Schwa keeps an average of four voices per part (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass), and welcomes new faces to the group each semester. Besides Schwa, each member keeps themselves busy with all kinds of amazing activities. Let them tell you for themselves:
Lian Caspi, '13 - Soprano
Lian Caspi began as a conception. One day, a scientist decided to create a robot so similar to a human being that the difference was practically imperceptible. Not only would it be nearly indestructible, but it would also be worth millions, perhaps billions, of dollars. So he began the project. He used solid steel rods for the bones, bulletproof and heat resistant material for the flesh, and the most sophisticated computer software technology for the brain and operating systems. Thus, the first Linearly Analogous Catenulate Pilot organism was created, also known as LiAn CasPi. Lian quickly developed a deep self-awareness and, as the scientist was negotiating a deal to sell her to the government, escaped from his lab. She ran for ten days straight until she reached Whitman, not tiring or sweating at all, of course, where she heard Schwa singing from afar. Attracted by their harmonious sounds, she approached them and sang for them. As her perfectly constructed vocal modulation engines were designed to hit pitches as beautifully as is possible in the realm of physics, Lian was immediately accepted into the group.
Aaron Cohen, '14 - Bass
Aaron was one of seventeen children, raised in New Orleans by his loving and spirited mother and his fisherman father, who, late at night after a hard day's work, would take an hour to sit little Aaron on his knee and teach him to play the meanest harmonica that's been heard that side of the Rocky Mountains. As he got older, Aaron would sneak onto the streetcar and ride it down to Bourbon Street, where he would jam with that mouth harp all day, meeting all sorts of people and making a decent wage too. When he was approached by a big-time record producer to sign a record contract, Aaron responded, "Nah suh. All ah really wants to do is sing baritone Schwa cappella at Whitman College." After much hard work and determination, he fulfilled his dream.
Kate Coll, '15 - Alto
Kate crouched quietly behind the dumpster, her fingers clamped tightly around the grip of her father's revolver. She felt a bead of sweat roll down her cheek, and her forearm was damp with warm blood. She heard the sirens approaching, the squealing of tires, the slamming of car doors. Her heartbeat pounded in her ears like the bass of the nightclub had been thumping just moments before. She saw flashlights shining on the walls of the alleyway, heard voices coming closer. A cold shiver rushed through her body as she slowly pulled back the hammer of the gun. Kate knew that she only had three shots left. Hopefully she wouldn't need to use them, but at this point, who knew what would happen? Her hands felt clammy and weak in her gleaming black leather gloves. The footsteps were close now, the voices louder. If I make it through this, I swear to God I'll go back to college, she thought. I'll be a good student, I'll even join an a cappella group. I can't take much more of this. With that, she stuffed the cocked pistol into her jacket side pocket, and stepped out from behind the dumpster.
Alyssa Goard, '14 - Alto
There was once a pair of witches who lived deep in the woods in two little caves in the side of a hill. One of the witches, Glandroa, was mean and hated everything. The other, Syndryl, was very nice and very clever. One day, Glandroa thought, "Today I will create the most terrible creature that has ever existed. It will be the scourge of the world." The only problem, though, was that she didn't know how. So, frustrated and disguntled, she went to visit her neighbor Syndryl, whom she hated, to ask for the recipe. Syndryl realized Glandroa's intentions and she didn't approve, so she decided to trick the angry witch. She told her, "One cup of brown sugar, two handfuls of rainbow sprinkles, three baby kittens, four minutes of direct sunshine, five giggles of a child, six fluffy pillows, seven silk handkerchiefs, eight cupcakes, nine happy greetings, and ten smiles in a large cauldron over medium heat." Glandroa followed the directions with great anticipation, ready to unleash the evil demon spawn upon the world. However, what emerged from the bubbling cauldron was not a hideous beast with claws and fire-breath; it was instead a pretty young woman with bright eyes and a pink sweater. "Hi!" it said, "I'm Alyssa! What's your name?" Glandroa shrieked, reeled back in horror, and ran from the cave, never to be seen again. The woodland creatures praised Alyssa for ridding their home of the evil witch, and then she joined Schwa.
Noah Henry-Darwish, '12 - Bass
Noah was born in the magical land of Eugene, Oregon. As an only child, his widower
father raised him in the wilderness, teaching him to fend for himself and live off of the fat
of the land. His father, an ex-navy seal who was single-handedly responsible for the destruction
of the Berlin wall, also trained Noah to be proficient in various forms of hand-to-hand combat,
firearms use, and tactical explosives engineering. One day, Noah will use his now-dormant skills
to save the American democratic way of life and all that is good and holy in this world. Also,
he sings bass.
