Keeping UAA’s a cappella tradition alive

In spirit of homecoming week, UAA’s annual A Cappella Festivella will return to Wendy Williamson Auditorium, Thursday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. The popular event is organized and hosted by the UAA Concert Board.

Journalism and public communications and biological sciences double major, and Concert Board member, Kelly Ireland, said that this long-time event is a unique experience for everyone. Ireland is a former member of The Northern Light.

“I think a cappella is something that’s very different, and not a lot of people are into it, but it’s very cool musical experience,” Ireland said.

Every year, the Concert Board works hard to bring up a famous a cappella group as the main performance for the festival. This year, A Cappella Festivella will feature The House Jacks, an all-male a cappella group who have been featured on NBC’s “The Sing Off” and during NFL Monday Night Football. They have been a group since the 90’s and Ireland calls them “a pretty solid a cappella group.”

The House Jacks preforming at one of their previous shows. The House Jacks will be live at UAA on Oct. 12. Photo credit: The House Jacks

Past Festivellas have featured Blue Jupiter, The Exchange and perhaps one of the most well-known a cappella groups currently, Pentatonix. The Board has also had local talent perform in the past during the event. Though it’s not confirmed who will be performing alongside The House Jacks this year, Ireland said it may include local talent again.

This will be A Cappella Festivella’s twenty-fourth year at UAA, making it one of UAA’s longer-kept traditions, and one they hope to keep.

“People that come to A Cappella Festivella tend to come back, just because it’s a very neat musical genre and people who enjoy it, like to see it when it comes up to Anchorage,” Ireland said.

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UAA marketing major, Adrian Colding II, has attended previous Festivellas and has even performed at one. He has seen the Filharmonics, Blue Jupiter and BYU’s a cappella group, Noteworthy, when they each came up to perform.

“If you enjoy music, you should definitely check [Festivella] out . . . No matter what kind of music you like, you will find a cappella music cool,” Colding said.

He praised the talent a cappella groups have of singing on key without piano accompaniment or any other instruments.

Clara Sanderson has been going to the event with her family for a while and plans to return this year. She has fond memories of the event, saying her son was chosen as a volunteer from the audience one year to go sing a song with the performers on stage.

Sanderson is not affiliated with the university, but likes the fact that the “community joins UAA students in watching people perform and have fun.”

Tickets are $5 for UAA students with valid ID, $15 for staff, faculty, alumni and youth under 17 and $20 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased at, in person at the Student Union Information Desk or at the door for an extra $5.