The bond shared among the Sensations women is stronger than that of mere group members.
“We are all best friends and spend most of our time with each other than we do anybody else at school because of our schedule,” said Katie Leslie, president of Sensations. “Our closeness comes out when we are on stage, and you can see our silliness and how much fun we have together.”
Sensations — an all-female acappella group that was founded at Virginia Tech in 2003 — is comprised of women who share a passion for music.
For Hannah Martin, a group member, their connection “is set apart from every other experience because it’s a group of people who support a talent.”
However, this relationship wouldn’t be possible without time and commitment from group members — they practice three times a week for two hours at a time.
Rae Kennedy, musical director of Sensations, said the amount of time the women spend practicing is equivalent to six credit hours. Leslie, a senior psychology major, said managing her time is difficult.
“It’s definitely a challenge to balance school with Sensations, but when you join the group, you really have to know that you are making it a priority,” Leslie said. “So, we just give it our all and make it work.”
Some group members even find practices to be refreshing, since they are times away from studying.
“I’m always excited for practice because for me, it is my two hours of happy, even when it’s stressful,” Martin, a freshman political science major, said.
The group is under more pressure, as it prepares for its upcoming concert, which will be held on April 28 at 8 p.m. in the Graduate Life Center auditorium.
During the concert, Martin will perform her first solo.
“… I just got into the group this semester, so for me to have a solo — no matter how small or short-lived — is so exciting,” she said.
Kennedy, a senior history major, said having a solo improves a performer’s confidence.
“My first couple of years in the group, I had horrible, horrible stage fright,” she said. “So, when I got my first solo, it was a big moment for me because I felt that I was finally able to overcome this fear.”
Soloists are chosen through tryouts, which are held during practices. Selected soloists must practice on their own and have opportunities to work with the arranger before performing solos with the entire group.
When Sensations looks for new members — the group holds auditions once every semester — it pays attention to people who could be potential soloists.
“We look for what kind of voice blends with the rest of our group, and we look for somebody who can be a strong soloist, as well as fit our sound,” Leslie said.