Interview with Anna Tartline (C Fernandez)



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00:00:00 - Introductions; musical and academic background

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Partial Transcript: Caroline Fernandez: Okay. This is Caroline Fernandez, doing an OHMS interview for Anthropology of Music, our On-Campus Ethnography Project, um, with a singer in Choeur du Roi. Um, can you just introduce yourself?

Anna Tartline: Hello (clatter of a music stand falling; laughs). I’m Anna Tartline (laughs); I’m a freshman from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. And I’m an alto in Chords.

Fernandez: Okay, cool. Um (laughs), so tell me a little bit about your musical background. Like, did you do any singing or musical instruments before you came to college?

Tartline: I’ve played the saxophone since 9th grade and I did jazz band and symphonic band in high school. And then I did choir junior and senior year of high school. And then I was a dancer in musical.

Fernandez: Okay, so – a lot (laughs).

Tartline: So I did do music. Yes.

Fernandez: Gotcha. Um, I guess, specifically for the choir, what kind of – was it, like, classical, or more like poppy stuff like you guys do [in Chords]?

Tartline: Um, definitely more classical, but there was also a lot spiritual – those types of songs. But not, not pop; my director did not like that.

Fernandez: Okay, gotcha (laughs). Um, okay, so then what prompted you to – or, I guess, first of all, what music do you do here at the university?

Tartline: Um, I’m in Schola Cantorum choir; so that’s the same, like, classicals and spirituals. And then – Chords.

Fernandez: Okay. Um, and then.... Yeah, I guess, what prompted you to audition for Chords, like, as a completely different think from what you’d done before (laughs)?

Tartline: Yeah. So, actually my accepted students day that I came here for last year – the one girl who I sat next to in my class said, like, “Oh, if you have any questions, I’m in an a cappella group and –”. I was like, “Oh, that sounds kind of cool.” And she said that, basically, her a cappella group was her second family in college and, like, she already loved music and it was just a perfect way to meet people and get acclimated to the school. And I was like, “Okay, sure, I’ll just audition, I’ll do it.” And then, it turned out to be...probably my best decision I’ve made so far.

Fernandez: Great. Cool. Alright, um, well, okay. So, what else do you do – I guess, so, briefly, when I was interviewing Micah, he was talking about, just, like, the different things people are doing in college other than Chords. Um, so what are you, like, thinking about studying? Do you do any other extracurriculars? And where would you say Chords falls, like, in terms of all your – like, I’m sure you’re involved in many things.

Tartline: Yes, I am. So, in high school I also was an athlete. So, I’m on the club volleyball team here. And then, I guess this kind of goes along with my classes.... So, I’m taking Spanish in the Community as one of my courses, and I think I want to major or minor in Spanish, but part of that class – you have to volunteer at a Spanish-speaking community partner. So, I volunteer with the organization Higher Achievement at Boushall Middle School; it’s, like, twenty minutes away. And I help students who – their first language is Spanish – I help them with English and math. So that’s another extracurricular; but it’s also, like, with my class?

Fernandez: Partly required, yeah.

Tartline: So, what I want to do changes every week, pretty much, but I’ve taken six years of Spanish, so I think I definitely want to continue with that. And study abroad, for sure. Um, so I’m thinking about pairing Spanish with either International Business or International Relations, public policy or Political Science. Or education! So that’s my bubble; definitely humanities. But I don’t know yet.

Fernandez: Okay. Um, so, would you say music for you is more, like, a fun thing? Like, are you gonna take any classes, or, um, do you think it’s just gonna be more of a, like, relaxational....

Tartline: Music’s definitely always been a fun thing for me. Yeah, I’ve never even thought about majoring or minoring in music. But I definitely want to join the band, too, next semester, because I miss playing my saxophone with people. But, yes.

Segment Synopsis: Anna introduces herself and discusses her music background and academic interests.

Keywords: a cappella; classical; college; ethnography; international business; music; saxaphone; spanish

Subjects: a cappella; college; music; spanish

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:03:40 - Adjusting to a cappella and the Chords social scene

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: Okay, cool! So, I guess then, specifically about, um, like, Chords. Since it’s your first time being in an a cappella group, um – yes, right? Okay. Um, has there been anything that you’ve noticed, like, transitioning from, like, like – just, like, first couple rehearsals. Like, what was something that was, like, whoa, this is, like, different. Or was there anything?

Tartline: Well...okay, I also did marching band; I guess I forgot that. So, when we would have, like, sectional time it kind of felt like that. Like, where we would just work with one section. Like, I was an alto saxophone so the saxophones would go off and do their thing. And I thought this would kind of have that, like, to work on your own part separately, but.... Everyone’s usually together, working on all of their parts at the same time. Which is more challenging, I think, sometimes.

And we – like, we just – you’ve seen our formations; we sit wherever, like, you have to know your own part, I think, here than in other things. Like, choir, you sit with your, like, voice part and band you sit with your, like, voice part. So that was different.

