“Halftime a Cappella: Unwrapped”

With five songs streaming on Spotify and iTunes, plus a recent nomination from the Contemporary a Cappella Society for the best collegiate a cappella music video, senior Maria Gund, has a high standard to uphold during her year as president of Halftime a Cappella group. One of five student a cappella groups at the University of Notre Dame, Halftime has garnered a robust fan-following.

Their 2018 winter concert, “Halftime a Cappella: Unwrapped” marked their third consecutive sold-out show in Notre Dame’s Washington Hall – the 550 person venue was packed for their December 6 show. As president, Gund took the lead on planning the winter concert.

“Basically I oversee everything that goes on logistically and marketing wise,” Gund said, “and I also help to maintain harmony within the group – no pun intended.”

During the group’s dress rehearsal on December 4, I caught a glimpse of the roles Gund embraces for the group. She espoused her position as a mentor, offering soft-spoken advice for pre-show preparation, then quickly pivoting to firm critic.

“We never want [Halftime] to be a source of negative stress,” Gund said. She smiled and added, “as opposed to positive stress of putting on a performance where we are truly excited but just down to the wire.”

As for the logistics leading up to the concert, Gund managed securing the venue, booking the lighting and sound crews, and marketing the event. Gund also casually mentioned that she single handedly sold over 75 tickets for the show, in addition to her other responsibilities.

Gund championed the group’s music director, junior Sarah Duehren, as being another leader for the group. Duehren took lead on arranging the group’s songs and blocking their routines for the show.

During their rehearsal, Duehren was not afraid to provide suggestions to her fellow members, encouraging them to increase their energy and maintain their vocals. She played the role of both coach and player – naturally moving from the perspective of the audience in the theater to her rightful position on the stage.

The 2018-2019 academic year marks Halftime’s 15th anniversary, and Gund shared that the group is always looking to grow musically, hoping to release an album sometime in the future.

As for her personal goals for the group, Gund sentimentally said, “to be a source of entertainment on campus, but then spread our group regionally or nationally in the future, while never forgetting our roots.”

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