A Capella festival hosted at BSM


Courtesy of Ryan Werdon

BSM’s Red Knotes sang at the Twin Cities a cappella Festival.

Keegan Gustafson, Staff Writer

The versatility of voices in BSM’s Red Knotes was presented at the Twin Cities a cappella Festival on January 25. Eight schools from all over gathered at BSM for a cappella workshops and performances, three of which were higher level and more professional a cappella schools who worked with the Red Knotes and the other high schools. 

Rather than the event being a competition, the format of the performances was more like a concert. The concerts at the end of the day were a reflection of the time and effort that was put into a long day of learning and working. “It was about building each other up, inspiring each other and learning from each other,” choir teacher Ryan Werdon said. 

A lot of organization and communication went into scheduling the a cappella festival this year. Behind the scenes, there were a lot of logistics that BSM was responsible for. Students hosted some of the students from the far-away schools at their homes. The collaboration was key in order to make the event smooth and well planned. “We started planning for this in August and locked in our headliner group in August. We had to work at least six months in advance,” Werdon said. 

The Red Knotes put in hours of practice every week in order to be ready for performances. There is a large spectrum of voices in the Red Knotes, which can be useful for a cappella but also difficult to work with. As a group, they perform an eclectic bunch of songs. For this event, there was a theme in the selection of songs which underlined building each other up and finding your own path. “The songs kind of have a theme of letting yourself off the hook, finding your own path and fulfilling your destiny,” Werdon said. 

The event offered an opportunity for students to bond and sing with other a cappella groups. Students were able to connect with well-known a cappella groups and gain more exposure to performing. “It was fun to see us interact with each other–not knowing each other at all and just forming these groups while learning more about music,” senior Pedro Ochoa said. 

It was fun to see us interact with each other–not knowing each other at all and just forming these groups while learning more about music.

— Pedro Ochoa

Not only were the Red Knotes able to interact and work with other schools, but they were also given the opportunity to strengthen their own bond. Participants in the Red Knotes spent the day having fun together and getting to know each other’s interests. “My favorite part was spending the whole day with our personal group and just creating deeper bonds. There were times where we talked about our own music and our own personal connection to it; it was really powerful,” Ochoa said.

The Red Knotes aren’t quite done with their season. The skills they learned at the Festival will be helpful in later competitions. Red Knotes encourage families in the BSM community to attend an event this year that the Red Knotes are participating in. The highlight competition of the year, ICHSA, is coming up at the end of February. They will be competing for a spot in Nationals against schools around the metro.