Elon's first co-ed a cappella group, Twisted Measure came together virtually to record their new performance of "Trampoline" by the American indie pop trio Shaed.
A move to remote learning hasn’t stopped the musical creativity of Twisted Measure, Elon’s first co-ed a cappella group.
Its members recently joined up online to perform “Trampoline,” a song by American indie pop trio Shaed. Today at Elon caught up with members of the group to learn more about what went into creating the virtual performance that the group debuted on its YouTube channel on Sunday, May 31.
How did Twisted Measure select the song to perform?
“Our repertoire rarely contains songs recognized by Billboard or Spotify’s top charts, so we’re always looking for popular songs that are conducive to a voices only rendition. When I first heard this song on the radio, I knew it was perfect for our group, as it so comfortably offers an intersection between musicality, intensity, and popularity. We decide on which songs to perform as a group, and for those reasons, ‘Trampoline’ was voted into our set quickly and painlessly.
“Originally, we selected ‘Trampoline’ to be part of our live set. Shortly after learning the song, however, we learned that we would not be returning to school for the rest of the semester. We wanted to find a way to remedy the loss of that spring concert, which would have been the final concert for our seniors.
“Coincidentally, Chris Juengel, the owner & chief editing engineer for Liquid 5th Productions, reached out to Twisted Measure with an opportunity. He told us that Liquid 5th would be putting together virtual choir videos, to remedy the loss of over 50 gigs that they were supposed to do the sound for. For us, this opportunity was a win-win. Not only would we be able to support our longtime friend Liquid 5th, but we would also be able to remedy the loss of our spring concert. We then decided to have Chris put our sound together for ‘Trampoline.’ Kaylee Hayden ’23 edited all of the video for us.
“While arranging Trampoline for Twisted Measure, I tried to respect the original piece by highlighting my favorite aspects and interweaving them with musical ideas of my own. This process allows for the group to put on a performance we can truly be proud of, because while it’s a cover of a popular song, it’s also uniquely our own.”
— Stephen Baime ’20 (the arranger)
What was the initial response from members to the idea of performing virtually?
“More than anything, I think everyone was thrilled with the idea of being able to make music together one last time this year. Twisted Measure is a family and one that thrives when we get to express ourselves through this art form.”
— Morgan Engle ’22
“The group as a whole was super excited about the opportunity to release some more music since our concert was canceled and the recording process for our album was delayed. There were definitely some overall concerns about how the song was going to sound because when choosing a song we wanted to pick something no one has heard us perform so that we could showcase some new music. The main problem with that was the fact that we had barely rehearsed it as a group so we weren’t totally sure how it was going to sound.”
— Molly Herson ’23 (business manager)
“Being a part of this virtual choir with Twisted Measure made me so excited to have one last chance to perform with this incredible group. Having my last semester end online was a challenge not being able to spend the rest of the time I had with those I was close to,but it was nice to know that even during this time spent apart we could make something together.”
— Cera Baker ’20
What were any challenges or benefits you encountered from approaching the music in this way?
“The biggest challenge was discovering how to create content as a team while remaining physically distanced, as this is uncharted territory for all of us. At the end of the day, however, I would say that taking the opportunity to approach music in this new this way allowed us to become a stronger a cappella group as a whole and to shine a bit of musical light on the world around us in a time that could truly benefit from some virtual art.”
— Morgan Engle ’22
“Creating this virtual choir video was certainly challenging. It challenged us especially in maintaining the same energy and excitement that we would in a live performance. It also challenged us in maintaining the integrity of our sound, whilst scattered everywhere from the east to west coast. As co-Music Director, it was very difficult to coordinate a schedule in getting this video done promptly, as group members were simultaneously handling online school, and we had to remain sensitive to that. However, while we were challenged in creating this video, we also showed ourselves just how capable of a group we are. We not only created a beautiful sound that we are immensely proud of, but we also maintained that energy and created an engaging video. This accomplishment has been a huge boost to our confidence as a group, and we are so grateful for that.”
