Musical group HarmoNation focuses on collaboration and creativity

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HarmoNation is an a music group that aims to be totally inclusive, with membership open to anyone who likes to sing. Officers of HarmoNation, pictured here, seek to include anyone who enjoys singing without pressure of competition or judgment.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

Come one, come all: musical group HarmoNation is recruiting. Whether you've performed on stage or only in your shower, HarmoNation is happy to take members of all musical backgrounds and experience levels.

Chemical engineering sophomore Dakota Stormer founded HarmoNation, a musical group open to all students, two years ago. Stormer founded the organization with the vision of a totally inclusive group in mind. He lured students with flyers around campus which posed a simple question: Do you like to sing? 

Interested students congregated in the stairwells of Jester, where they said the acoustics were cool (and the run-ins with annoyed students were awkward, but still fun). The group quickly grew much larger based on how many people were interested. 

“It was crazy how we grew just from that small span of time from singing in the stairwells and just being this random group of dorks who liked to do music together to becoming a large organization full of people who wanted to sing and have fun,” Stormer said.

Competitions and awards are not on the group’s radar — they meet for the sole purpose of musical enjoyment through collaboration.

Physics and astronomy sophomore Adarsh Nednur, the group’s secretary, said HarmoNation’s low-pressure environment is appealing to music lovers who might lack the time or skill set required to fully immerse themselves in a campus a cappella group. The organization offers a place where musicians can meet other musicians, no audition required, to play songs and have fun.

“There’s not really a place for musicians who don’t necessarily want to be competitive,” Nednur said. “Or who can’t practice everyday or don’t want to put on big choreographed performances.”

Officers encourage HarmoNation singers to proudly belt out any song they’re feeling into that day — and try to make sure no one feels judged. Radio-television-film freshman Maria Forsythe, HarmoNation’s logistics coordinator, said she is a lover of musical theater and isn’t afraid to show it.

“We’re still a large organization full of dorks who like to sing and have fun,” Forsythe said.

Electrical engineering sophomore Joshua Richardson, HarmoNation’s public relations officer, said the members have a wide variety of music tastes, so no genre is off-limits. Although classical music is his favorite, Richardson said he loves everything from Frank Sinatra to Daft Punk. 

“I wanted to find my perfect duet partner and be able to sing with them,” Richardson said. “Granted, I’m not the best at singing, [and] I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be partnered with someone who is, because that would embarrass them. It’s just a super chillax environment, where you don’t have to worry if you sound bad.“

HarmoNation used to be comprised solely of singers, but this semester they welcome instrument-playing musicians, neuroscience freshman and creative director Khiem Hoang said. The group now incorporates guitar, ukulele, piano and a human beat boxer into their weekly jam sessions and are looking for more instruments to add to the mix.

“If you have a xylophone or a banjo or something, bring it in here,” Hoang said. “If you have it, we’ll work with it.” 

The officers said they try to make all their members feel comfortable so that they may grow as singers and people. They don’t advertise the organization as a confidence booster but said confidence-boosting is often exactly what happens. The group meets 7 p.m. Wednesdays in varying locations. 

“Our goal isn’t necessarily to make it, so you can perform Madison Square Garden or something — if you’re comfortable here, then we’ve done the most important thing,” Nednur said.

 

 

Clarification: This article has been amended since its original publication. HarmoNation is an all-inclusive musical group, not an a capella choir.