And then, I guess, just, like, you have to feel the tempo more here. In band and things there’s always – or choir, there’s a conductor or a drummer. Here in a lot of our songs we don’t have a bass or percussion part to keep the tempo; they’re more lyrical. So, you just have to – everyone does hand motions, usually, which is definitely new. And, like, you have to look at everyone and figure out how to move. So, that’s definitely different.

Fernandez: Gotcha. And, um – okay, so how does it –. Uh, as a freshman, um, coming in and you’re like – I’m assuming you don’t know most of the people who are in Chords – how is, like, I guess, the social aspect? Has that been something that’s been important to you, um, just, like, as the semester’s gone on? ‘Cause I know there’s people here who are, like, seniors, juniors, and sophomores, as well as freshmen.

Tartline: Yeah. It’s really nice, because...I mean, you have – well, I did the Roadmap pre-orientation program, and then in orientation you meet a lot of other freshmen, which is really nice. So I have a, a really good core freshman friend group.

But...before my activities started, like, I didn’t have any connection to upperclassmen. So Chords was my first thing – so, in our group chat, I texted them so many times about, “Where’s this?” and “How do I do this?” And if I didn’t have them, I don’t know who I would’ve asked or how I would’ve found out that information.

Fernandez: Yeah.

Tartline: So, I mean, I have volleyball too, so I’m getting to know upperclassmen through that, but volleyball didn’t start until, like, late September. So, this started in August. So it was good to have a group to belong to and to help me transition to college. And, they’re – everyone’s so nice and welcoming; I love hanging out with them. Like, if I see them anywhere on campus, D-Hall or just passing by, I know I can go to them if I need anything. So that’s been really nice.

Segment Synopsis: Anna discusses her first impressions of Chords and the importance of the social aspect for her.

Keywords: a cappella; choir; marching band; saxophone; volleyball

Subjects: a cappella; college; music

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:06:21 - Diversity of musical backgrounds and peer leadership in Chords

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: Cool. I’m glad to hear that. Um, okay. And then, like, specifically, I guess, um, in terms of, like, just the musical nitty-gritty stuff, um – so you, I’m presuming, read music, right? Um, has that been – and do, are you aware, um, do other people in the group not read music? Or how does, like, the interpretation of, like, having sheet music or not relying on it as much, how has that been different from, I guess, classical music?

Tartline: Yeah. So not everyone reads music, which is so crazy to me, because they’ve just learned, like, from the radio or pop music, like, how to sing. And they just go off from what they hear. Um, like for me, I’m – in band and choir, I always write so much in my music, like, “Oh. This, he wants this note shorter, I’ll put a staccato there.” Or I’ll write crescendos, like, they don’t know what these markings are or anything, they just have to feel it more.

So it’s definitely...I’ve needed to relax and just, like, see what the group is doing and listen to how everyone else is interpreting a part. Like, if they’re swelling there, I can like, “Oh, okay, everyone’s doing that there.” Even though it’s not written in the music, like, you feel it there. So. Definitely a lot, like, hand motions and, just, a lot more feeling it than what I’m used to as a classical, like – read the music, and watch the conductor, and that’s what it is.

Fernandez: Sure. Um, okay. Do you ever feel that it’s strange having peers, like, do leadership and, like, conducting, and stuff like that? ‘Cause I – yeah, I just feel like, um, that’s also, like, a big difference between, like, typical ensembles, that – especially, like, coming from high school where you have teachers who are doing it for you.

Tartline: It’s kind of nice, because some days – sometimes everyone just has a bad day, and you just really don’t want to be super focused. And some days we’ve had rehearsals where we just sit there and talk and we’re, like, “Do you want to just call it, guys? Like, we’re not feeling it.”

So that’s nice, but also it’s hard that, like, one minute you’re goofing around with this person; next it’s, like, “Oh, they are in charge, I need to respect them, it’s time to get work done.” Even if I’m not feeling it. Like, we have things to do and they’re in charge so I need to listen to them. It’s definitely hard. ‘Cause you’re like, “Ah, we’re laughing,” and we like hanging out with each other; but it’s like, “Okay, we need to listen and get things done.”

Fernandez: Gotcha.

Tartline: Where if it’s an adult, you’re like, “Oh, I can’t talk while they’re talking.” But it’s like, “Oh, it’s just my friend.”

Segment Synopsis: Anna discusses the different musical backgrounds Chords members have and how that impacts rehearsal. She also talks about how peer leaders are more understanding but also make focusing harder.

Keywords: band; choir; leadership; music; pop music

Subjects: a cappella; music; music training; peer leadership

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:08:38 - Future possibilities and upcoming performances

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: Yeah. Would you ever want to be on exec, do you think?

Tartline: I don’t know. Um, I was section leader for marching band and for choir for a little bit, so...I like doing that stuff, um, but I don’t know. Just because I’ve never done a cappella, and I’m just kind of in it for fun.

Fernandez: Yeah.

Tartline: We’ll see, who knows.

