There’s something magical about hearing a group of voices melding together as one. I had such an experience one blistery September evening when I came to experience Effusion: A Cappella in their 10th-anniversary concert. They have the perfect joyful, energized vibe that can warmly fill a theatre of mesmerized spectators. You literally cannot listen to these songs, a mix of pop, urban, R&B, folk, jazz, gospel, and soul without the urge to stand up and get your groove on.
As soon as the group sings their first note, a personable energy is felt. Enhancing Effusion’s perfect harmonies is the palpable cohesive relationship the members have with each other. Each performer makes direct eye contact with the others and the audience, expressing a deep sense of dependence and confidence. Their songs set the audience in motion, allowing them to partake in a journey of vibrant emotion. “We see ‘effusion’ as the outward pouring of love and emotion,” says Michael Dyck, the musical director, who takes pride in having vigorously led Effusion for the past three years.
Don’t be fooled; among those angelic voices, there is definitely a subtle competitive attitude that adds to their energy. Effusion was created in 1999 by Jon Day, who wanted to distinguish it from the other two a cappella clubs already on campus. “Effusion has definitively gained a high standing professional status compared to Tonal Ecstasy and Solstice,” Dyck boasts at the group’s rehearsal.
Effusion has also earned their reputation while representing McGill at renowned competitions, placing second in the Northeast division at the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella and placing first overall at the Cultural Centre’s Making the Band ’09. They’ve travelled to countless music festivals and gigs, such as one at Smith College and Festival 500 in Newfoundland.
Compared to their first gigs that took place in the Diocesian College, the McGill Bookstore, and the Birks Chapel, Effusion has beautifully evolved into a synchronous, talented voice. “We really have become about expansion,” states Effusion’s president, Hannah Wilson, a fourth-year psych student from Vancouver who has been a member for four years. “Because we are comfortable as a group and we trust each other,” she adds, “the audience can then trust us in our performance.”
You can tell, Effusion dreams big. As they embark on the future, Dyck reveals that there are some exciting plans in the works for Effusion: “I’d like to see us break out of the McGill bubble and perform at larger music festivals and on radio stations.”
“We have the capacity to cater to audiences of all ages on an international scale,” Coleman adds. She also notes that Effusion has most recently been selected to sing for the Olympic Torch Passing in Montreal, coming up in December.
Effusion still takes time to coach their few select new members. The audition process is intense, with around 150 students trying out this year. Rowan Spencer, a second-year Arts student from Berkley, California, was surprised to see how far he had come. “I was really drawn to the intense group dynamic Effusion had and really wanted to have the honour of being part of something big like this. I look forward to developing as a singer as well as bonding with this amazing group of people.”
You can look forward to the debut of the new members at their annual Fall concert. It’s the best way to unwind after a long period of midterms! So grab your friends and get ready to be blown away by the easy, breezy harmonies of Effusion.
Effusion’s annual Fall concert will be held on Sunday, November 22 at the Just For Laughs Studio (2021 St. Laurent).