The Hot Notes gather around the piano to practice harmonies. (TESSA BLOECHL/THE RAM)
“We focus more on the musical element. We celebrate the traditional and modern jazz, and we want to express our love of jazz music to the rest of the Fordham campus,” said John Magovern, FCRH ’15.
Following a year that included the graduation of the group’s president Julia Cunnigham, FCRH ’13, and many other senior members, the group has rebuilt and evolved.
“When we perform together onstage, not only do we really enjoy what we’re singing, we enjoy singing with each other,” said Sophia Saaverda, FCRH ’15. “Our best pieces are the ones we sing together.”
The Hot Notes stresses the importance of bonding as a group and the time the members spend together learning and working in rehearsal. After attending a rehearsal and watching the group at work by the piano, it is apparent that the group has pay great attention for detail and work hard to perfect harmonies.
Although the Hot Notes look to hone its craft and embody the message of a song, the group does not put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to a single song or performance.
“Sometimes the best music isn’t always made to concert,” said Sebastian Massa, FCRH ’14. “There is a certain feel that we get [when] everything gels together, whether it’s notes and rhythms or dynamic plans or just understanding what the song’s about. It’s not always about a single performance.”
For some people, most of their knowledge about a cappella groups comes from the success of the hit movie Pitch Perfect. Although this has popularized the concept, people are still learning about the long hours of rehearsal that are necessary for the Hot Notes and other groups on campus to be successful. Also, there is not a movie-worthy rivalry that exists among the four groups, rather a healthy competion and mutual respect.
“There are certainly some friendly competitive parts,” said Massa. “Going into the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, we had the Ramblers and Satin Dolls in our competition. In the end, it’s about putting on a good show. We recently talked to the Satin Dolls about combining our shows.”
“We are always in conversation about trying to do things with all of the a cappella groups together because we all are pretty different,” said Saavedra.
This year, the Hot Notes have the honor of performing and representing Fordham University at the New York City Jazz Festival.
The New York City Jazz Festival has previously featured many prominent jazz veterans, including jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and Grammy-award winning saxophonist, Bob Mintzer, Janis Seigel who is a 9-time Grammy winning singer, vocal arranger, producer and founding member of the vocal quartet The Manhattan Transfer and John Fedchock’s New York Big Band.
“Just getting recognition from outside sources and participating in something bigger than Fordham is an accomplishment for us,” said Saavedra. “It’s a big event for New York City itself. We’ve been preparing for the festival since last fall, beginning with getting in contact and fundraising.”
“It’s nice to know that we’re bringing in the Fordham name or brand when they’re bringing in groups from all over the country,” said Massa.
For those who are looking to support the Hot Notes or see other jazz performers and groups, the New York City Jazz Festival will take place from April 11 to 14.
Nicole Horton is Culture Editor at The Fordham Ram.