The Message of Music

Nova a cappella group shares their passion


There are few moments like the hush of a crowd before a performance. Just when the world could be no quieter, melodic voices break through the silence in perfect harmony. No matter who is watching, they are captivated by music.

“You hear people say, ‘That was the moment I knew I wanted to do music.’ I want to do that to someone. I want to inspire people because you don’t have to be good at music to love music,” senior Jenna Schweigert said.

Schweigert is a member of MN’s female a capella group, Nova. The group is composed of 12 students driven to inspire people with their voices. A capella is much different from styles of vocal music people typically know as it doesn’t include instruments.

“When you go to show choir competitions, people know what to expect. With a capella, people haven’t always heard it before,” Schweigert said.

Although Nova was created before any of the current members were students at MN, these musicians are continuing the legacy while spreading their passion for music to their audience. Nova’s current co-leaders are seniors Olivia Shaner and Lily Ginsburg.  

“This year we really want to focus on sharing our love of music with as much of the community as possible,” Shaner said.

Most recently, the group performed at Junkstock on Oct. 9 and Vala’s Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 23 as part of their fall performance season. Through these performances, Nova hopes to affect the community in a meaningful way.

“It feels more like real-world singing. You’re reaching out to other people in the community. People can just stop by to hear you sing. You build your own community that way,” junior Shalom Manyara said.

Real-world performances provide Nova’s members with a new view of singing they feel they lack in choir and show choir.

“When you are in choir, you really only do concerts at school. With Nova, you get to go to different places. Not everyone gets to perform at Junkstock,” sophomore Lilly Jones said.

Nova also provides a space for each member to showcase their own talents. In a group that has much fewer people, there are more opportunities for individuality.

“Everyone has their own strengths. When we come together we create this awesome dynamic,” Jones said.

Because the group is completely student-led, all music is chosen by the members, and all weekly rehearsals are run by the group’s co-leaders.

“As a student-led group, we plan all our own rehearsals, choose all our own music, and schedule all our own events. We all play a vital role in the success of the group,” Shaner said.

During this year’s fall season, Nova sang classic soul, alternative, and folk songs such as “Creep” by Radiohead, “I Put a  Spell on You” by Annie Lennox, “Imagine” by John Lennon, and “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. 

Their winter music selection will, of course, include classic holiday tunes. No matter the season, Nova picks songs that reflect the group.

“Our music really represents the female voice well and is very versatile,” Manyara said.

As for the future of Nova, the group hopes that musicians interested in sharing their vocal talents in a new way will audition and continue Nova with the same vitality the group has now.

“I want to see that spark. I hope that when I am in my senior year of college Nova is still going strong,” Manyara said.

The group’s bond through their music is evident, especially through the eyes of the group’s youngest member.

“I have always been passionate about music and it has always been a part of my life, so being able to put myself out there is amazing. I have found a little family inside of Nova,” Jones said. 

As the last chord lingers in the air and the audience applauds, Nova leaves the stage confidently, knowing they have made an impact on someone’s day, if not their life.