Wednesday, June 12, 2024

A cappella group outlet for music aficionados

Enter Myers Fine Arts Building on a Tuesday or Thursday night, and you’ll distantly hear an a cappella rendition of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” or Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” In room 112, an a cappella group brings new twists to popular songs and performs at Plattsburgh State and beyond.

Composed of 15 students, Minor Adjustments is a co-ed a cappella group at PSUC. Initially, Minor Adjustments was a class, but it was cut by the music department because there weren’t enough people enrolled. The students in the class didn’t want it to end, so they made it into a club. The group covers a wide variety of songs, including Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and a mashup of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Sia’s “Chandelier.”

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“We look to do stuff that’s in right now, like that’s on the radio and that a lot of people know,” said Taeko Kelly, a sophomore member of the group.

Senior Michelle Larosa said being a part of the group that practices twice a week is a big commitment. The group will go by each part when learning a new song and review songs they’ve previously performed so the songs eventually become a part of them.

Larosa joined Minor Adjustments in her sophomore year, but even before Minor Adjustments, singing has always been a part of her life. Her mother directed several plays particularly musicals, so Larosa singing at a young age was natural.

“Singing’s kind of been second nature to me,” she said. “I’ve always been singing, but it’s nice to have that kind of outlet continuously through your life. It’s just really great to have time during the week to just kind of put down college work and just say, ‘You know what, I’m going to sing tonight.’”

Music had always been a large outlet for Mark Dawson, a music and biology double major and chemistry minor.

“I’ve had a lot of rough things happen to me during the semesters and throughout my college career,” he said. “I can always count on M.A. to come and kind of ease the stress.”

Dawson auditioned his freshman year and remembered his audition being awful. It was 1 a.m., and there was a long line of people waiting to try out. The club had gotten kicked out of the room, so they went up to the third floor of Myers. The room was small with 15 people and a large piano crammed inside.

“I had to stand in the corner and I was very nervous,” he said. “I forgot my lyrics and it was a disaster, but I still ended up getting into the group somehow.”

Through Dawson, junior Jacqueline Stimmel auditioned for Minor Adjustments. She said she wasn’t really good at throwing herself into things, but Dawson and his roommate encouraged her to do so.

“I’ve been doing musical theatre since seventh grade and I started taking voice lessons in ninth grade,” Stimmel said. “I love how (Minor Adjustments) is like a big family and everyone just made me feel so comfortable.”

Freshman Jason Halpern is in awe of the club and thinks the members are the friendliest people he has met on campus.

Halpern is another member that comes from a musical family and has been been playing instruments since third grade. He joined bands and choirs in high school and has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Empire State Building in New York City.

Kristen Shattuck, a psychology major, has been a part of Minor Adjustments for three years. She was part of an a cappella group in high school and she’d thought she’d might as well try out.

“It’s honestly like my favorite part of the week,” Shattuck said about coming to rehearsals. “I met so many wonderful people and best friends even, and it’s just going to be something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.”

Email Reggianie Francois at

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