Freshly Brewed Provides a Cup of Fresh Entertainment
I recently learned about Freshly Brewed from Zionsville resident Amelia Wright, who is a senior at Butler University. Wright is a former Choralaire and Royalaire at Zionsville Community High School. She is completing her studies at Butler, majoring in health sciences, and is the current president of the female a cappella group that was established in 2006. Freshly Brewed is the premier female a cappella ensemble at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. This ensemble is composed of women with all different majors, interests and backgrounds across Butler’s campus.
Freshly Brewed arranges all of their own music and covers everything from Miley Cyrus to Van Morrison.
As a way to stay in the game, so to speak, Wright auditioned for Freshly Brewed her freshman year and has performed with this ensemble of talented young women throughout her collegiate journey. Wright shared with me the purpose of Freshly Brewed and how the group has “rebooted” itself coming out of the pandemic shutdown and restrictions to bring joy and excitement back to its live audiences.
Singing With Purpose
“I’ve been singing since I was in middle school,” Wright shared. “Coming into college, I was looking to see how I could continue singing [without being a vocal performance major or minor]. Freshly Brewed is the only student-run singing organization with the exception of the men’s a cappella group. I auditioned for the group and got in. It has been amazing. Since my freshman year, there has been a lot of ups and downs because of COVID-19.”
Like countless other performers, Freshly Brewed wasn’t able to meet or perform due to the pandemic-related restrictions. Luckily, the group was able to meet in person again in January of 2021.
“We’ve kind of rebooted Freshly Brewed after not being able to perform for more than a year,” Wright said. “We have one concert at the end of every semester, and then we also do gigs throughout the semesters. And that can be anything from a sorority or fraternity philanthropy event, domestic violence fundraisers or it could be events like Carmel’s PorchFest.”
Wright continued, “It’s a fun group to be a part of. We have lots of talented people. We typically only have one to two vocal performance majors, so most of us don’t have the opportunity to sing outside of this group and that’s kind of what makes Freshly Brewed special.”
Inspired by A Cappella Phenoms
I spoke with Wright about the influence that nationally renowned groups like Straight No Chaser and Pentatonix have had on the renewed relevancy of a cappella groups.
Straight No Chaser originated in 1996 at Indiana University and Pentatonix originated from Arlington, Texas, formed in 2011, and are the third-season winners of NBC’s “The Sing-Off.”
“Straight No Chaser and Pentatonix have done so much for a cappella,” Wright agreed. “When we’re rehearsing, sometimes we’ll take a break and watch a performance of theirs. It’s kind of a ‘hype-up’ thing, and we’ll watch them to get inspiration. We’re always like, ‘Wow, these people are so talented.’”
Freshly Brewed prefers to perform medleys and has an extensive song list featuring a variety of artists.
“We love to perform medleys,” Wright said. “This semester, we’re doing a ‘Pitch Perfect’ medley. There are so many different songs, and there’s a lot of opportunities for soloists so people can be featured in different ways instead of having a full-song solo. It’s nice to be able to feature a lot of the members of the group because we do have 14 members this year.”
Get Involved or Become a Fan
Freshly Brewed holds auditions at the beginning of the school year in August or early September. Ladies who are interested in becoming part of the ensemble will sign up at the annual campus block party where all of the university’s clubs meet up and interface with potential members.
Following the sign-ups, Freshly Brewed will hold a call-out and a two-day audition and will then vote on the incoming members based on those auditions. Because the group is never larger than 15–16 members and has an average of 40–50 ladies trying out, it can be an arduous task narrowing down the talented auditioners to fill the less than handful of available spots.
“We have a lot of talented people audition,” Wright expressed. “It gets hard because we usually only have two to four spots available to fill the group. We don’t want to get bigger than 15 or 16 [members] because it gets too hard to coordinate and navigate schedules. And it’s fun to be a smaller group.”
Freshly Brewed is for hire and provides musical entertainment for all types of events. In addition to their semiannual concerts, some past performances include Butler University Men’s Basketball National Anthem, various fraternity philanthropy events and opening acts for other musical groups and invitationals. The ensemble’s repertoire is high energy and equally appropriate for business and nonprofit events, such as galas, meetings and conventions.
When asked how it feels to be performing for live audiences again, Wright replied enthusiastically, “It’s been so cool to see how [live performances] are reconnecting people and not just the performers but the audience members as well. The audiences have been able to come back together and enjoy some joy just from the performers’ hard work and talent.”
For booking or other general information on Freshly Brewed, visit freshlybrewed.wixsite.com/acappella. You can also email Freshly Brewed at [email protected], attention Maya Joseph.
Become a fan of Freshly Brewed and follow them on Instagram @fbacappella and on Facebook at Freshly Brewed Women’s A Cappella.