When it comes time for audition season, it's not just about a group choosing you - it's about you choosing a group. There are countless reasons why some of the best singers on campus have chosen the Nassoons, and they're different for everyone. We're confident that you'll love being a Nassoon, but it's up to you to decide for yourself. So read below about why you should be a 'Soon, and then about what to expect at your audition. We can't wait to meet you!
Reason #1: The Guys
Any 'Soon past or present will tell you that the best part about singing with the Nassoons is the brotherhood you foster with the rest of the guys. Generations of good people have attracted more of the same, and the result is a group that is just fun to be around (or in). The social aspect of the group is as much a part of your life as you choose, but many current members count Nassoons among their closest friends.
We hope you'll come to our open house this audition season to meet us in person, but in the meantime, feel free to browse our member bios. We'll get along just fine.
Reason #2: The Music
If you've ever followed three or more Nassoons into a stairwell, or been inside one of our cars when "Stacy's Mom" comes on, you would find it safe to say that the Nassoons are all about the music. As one of the oldest collegiate singing groups in the country, we have some of the finest arrangements (old and new!) on Princeton's campus. If you would like to hear some samples or watch some recent music videos, please visit our Media section. A chance to sing songs like "Princeton is Free," "Shenandoah," and N'Sync's "I Want You Back" with other accomplished musicians is something you won't find in any other group.
Reason #3: The Tours
As a Nassoon, you'll get a chance to travel around the world, entertaining in countless venues, everything from having dinner with the American Consul to signing autographs for adoring schoolchildren. Tours are once-in-a-lifetime chances to see the world, and because we pay for our tours with our shows, it won't cost you a cent.
Visit our News and Events page for information on this year's exciting destinations, or our Media page for content from past excursions.
Reason #4: The Tradition
The Nassoons were Princeton's first a cappella group when they were founded in 1941, and only the fourth in the nation. Now there are hundreds of a cappella groups across the country, but the Nassoons' rich history still distinguishes them from the rest.
The Nassoons have hundreds of alumni who are still proud to call themselves Nassoons, even decades after graduation. These alums are always looking out for the well-being of the current group, and through frequent reunions and group vacations are still reaping the benefits themselves.
The Nassoons have new arrangements emerging every year, keeping the repertoire alive and moving. But some pieces have stayed as staples of the repetoire since the group's founding. The feeling of standing next to someone in the class of 1942 and singing the same song is one that no other Princeton group can boast.
Reason #5: The Perks
Whether it means never paying for domestic and international tours, singing on an album with Ben Folds, being treated like royalty at the Greenbrier Resort, or starring in a movie alongside Tina Fey, the perks of being a Nassoon have no end in sight.
Try out this audition season and see for yourself all of the amazing experiences you won't get anywhere else. We think you'll be glad you did.
How the Audition Works
RELAX. IT'S EASY. We want you to go through your audition at your best. Read the sections below to walk through everything you'll do during the audition process. That way you can come in confident and prepared. Good luck - you'll do fine!
Step 1: Relax
The Nassoons' audition process is similar to that of most of the other a cappella groups on campus. Remember: it's our job to help you sing your best during the audition, and we want to make it as comfortable an experience for you as possible. Before the audition begins, we'll take a moment to sit down, read your audition card, and try to get to know you a little better. James, our Music Director, will start you singing.
Step 2: The Basics
We'll begin by guiding you through some scales to get you warmed up and to test out your range (ideally, you may want to sing a bit on your own prior to the audition to warm up your voice). Then we'll move on to some pitch-matching exercises in which the Music Director will play several series of three notes on the piano and you'll sing them back to the group.
Step 3: Swells
Now it's time to test your power and your ability to switch between different vocal registers. The swells are exercises in which you begin softly on a specified note, slowly increase volume to full power, and then return to the level at which you began. In most cases, we have you try one swell in the middle of your range, one in the lower end, and one up higher near your break. For the last, we generally look for the ability to start in falsetto and break into full voice.
Step 4: Sight Reading (Optional)
After swells, there is an optional sight-reading sample. If you decide to try the sight-reading, your performance can only help your audition; nothing you do will hurt your chances. If you'd rather not, don't worry; some past and present members of the group have declined this option.
Step 5: Your Solo
This brings you to your solo. This is your best opportunity to show the group what you can do, so try to pick a song you enjoy singing, something in which you can demonstrate your vocal strengths, and especially something you feel comfortable with. You can bring words or sheet music if you need them.
Your solo can be anything you want it to be, from classical to pop. Here is a sampling of solos that members have used: Moondance | Loch Lomond | Oh What A Beautiful Morning | Old Man River | Come Fly with Me | In the Still of the Night | Happy Birthday | Isn't She Lovely
Step 6: Blend and the END!
Finally, we'll test out how you blend with the group. We'll stand in a circle with you and sing through a short excerpt of a song three times in four-part harmony. You'll be standing next to someone singing the part we'd like to hear you sing. By the third runthrough, we'll ask you to try to bring out your part so we can listen to how your voice fits with those in the group.
And then you're done - go home and relax! The group will contact you that evening to inform you whether or not you've been called back.