By Nishat Chowdhury
Ryerson’s new acapella group, On That Note (OTN), is aiming to create an inclusive space for women and non-binary people who love music.
OTN is entirely comprised of women, femme and non-binary individuals, and only covers artists who are women and/or LGBTQ2IA+. They held auditions two weeks ago to welcome new members.
“On That Note is a space for anyone who identifies as femme and queer people, [so] it just made sense to do songs by femme and queer people,” said the group’s music director. “I personally just wanted to express those parts of myself and I guess people auditioned because they wanted to express those parts of themselves too.”
Unlike the other acapella groups at Ryerson, OTN is not a competition group. It’s a place where music lovers can gather and share music together in a more relaxed environment, said Susanna Lee, executive director of the group.
“I know how intimidating it can be to try and join a singing group, and I imagine it must be so much harder for people who already feel like they can’t be vulnerable and be themselves in other contexts too,” said Lee. “For the people who feel the commitment of doing a competition is too much for them, this is for you.”
“Through your voice, you create a bond with others, an understanding that neither of you are alone“
Lee added that a large number of people who audition for OTN have musical backgrounds and expressed that when they came to Ryerson, they found it hard to get involved because of the lack of options.
According to research conducted by Frank Russo, a member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, sharing music with others makes people more connected.
“The shared identity might be a shared humanity. In a religious context it might be shared faith,” said Russo. “The important thing is that when we do it with people that are slightly different from us, it can help us discover our shared identity, and celebrate it.”
According to members of OTN, being in the group is an opportunity to create friendships and express their feelings through singing.
“Through your voice, you create a bond with others, an understanding that neither of you are alone…even if you are complete strangers,” said Ariana Behroozi, a member who auditioned for a spot a couple of weeks back.
“Music brings people together, it brought us together! For me, that means that I have the chance to share my soul with these amazing, talented women,” said Behroozi.
On That Note is still currently accepting auditions.