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ASU vocal jazz group Arpeggio hits the high notes this semester

Myrella Arellano Summer practicing with the Jazz Choir at ASU
Junior Myrella Arellano Summer practices with the Jazz Choir on Thursday Feb. 18, 2016, in Discovery 113 at ASU in Tempe, Arizona.

Soon enough, ASU will have a new source of live music, courtesy of its own students. Founded late in the fall semester, Arpeggio is a vocal jazz group with an a cappella flavoring.

For its president, Richard Bui, the idea for Arpeggio actually took root before he came to school at ASU.

“Our music is mostly jazz with one or two pop songs, just to have fun a couple times and spice things up,” said Bui, a business communications freshman. “I founded the group with (Co-Vice President Laura Tran). In high school ... we said, ‘Hey, you know what would be fun? Going to ASU and starting a vocal jazz club ensemble.’ Because ASU didn’t have one originally, so we just decided to make our own club on campus.”

Medical studies freshman Laura Tran said she agreed with Bui and she has been dreaming of forming a jazz choir since her junior year of high school. 

"We didn’t even know what jazz was before that, and afterwards the experience was so amazing that we both learned that we loved the jazz genre so then we were like, ‘OK, (in) college we’re gonna form a jazz choir and get this thing going,’” Tran said. 

The third founding member of Arpeggio is Co-Vice President Erin Lutes, a criminal justice freshman. She didn’t meet up with Bui and Tran until she came to ASU.

“I ended up in the choir because I made friends with Laura through Human Event,” Lutes said. “And we got to talking about choir and I found out that we both loved it and she told me about this idea.”

For now, it seems that Arpeggio’s plan is to take this semester to grow. Then, when next semester rolls around, that’s when the real show begins.

“I think right now," Lutes said. "Our vision, we’re hoping to get a small vocal jazz group going. You know, a little stronger after this year. We’ll add some more members and hopefully just make it something that people enjoy and enjoy listening to and enjoy participating in.”

Arpeggio has yet to perform a show at ASU, as the group is only about two months old, but they said they have plans for the future. Tran said that the group hopes to branch out and start performing in the community. 

“We’re mostly a cappella right now,” Tran said. “We’re not entirely sure on how hiring a band works just yet. But we sound perfectly fine with just a cappella, so that’s really cool.”

Despite the tricky start of starting a choir in the last months of the fall semester, Tran has hopes for the group.

“It was hard for us to get publicity and get the word out that our choir was around because I think we did our auditions after other choirs had already done auditions," Tran said. "It was November, close to finals — so that was a tough one. We’re hoping that next semester, that when all the other choirs are auditioning we could be like, ‘hey this choir is an option as well.’”

One way that Arpeggio has been trying to introduce their group to the community is through their work with local schools. 

“We’ve been contacting a lot of high schools,” Bui said. “But right now, it’s basically about us learning music and seeing what we can get accomplished because right now it’s a test run, seeing what we can do. Hopefully we’ll have some venues and such happening next year.”

Right now Arpeggio is composed of just 12 members. They meet for weekly practices on the Tempe campus for about two hours. During this practice, they practice harmonies, rehearse songs and work on a cappella backing music as, for the time, they lack musical accompaniment.

“Our goal is to sing jazz, have fun and have a little community at ASU,” Bui said. 

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