A capella competition raises $4,000 for local family


The Appalachian Online

Casey Suglia

A capella teams from across North Carolina came together at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts to perform and raise money for Cora Bryk, a local girl diagnosed with Leukemia.

The competition raised over $4,000 in ticket sales and donations to be given directly to the Bryk family in order to help with Cora’s treatments.

“The Bryks are a great family. They’re literally the nicest people I’ve ever met in my entire life,” said Michaela Ann Shenberger, a senior marketing major and coordinator for the event.

The Bryk family owns and operates New Life Farm, a first generation family farm located in the Boone area.

Eight a capella groups competed from schools including Appalachian State University, High Point University and University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

The event was created by Shenberger when she had learned of the Bryk’s situation.

“I was originally a sustainable development major [when] I met the Bryks,” Shenberger said. “I found out about Cora in February during mid-term season and I was kind of delusional in the library and was like ‘there is something we can do for this family.’”

Shenberger was then introduced to Michael Grimes, a senior music education major who came up with the idea of an a capella competition.
The two, along with Grimes’ a capella group, VoiceMale, began planning the event in April.

“Everyone loves a good benefit concert but everyone also loves a really good competition,” Grimes said. “We really wanted to get as many people here as possible and we knew that if we labeled it as a competition, there was going to be a bigger chance of people coming in wanting to see [it]. In reality, it’s not about the competition; this is all for Cora.”

Five local music teachers and directors judged the groups based upon elements including their balance, energy and cohesiveness. The scores were tallied at the end of the night to determine the winner.

VoiceMale member and senior psychology major Travis Gable thinks that this fundraiser is a way to link the community with the university.
“We were tired of everyone saying we were one big Appalachian family and it feeling like it was just words,” Gable said. “This is us taking the initiative to help someone from our community who needs help and taking action to prove that we are a big Appalachian family.”

To learn more about Cora, the Byrk family or New Life Farm, visit their facebook page www.facebook.com/newlifefarm.

Story: Casey Suglia, Intern A&E Reporter