Leslie Schallock has gone from singing in her hometown church choir to co-founding Roanoke College’s newest a cappella group.
The junior from Webster, N.C., and another Roanoke student, Rachel Leach ’14, started the RoaNotes in the fall of 2011, though it became an official campus group last spring. It is the College’s first co-ed a cappella group.
Schallock is also part of the Orianna Singers, a women’s choral group at Roanoke. When she is not singing, Schallock, an English major, is a tutor in the writing center, a resident advisor and she plays an instrument in the College’s Wind Ensemble.
But the RoaNotes is special to Schallock.
â€œWe just have a blast,â€ she said, smiling. â€œWe make sure that it’s a group of friends. It’s a lot of fun.â€
Now about a year old, the RoaNotes singers have performed at several college events. The group will hold auditions for new voices this fall.
We recently spoke with Schallock about her role in the RoaNotes and the group’s focus.
RC News Blog: When did you first start your singing career?
Leslie Schallock: Â I have always grown up as an instrumentalist. I play flute. I was in church choir just casually growing up. I didn’t start singing until last spring in Orianna, so this is very new. I come from a musical family so it’s something that I have never felt really shy about per say, it’s just a matter of getting into it. This school just has such a large singing culture that I just got into it and love it.
RC News Blog: How was the RoaNotes started?
Leslie Schallock: We thought the RoaNotes would be a great way to organize talent that wasn’t being recognized on campus. [Rachel Leach] knew that I sang casually. So she asked me if I would be interested in co-founding an a cappella group with her. We were interested in making it co-ed so that it could occupy more of the talent on campus.
We just dived right in and got practices rolling and held auditions. We got a group together. I think it was about 12 people so it was a decent group to start out with. Then, in the spring semester, we presented to the SGA to become official. We were approved and got a budget.
RC News Blog: Who is in charge of picking the music and running practices?
Leslie Schallock: We have a musical director that is in charge of bringing together music ideas and arranging music. That is Nathan Sliwa this year. He does a lot of our arranging and organizes our music. We buy some, we arrange some, so it’s a little mix and match. Â We do try to do as much shared responsibility as we can in rehearsal. We try not to put one person in charge the whole time. We like for it to be a creative consortium where people can throw in their ideas.
RC News Blog: What are some of your goals for the RoaNotes in the future while you are here and after you graduate?
Leslie Schallock: It’s nice that we founded the group as sophomores, because we have had a lot of time to see it grow. I would like to see us do more community programs. That is one of the reasons that Rachel and I decided to found the group. We wanted to have more of an outlet for community engagement outside of just the student body of Roanoke College. We want to go out to nursing homes and do fun things like open mic nights, just to reach out, and not just have it be something isolated to the campus.
RC News Blog: When is the RoaNotes’ next performance?
Leslie Schallock: The most official one would be the A Cappella Carnivella, which is Saturday, March 16. That is a huge annual fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and it is run by Main Street [a women's acapella group at RC]. That is the big event of the year that we look forward to because all these big groups from all over the Atlantic Coast come.
We do enjoy flash mobs. I cannot tell you when that will happen, but just keep an eye out.
Watch a YouTube video of a RoaNotes performance:
-By Kayla Fuller ’14