Silene Deciucies, '14 - Alto
Silene grew up in a small fishing village in northern Canada. Her father ran a whale-watching boat tour and her mother was a pharmacist, and Silene attended a small school with eight other students. They lived nobly and modestly, supporting each other through the hard times and living happily and peacefully during the good times. However, Silene eventually grew tired of the simple life and the cold winters, so late one night, she snuck away from her family and her country and she moved to southern California with forty-seven cents and a Nutrigrain bar in her pocket. There, she met some surfers and they taught her their craft. In a few years she was a full-blown professional surfer, world-renowned and admired by athletes everywhere. Unfortunately, Silene suffered a slight shark attack at the peak of her career that left her traumatized, emotionally crippled, and unable to surf. Discarded by her peers and rejected by the world as a failure, she decided to return home to Canada. However, on the way, she drove through Walla Walla, saw Whitman College, and immediately fell in love with it. She hopes to one-day regain the courage to return to the waves, but in the meantime, she studies here and sings with Schwa.
Mattie Hogg, '14 - Soprano
Mattie Hogg flew out of the fog
one cloudy and cold summer day.
She was riding a dragon and chugging a flagon
of ale as she made her way.
Singing a song, the beast whistling along,
she descended upon a small town.
It was called Walla Walla and folks started to holler
and scream when they saw her come 'round.
She tried to convince them her mount wouldn't mince them
or scorch them into fried toast,
for her dragon was docile, no, he wasn't hostile,
and he loved making new friends the most.
They landed on ground and the townies then found
that they had nothing to fear.
The winged beast was friendly, his saddle was trendy,
and his rider was full of good cheer.
The crowd gathered near for they wanted to hear
the sky-rider's haunting refrain.
But then she stopped singing, for her heart was stinging
and her eyes were full of pain.
She turned to her friend and said "This is the end,
I'm sorry but I must choose college.
No longer can I spend time in the sky,
my search now is strictly for knowledge.
But my love for you will go on, I'll express it though song,
so listen for my fa la la."
With one single tear, the dragon flew far from here,
and Mattie joined her friends in Schwa.
Zoe Ingerson, '13 - Alto
Zoe Ingerson is the only living direct descendant of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Though his musical skills weren't passed on to his offspring, Zoe made it a personal goal early on to live up to the standards of her most famous ancestor. She began piano lessons when she was two and a half and had written her first fugue by the time she was four. When she was five she took up the violin and trumpet, as well as began training in classical opera. By the time she was seven she had won national competitions for her age class in three different instruments. At eight she had written her first Requiem. At nine, she had written a second. In middle school, she barely passed her classes because she spent all of her time on music, but her teachers went easy on her because she showed so much musical potential. By senior year of high school, she'd written four hundred symphonies and was a worldwide champion pianist and opera singer, and had recorded seven albums of her work. After coming to Whitman, she has now added Schwa to her vast and impressive resume.
Tyler King, '13 - Tenor
Tyler King. The name itself causes a wide range of emotions to stir in feeble hearts. Some choose ignorance and look the other way when the name is mentioned. Others shiver in a cold sweat, remembering the fear and terror that it spread long ago. Some may pound the table and cry out in fury, while still others cower into the shadows while their bodies are racked with sobs. Who is he, you may ask? Tyler King was the most ruthless, violent, destructive force to ever hit the western world. With an army built for the sole purpose of the spread of anarchy and chaos, he traversed both Americas, riding on the backs of buffaloes and war elephants, blowing his terrifying horns made of ivory and gold, smashing everything that he saw, not satisfied until everything that stood in his way was rubble, ashes, or bones. After his rampage, the U.S. government decided to try a new rehabilitation program instead of the traditional prison or capital punishment treatments. This program involved therapy, cookies, and watching children's cartoons, for the most part. Tyler was released and even made it into Whitman, where he now sings tenor for Schwa.
Melanie Medina, '14 - Soprano
Melanie was born to a resentful twelve-year-old mother who abandoned her in the woods near Bainbridge Island, Washington. In these woods lived a family of wolves that, upon finding baby Melanie, took pity upon her and brought her to their den, where a new litter of pups had just been born. Melanie grew up with these wolves, suckling from the alpha female's teat, and learning the ways of the pack. She learned to hunt with them, eat with them, and play with them. Eventually she worked her way up the chain of authority and took charge of the pack. When forest rangers discovered Melanie, who was now a young adult, they told a social worker, who went out to meet Melanie and attempted to coax her back to society. Melanie and her pack then ate the social worker, as wolves are known to do. Then the rangers went in with tranquilizers and nets and managed to get Melanie into civilization, where they groomed her and dressed her and sent her to Whitman College, where she now howls as a soprano in Schwa.
Kyle Scott, '12 - Bass
Kyle Scott's background is shrouded in mystery. He was found as a young boy lying naked in a wheat field in the suburbs of New York City, by an elderly farming couple of modest means. He had no memory of who he was or how he had ended up in the field, so they decided to take him in and raise him as their own (they had never been able to have a child themselves, though they had always wanted one). As he went through puberty, strange things began happening to his body (stranger than usual). He always seemed to run faster than all the other boys in school, and he could jump higher and lift more weight. He was always the best at every sport, and college recruiters were paying to attention to him in the 7th grade. Eventually, he could fly and read minds too. When his powers led to the death of his first true love, he vowed to never use them again and instead focus on music. He now sings baritone in Schwa and occasionally shatters a window with his vocal chords of steel.
**Currently Studying Abroad