Cal Poly's a cappella group, Take it SLO, performed two spring shows this past weekend. | Brenna Swanston/Mustang News

Kelly Trom

[follow id = “kttrom”]

Take It SLO’s spring show was filled with mashups, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and popular song choices. The Cal Poly a cappella group premiered a selection of new arrangements and released a CD at the show.

The group had more members than in years past, which led to an increase in musical diversity.

Microbiology sophomore Kelly Iaquinta has been part of Take It SLO for two years.

“It was very different, especially for those of us who have only been in the group for two years, because last year, we only had 10 people in the group,” she said. “This year, we were able to be more intricate with the arrangements because we had more voices to work with.”

The show opened with the Take It SLO members trapped on an island with an erupting volcano, leading into popular radio hit “Pompeii” by Bastille. The upbeat song defined the high-energy show in the first few minutes.

“It is nice to have really recognizable music,” Iaquinta said. “Then we can do stuff where we have a really recognizable piece of music sound super weird.”

One of the highlights of the show was an original rendition of “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. To surprise the audience, the arrangement started off with the Take It SLO members chanting the first few lyrics.

Take It SLO also weaved songs together for an entirely new experience. For the past year, Iaquinta has wanted the group to perform a mashup of “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men and “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. With the help of biochemistry junior and Take It SLO bass and beatboxer Ryan Hicken, she executed her vision.

Business administration freshman and tenor Daniel Catelli sang the duet mashup with political science freshman and alto Kelli Normand.

“I really like the duet I had, just because it was really awkward because she has a boyfriend who was actually here,” Catelli said. “We were supposed to make it all cute and actually in love and stuff, but we are not. And I really like the song.”

Members of the group had to audition for solo parts. All group members who not auditioning voted for the vocalist they like best.

“The voting process is really long just because we have to fit the right vocalists for each song,” Catelli said. “I think we have done a really good job fitting the personality of the person and the voice of the persons to the style of the song.”

Iaquinta sang a solo for “The Mother We Share” by CHVRCHES. At first, she didn’t want to audition for the song because she thought it would be fun to sing backup on a more electric-sounding song. However, the song fit perfectly in her range, so she went for it.

“That song is just so interesting because the lyrics make basically no sense,” Iaquinta said. “It is such an electronic song and so I was very interested in how it was going to translate into an arrangement that is all voices.”

Iaquinta’s favorite part of every performance is the way the group works together in harmony for specific parts of songs.

“There is this moment where the music is so beautiful and everyone is so passionate and focused in that moment,” she said. “It makes the song so much better. It’s that moment when the music is the only thing that matters and everyone is in that space together.”

Though the Take it SLO members are familiar with performing, recording a CD was a new experience.

“The whole process was pretty crazy,” she said. “We would record three songs in one weekend.”

Each song took approximately nine hours to record from start to finish, with each member spending approximately 30 minutes in the studio. With the time commitment it took to produce the CD, Take It SLO was fortunate to have some familiar faces help them with the recording.

“We got lucky because a couple of the old members of Take It SLO now have a recording studio, so we got to go in and work with people that we knew and people who knew some of the arrangements,” she said.

The CD is available for purchase. To learn more, email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *