Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pitch Perfect: Argyle’s a cappella group hits all the right notes

Argyle senior Mia Navarro admits she’s not the most athletically gifted person. In her words, she doesn’t do sports. So, you won’t see her trying out for the Lady Eagles basketball team anytime soon or making a game-winning save on the soccer pitch.

But in all honesty, none of that matters — especially when you hear her sing.

And when you pair Navarro with 16 or more of her closest classmates — all boasting a similar gift for music and knack for hitting every note possible — what you get is a contemporary vocal ensemble called Remedy that is quickly becoming known for its powerful a cappella performances locally and on some of the brightest and most competitive stages in the nation.

“This is who I am — I don’t do sports. I love singing,” Navarro said. “And being around friends who enjoy singing as much as I do and have made it a priority is important to me. There’s a sense of community in it. And it has inspired me.”

She added, “I think it’s important for people to understand our story and listen to us.”

Argyle High School has long been regarded as one of the more well-rounded schools in the nation thanks to its success in athletics, academics, and fine arts. Remedy has not-so-quietly become another shining example of that, having burst onto the scene in 2017 as an extension of its school choir program. With a cappella, music is performed without instrumental accompaniment. It requires hard work, practice, a great ear, and collaboration with everyone in the group since there aren’t any backup instruments to fill in the gaps.

Remedy routinely takes its talents to local and national a cappella competitions and showcases every year. Last year, the group was named the International Competition of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) Southwest Semifinalists and placed third at the ICHSA Finals on Broadway in New York City.

In 2019, the group placed second at the Texas Vocal Arts Festival. They also placed second at the annual Acatex event in 2021.

Membership in Remedy is a prestigious achievement that requires an extensive audition process for all students, in addition to concurrent enrollment in one of the choral ensembles at Argyle. As a vocal band, Remedy participants push the limits of what they can accomplish musically, with each singer bringing their unique talents to the forefront as a stand-out soloist. Together, they create unforgettable performances that captivate audiences of all ages.

And if all of this sounds like the high school version of the famous movie franchise “Pitch Perfect,” you’re not wrong.

“That’s exactly what this is, but on a high school level,” Choir and Remedy Director Evan Ramos said. He took over the program last year after the departure of longtime choir and Remedy Director Will Griswold. “Mr. Griswold started the choir program and recognized the need for a separate and select group of talented singers who could travel and perform in the community. They started with a few local events but quickly got into competitions and showcases. Today, we compete against teams in the southwest region, from Texas to Colorado, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. We’re gearing up for the ICHSA semifinals, slated for March 9 at Marcus.”

Ramos said the secret sauce to Remedy’s success has been its cohesiveness. Once students join, they are generally there for the remainder of their high school careers. For example, Navarro has been a critical member of Remedy since her sophomore year. Fellow senior Abby McGreevey joined when she and her family moved from Washington State for her sophomore year. At the time, McGreevey and her older sister, Logan, had tried out for choir only but were immediately pegged by Griswold as potential additions for Remedy.

“Neither of us knew what Remedy was; we didn’t have anything like that where we were from,” McGreevey said. “Logan was a senior and wanted to join. It was probably one of the best decisions I could have made for high school. I was able to sing with my sister for one year, and it provided me with a family in a new school where I didn’t know anyone. There was an instant connection.”

Ramos agreed, saying he is constantly amazed by how tightly knit this group has become.

“It’s a smaller group, so the kids get pretty close with each other,” Ramos said. It’s not uncommon for Remedy members to put in extra hours perfecting their craft and choreographing their performances, often showing up to school as early as 7:30 a.m. “They always manage to rally around each other, and I think that’s something every high school kid is looking for. So when you find it, you want to stick with it for as long as possible.”

Being competitive also helps, and there’s nothing this group would like more than to get back to nationals in New York and win.

“At this part of the year, we are connecting musically, which is exciting because this is when we have more competitions, showcases, etc.,” McGreevey said. “Getting back to the finals this year is something we are very excited about.”

To learn more about Remedy, visit argylechoir.com/remedy.

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