— Danielle Cuoco ’22 (co-music director/co-vice president)
Is there an aspect of the performance and the video that stands out in particular to you?
“What stands out to me most in our video is the energy. In a live performance, group members can become so wrapped up in the music, that it takes away from their enthusiasm. To combat this, we usually play off of each other, inspiring each other with our energy. Performing this virtually presented a new challenge for us: remaining engaged without having members of the group to lift each other up with enthusiasm. It was on every single group member to remain engaging throughout the piece. The group went above and beyond in this respect. Everyone is balanced in having a good time, but also in being engaged in the music. This balance is extremely hard to perfect in-person — therefore, it was even more difficult to master virtually. For that, I am extremely proud of the group.”
— Danielle Cuoco ’22
“Something I really love about this project is that we all tried to treat it with as much professionalism as we would for a live performance, especially in terms of vowels and vocal tone. We all performed with real intention as well, as we were passionate about bringing people an uplifting musical escape. So although all of us may be scattered around the country, our sense of unity is still just as strong in the video and that is so cool to see!”
— Isabelle Rogers ‘20
“I think the wildest thing about recording our performances for Trampoline is that we couldn’t play off of each other’s energy the way we do in rehearsal and on stage. Singing remotely without my people is so different than what I’m used to, but somehow, it still felt like we were all in it together and going through the same experience, even though we were all singing separately.”
— Kaitlyn Freeman ‘23
“I think performing in general is always a fulfilling experience. Giving the gift of music to people is the whole reason we do this, and being able to touch the hearts of many, especially in a time like this, is extremely rewarding to us.”
— Gabe Halpern ‘22
“I think the video as a whole is an incredible feat. Due to COVID-19, we are all in different parts of the world right now. Despite this barrier, or perhaps in spite of it, we were still able to come together and create something beautiful. Our voices still sound incredible and blend so wonderfully. I am always so proud to be a part of this group, but in light of everything happening in our world right now, I think this project turned out to be truly magical.”
— Alex Xouris ‘21
What are you hoping people will take away from watching this performance?
“In a time where the world is ridden with uncertainty and division, we hope that people will see Trampoline as an uplifting distraction. When we decided to create a virtual choir video, we decided that our purpose would be to provide an entertaining break from life in quarantine. These past few months have been tough on everyone, as students lost invaluable opportunities to make memories, people are losing their lives to an unseen enemy and the world has been put under immense financial strain. With all of the stress and anxiety ensuing from these trying times, we wanted to provide some entertainment to distract. Additionally, we hope we will share the love and dedication that our group has to our little family, alongside the music we create. We want everyone to feel that love and dedication come through in Trampoline, so that we may provide people with a look into our group environment.”
— Danielle Cuoco ’22
“Recently I personally have had a hard time finding ways to stay motivated at home especially artistically. Seeing other groups all around the world coming together virtually to create incredible music has inspired me to continue to work on music in these uncertain times. I hope our video can inspire others to do the same.”
— Molly Herson ‘23
“I hope that people are able to watch our cover of “Trampoline” and acknowledge that art does not stop when roadblocks appear. Music is a valuable tool and form of expression in the world— even when plans do not continue as one would hope, there is plenty of room and a need for creation and artistic statements.”
— Morgan Engle ‘22
“I hope that we can entertain as many people as possible with our performance. Times are tough, and if we can offer a short reprieve from the turmoil during which an individual is entertained and satisfied, then this is a success in my book.”
— Stephen Baime ‘20
“Right now, the United States is extremely divided. We are separated politically, morally, and physically, and I think it is taking a toll on all of us. If anyone takes away anything from the release of “Trampoline”, it is that, regardless of how separated we may feel, we are still united.”
— Hannah Lanoue ‘23 (treasurer)
“In times of struggle it’s important to come together even when we are physically apart. I hope our virtual choir provides a positive energy to viewers as we continue to battle this pandemic!”
— Jon Logan ‘21 (president)
A message about how Stephen Baime ’20 arranged the piece
-Stephen Baime ’20 (the arranger, and also the person who submitted the song)