Introducing… The Royal Pitches
If you caught President Obama’s speech at UB last Thursday chances are you remember some of the angelic voices singing the National Anthem beforehand. The 10 member, all female acapella group is known as the Royal Pitches. The UB organization formed in 1996 and has had a long list of alumni. The group is currently made up of members Emily Pumm, Molly Redman, Nicole Jaworowicz, Alex Young, Sarah Baker, Elisabeth Grueniger, Jasmin Jacob, Mary Noack, Raquel Sosnovich, Deanna Gallicchio, and Naita Howell. They’re currently working on funding their first professionally recorded EP, which will help them branch out into the acappella community and bring their music to new and exciting places. Artvoice had the pleasure of talking to Emily Pumm, president of the group, to learn more about these talented young women and their plans for the future.
Artvoice: What was it like to sing for the President, were you nervous?
Emily Pumm: Singing for the President was a crazy humbling experience. Corresponding with UB Staff with requests from the White House Staff the week leading up to his speech was completely surreal. I found myself turning to friends saying, “Hey guys, the White House had my number.” Never could we have imagined experiencing these moments. The day of the performance, we really didn’t have time to be nervous because everything was moving so fast. After it was all over, I think both The Pitches and Chips had an unbelievable sense of awe. Very few people can say that they sang the National Anthem for the President, and it will certainly be a moment we never forget.
AV: How do you arrange and choose your own music?
EP: We’ve always chosen and arranged our songs exclusively as a group, but the process is always changing a little bit. Occasionally, we will reach out and have a song arranged by someone with a significant amount of talent if it is an extremely challenging song, but to maintain the integrity of the group, we try to do as much on our own as possible.
AV: What is your favorite kind of music to perform? Who are some of the group’s favorite artists?
EP: We really try to keep our set lists as diverse as possible in hopes that every audience member can have at least one song that they connect to. Recently, we’ve had a lot of fun singing Destiny’s Child, The Civil Wars, The Beatles, Spice Girls, Boyz II Men, and many others. As an all girl group, we’ve been interested in taking on some female empowerment anthems as our way to stand up against the marginalization of women. We believe that any positive, intelligent, hard working woman should be able to follow their dreams without harassment or doubt, and we hope that some of our new additions will help convey that message.
AV: What drew you to join an acappella group and what makes it unique from other groups?
EP: Personally, after leaving an amazing choral program at Hamburg High School, I knew I could never live without singing in my life, which is what lead me to audition for The Royal Pitches. Acappella is a lot different that standard chorale music because we never have accompaniment and we typically stick to pop music. These differences make acappella both fun and challenging.
AV:What are some of the biggest challenges to performing in a group so large?
EP: We’re all great friends, so staying focused during practice is undoubtably our biggest challenge. With that said, as college students we know that hard work pays off, so when the pressure is on we know how to deliver. We work hard so we can play hard! Some of our best memories have been singing in our end of the semester winter and spring concerts and getting to interact with our fans locally.
AV: Tell me a little about your EP campaign and what you hope to achieve?
EP: We’ve recorded a few CDs in the past, but this is the first time we’re guaranteed to have super professional, polished sound thanks to our friends and sound engineers, A Cappella Productions. With a five song EP of our best empowerment anthems, we hope to give listeners a fun taste to what our group is all about. In accomplishing our own dreams, whether it be singing for the President, creating an EP, or simply singing on a regular basis, we hope to inspire others to follow dreams of their own.
Click here to check out their fundraising campaign. —sarah barry
The Royal Pitches perform “Payphone” by Maroon 5/”Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine