HomeContemporary A Cappella League (CAL) Profile: Scenic Root [Orange County, CA]

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Scenic Root, an 8-member group based out of Orange County, CA, just celebrated an exciting milestone—the group’s first birthday! I chatted with the group’s founder, Kristine Slipson, to find out more about their first year on the a cappella scene, their creative process, and which group member you’d NEVER expect is a vocal percussion machine.

1. When and how was the group founded?

Tom Keyes and myself, founded the group in March 2013, but the idea started between the two of us as early as a year before that. Tom has his semi-pro group Frequency, but we both wanted Orange County to have more opportunities for the community to join in this whole a cappella thing. I was in a CAL group called Voxel Rox at the time, but I really wanted to start my own group. The idea for Scenic Root was born-—I just wanted a bunch of people to come sing with me for fun, and maybe we would gig occasionally so other people could hear it.

2. How did the group get its name?

I spent probably over a month really trying to think of a cool name for the group. For some reason, I kept coming back to "Scenic Route".  No matter what other clever name I wrote down, that name kept popping up in my head.  Then I remembered Deke Sharon's tongue-in-cheek article about group names. Well, Deke, I decided we had to jump in the pool along with all of the other punny names. That's when I thought of changing it to "Scenic Root", with R-O-O-T like the root of a chord.

3. What do your members do outside of a cappella? Is the group mostly comprised of professional musicians or folks that like to sing a cappella for fun?

We all have day jobs like your Average Joe, for the most part (ok, a couple of strange exceptions...don't ask).  Again, that's what I wanted from this group- it's a community choir gone aca. We're not trying to make Scenic Root a full-time professional gig. Some of us work for The Walt Disney Company in various roles, maybe a barista or two, a college student, a manager, etc.

4. Any weird/interesting/fun facts about members?

You probably wouldn't guess which one of us is the vocal percussionist by just looking at a group photo.  Hint: It's me!  Yes, our mixed group has a little brunette 4'11'' FEMALE vocal percussionist, and we like it that way! Ok, maybe I'm a bit biased.

5. How would you describe your sound?

We are a bit uniquely-voiced-—alto, tenor, baritone, bass—and we often arrange the tenors above the altos.  I really like that blend, especially with the voices Scenic Root currently has. Some of our songs are arranged professionally by amazing people like Deke Sharon and Rob Dietz, but many of our songs are arranged by group members or even arranged as a group. Out setlist has mostly Top 40, but we take it back to some older stuff, too.

6. What's your biggest accomplishment to date as a group? Could be your coolest gig, most memorable moment, favorite song you've arranged so far.

I'm just glad we're still around, a whole year later! Not all startups can say that, you know?

7. What's next for Scenic Root? Got any big plans or gigs in the pipeline?

We just got hired to sing for a proposal-—obviously I cannot disclose any details, but we're all rooting for a "Yes!"...see what I did there?

About the writer:
Liz Furze graduated from Boston University in 2010 and is an alum of the Boston University BosTones and Boston-based CAL group Fermata Town. She spends most of her days at a bustling New York City startup and most of her nights harmonizing in her apartment (the by-product of living with someone who’s also in your a cappella group). She presently sings with The Current, an NYC-based CAL group who just released their first single on iTunes. Outside of music, Liz is a freelance writer, blogger, and very amateur photographer. She will eat almost anything and is that girl on your Instagram feed who always posts pictures of brunch (sorry).