The newest group on campus venturing into the world of a cappella is Six Eight, a group powered by their passion to combine faith and music.
Six Eight is a collaborative, co-ed effort of a group of dedicated singers that seek to fulfill a niche they found empty in the SLU community.
“It’s a niche of an a cappella group that didn’t exist,” said sophomore physical therapy major Theresa Schafer, one of the singers. “To be a successful a cappella group you need to be unique and have something about you that no other group has.”
Six Eight finds its humble roots in a Christmas caroling group formed last winter by friends in the Micah Program. After performing at a couple of events for Micah, some of the singers were eager to take their momentum and create something new. This momentum stood the test of a long summer break, and five of the singers returned for the fall semester ready to go.
The group now insists that they do not want to be exclusively Micah in either their membership or their audience. And they aren’t – their membership is now half and half, they say. The singers speak repeatedly about their desire to reach out to a larger community and they seek to assure others that their group is not only for Catholics or Christians.
“We’re an a cappella group that sings Christian songs, not a group of Christians who happen to sing,” said Beau Guedry, a sophomore biology major. Guedry continues to say that the group is really about singing music and having fun, and they want their music to reach out to everyone.
“Our group is pretty diverse already,” adds Schafer. “It brings an awesome dynamic when we’re choosing songs and a really powerful one when we’re performing.”
Schafer explains that the group experiences the music they’re performing not just as a performance, but also as a form of worship.
“One of the most concrete ways I connect with God is through song and through worship,” she said. “I think that music has a way of pulling together our thoughts and our emotions at the same time.”
“To me, singing Christian music is at once an act of ministry and worship,” Guedry said.
Their name reflects their dual identity with faith and music.
Schafer explained their name: “We were brainstorming ideas, and a friend came up with Six Eight, because of its musical significance – it’s a time signature – and because it’s the reference of a Bible verse which reflects our values as a group.”
The Bible verse it references is from the book of Micah: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
However, the group does not limit itself to songs that use explicitly Christian or religious lyrics.
“We’re doing everything from classical to Top 40,” said Guedry. The connecting factor of any songs they choose to sing is a sense of spirituality. He says they want songs that have a spiritual relevance, appeal to a Christian perspective, and “add to the relationship between God and human.”
Guedry and Schafer only hesitantly refer to themselves as co-leaders of the group that prides itself on its collaborative nature. Having only just begun the process of applying to be a Chartered Student Organization, the group does not yet have a clearly defined e-board.
Their ability to work together comes partly from the fact that “we’re all amateurs,” as Schafer puts it. “We’re starting blind, really. There’s no foundation for us to build off of.”
Despite that, the group has been working hard since its inception. As soon as they decided that they wanted to make their group official, they found out how often the other a cappella groups on campus rehearsed and followed suit. They immediately began meeting together for two hours, twice a week.
“We’ve had an awesome welcome from the other a cappella groups at SLU,” said Schafer. She tells of the times the group has reached out for help or advice; the other groups on campus responded enthusiastically.
Last semester, Astha, SLU’s co-ed fusion a cappella group, invited Six Eight to perform at their concert. The new group admits that they owe Astha a lot for providing them with their first public performance and the ability to get their name out on campus.
Six Eight’s plans for the spring semester include working on a full set list for their own concert. They will also be singing at Habitat for Humanity’s benefit concert on Feb. 7.