After School Specials! Sing for Solidarity, Social Change

Solos by Aleina Wachtel ’16 and Annalise Schweickart ’18 can be seen at 56 seconds and 2:54, respectively. Lend your support to by voting for the After School Specials in the Sing for Survivors Contest.

As a rallying cry for everyone to see their responsibility in preventing sexual assault, students on U.S. college campuses are joining forces—through song.

A cappella groups are arranging their own versions of the Oscar-nominated song “Til It Happens To You,” written by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga for The Hunting Ground, a documentary that explores sexual assault on college and university campuses. The song has become an anthem to support survivors and to end the culture of silence and shame around sexual assault.

The Claremont Colleges a cappella group After School Specials! has joined the movement and created a cover of the song. They performed it Nov. 11 at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles as part of the Hollywood Music in Media awards, where the song won the Best Documentary Song award. Since then, the After School Specials! created a video (shown above) and entered it in the Sing for Survivors Contest from which three videos will be selected by popular vote. Then, a panel of judges, including Warren, LL COOL J, Cynthia Germanotta, David Foster and Bonnie Greenberg, will select one winner. The winning a cappella group receives a Skype session with Platinum selling recording artists Pentatonix as well as a video master class and discussion with eight-time Oscar nominee Warren and 16-time Grammy winner David Foster.

The After School Specials!, which includes Mudders Annalise Schweickart ’18 and Aleina Wachtel ’16, hope their professional video and strong competitive a cappella track record will help them stand out. The group won the Feb. 6 Southwest Quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Their performance of “Levels” by Nick Jonas, “Recovery” by James Arthur and “Don’t Wake Me Up” by Lianne LaHavas earned them first place over eight other groups. Also, members Pranay Yeturu POM ’16 won Best Percussionist and Niko Tutland POM ’17 won Best Arranger.

“It’s such a surreal experience to see all our hard work and passion for what we do be recognized,” said Wachtel. “To get first place at quarterfinals both times we’ve competed (once my sophomore year in 2014, and now this year) is a true testament to how amazing our 5C a cappella family is. I feel so lucky to be a part of it!”

The After School Specials! will perform in the ICCA Southwest Semifinals at UCLA on April 3. In the meantime, they’ll practice and hope their video will win the Sing for Survivors Contest.