a high level of polish. The reality was we were rough around the edges, and that kind of polish takes years to build up, not months. Enthusiasm steadily waned. At some point, we realized that we weren’t taking Enchanted seriously enough and that we would all have to be willing to make more sacrifices if we hoped to really get this group off the ground. A lot of that first year was spent figuring out how significant of a commitment Enchanted should be, and only once everyone was on the same page were we able to start building up our sound.
Competition is what reminds us how much further we need to go in order to keep up. When we’re all fighting to get the attention of the incoming freshmen at the O-show, we’re sort of like next-door neighbors all trying to outdo each other’s lawns. The sense of competition keeps us focused on delivering strong performances and looking for ways we can learn from each other. Though we’ve all got our competitive streaks, the other a cappella groups on campus have consistently encouraged us throughout these foundational years, and I am thankful for their kindness. I hope that, in time, we can make ourselves an a cappella group everyone at Tufts and beyond can be proud of.