Perfect Pitch: A Look Inside Intense A Cappella Auditions

All students have seen the Ho Plaza chalkings, the Balch and Gothics “arch sings” and the quarter cards. Given the fact that the movie Pitch Perfect was largely based off the experience of Cornell a cappella alumnus Mickey Rapkin — of the banished Cayuga’s Waiters — it is not surprising that the Cornell a cappella audition process is intense.

Student Artist Spotlight: Ian Goldin '12

Loquacious in personality and modest despite his numerous achievements, Ian Goldin ’12 has experimented with nearly every musical instrument designed, plays in the Percussion Ensemble, sings in the Cornell University Glee Club and is a member of The Hangovers. And if that wasn’t enough, he’s also recently been elected Musical Director of The Hangovers, a rare honor for a freshman. As he begins by quipping “Ian Goldin needs a haircut; make sure you put that in!” this “Superhero” talks about his interests in music and what it means to be a member of The Hangovers.
Sun: Ian Goldin the Superhero. Tell me how you got that title?

A Cappella Combines Harmony, Tradition

A cappella has long been popular on college campuses across the nation, and Cornell is no exception. The University alone is home to fifteen different groups, each with an individual sound.
Jay Emelen, the office manager of, explained the appeal of the genre to college students.
“Audiences love it. It’s interesting because the music is so familiar, usually a cappella groups are singing pop music and jazz standards that everyone knows,” Emelen said. “It looks like so much fun because everyone is smiling and moving around. Generally the music is memorized so there is a lot of interaction with the audience and the groups aren’t staring with their heads in the music.”