Fernandez: (Laughs) Um, okay, then my other question is: What about arranging? ‘Cause I know, um – I believe Micah told me that, um, like, you don’t have to be on exec to arrange, and he doesn’t arrange all the music. Um, have you ever considered doing, like, arranging for the group?

Tartline: I’ve thought about it. I don’t know how to – I can, like, listen to the radio and come up with harmonies and, like, sing stuff like that. But I don’t know how to formally write it down or do that kind of stuff. Like, my friends and I, we just – I have a group of friends back home that we all just like to sing and we all play an instrument. So, like, just for fun sometimes we have jam sessions.

Fernandez: Yeah.

Tartline: And we, like, create harmonies to songs on the radio and, like, make up stuff on – just, like, look up the chords and whatever and make a song out of it. So I’ve done stuff like that, but never actually, like, sitting down and writing an arrangement. So, I think that would be cool; I would want to learn how just to know how. But...maybe one day, for Chords, you’ll see my arrangement.

Fernandez: One day far in the future, gotcha (laughs).

Tartline: Yes.

Fernandez: And have you guys had a performance yet, or...I know you have....

Tartline: We were supposed to because of family weekend, but then the hurricane happened. I guess...oh, well, we performed at, I forget what it was called, it was like a family art day?

Fernandez: Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Tartline: A few weeks ago. Or maybe that was – yeah, like two weeks ago.

Fernandez: Mhm.

Tartline: Time flies. But – so, yeah, we did do one. And then we have Homecoming in two weeks. So, yeah.

Segment Synopsis: Anna talks about her thoughts about possibly being on executive board or arranging pieces in the future; she also discusses upcoming performances.

Keywords: a cappella; arranging; choir; exec; homecoming; marching band

Subjects: a cappella; arranging; leadership; music

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:10:22 - A larger a cappella community

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: And has there been, like, um, any...cross-contamination? Like, socialization with the other a cappella groups?

Tartline: Not yet. Apparently, a lot of that happens after performances that we just haven’t had. So I think Homecoming there is something maybe happening. ‘Cause I don’t even know much about the other groups yet. Just because I haven’t even seen them.

Fernandez: Right. Did you audition for other groups as well?

Tartline: I did. I auditioned for Off the Cuff and Sirens.

Fernandez: Okay, gotcha. But – you chose Chords.

Tartline: But I’m now here! Yes.

Fernandez: Okay, um.... Okay, so, then, I guess, like, there is a bigger a cappella, like, community on campus, but it hasn’t really meshed yet, like, this year.

Tartline: Yeah, that’s true – I think that’s true. ‘Cause they said that they usually hang out with the other groups, and I’ve heard that the other groups like each other (laughs). Which is good, so I’ve heard. But I just – yeah, we just haven’t had the chance to meet up yet.

Segment Synopsis: Anna talks about the other a cappella groups on campus and chances for socializing across group lines.

Keywords: audition; off the cuff; sirens; socialization

Subjects: a cappella; music

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:11:15 - Favorite songs

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: Okay, gotcha. Um, then a quick, like, couple, like, blitz questions, like. Um, what is your favorite song that you guys are singing right now?

Tartline: I really like Dog Days? Um, I just think the arrangement’s the coolest one. And it’s, like, the least repetitive out of all of them, I would say. And, it’s just...we don’t have beatboxing in it but it’s still upbeat. And I just think it’s so full-sounding, I guess.

Fernandez: Sure. Um, okay, and then, so, I heard a little bit about, like, picking new songs. Um, what would be –

Tartline: (Laughs) It’s stressful.

Fernandez: (Laughs) Yep. What would be, like, an ideal song that you would love to sing?

Tartline: Oh, man. An ideal song? Wow, I don’t actually know.

Fernandez: Sorry, that’s, like, a loaded question.

Tartline: There’s so many songs, like – we had that list. It was forty and now we narrowed it down to, like, eighteen, and we have to narrow it down to five.

Fernandez: It was forty at the beginning?

Tartline: Yeah, I think it might have been fifty, actually. ‘Cause everyone picked, like, two or three. There’s what, like, twenty – I don’t know, it was a long list. So now I have all those in my head.
My favorite song ever is Break Even by The Script. Or Everybody Wants to Rule the World.

Fernandez: Ah, yes.

Tartline: Because both of those can just listen to in any mood and relate or enjoy them. So maybe one of those. I put both of those in there. They didn’t get picked, but – in the future, maybe when I’m in exec, we’re singing those.

Fernandez: Just be like, “So guys, executive decision –”

Tartline: “So, we’re singing these.”

Segment Synopsis: Anna talks about her favorite song that Chords is singing now, as well as songs that she'd love to sing or arrange someday.

Keywords: arrangement; blitz; break even; dog days; everybody wants to rule the world; the script

Subjects: a cappella; arranging; music

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229
00:12:36 - Alumni connections

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Partial Transcript: Fernandez: Gotcha. Okay, cool. Um, and then, one last thing, just, this popped into my head. Um, so you guys were singing Common People, um, which I am understanding is something that, like, goes on every single semester. Um – actually two things.
So, first of all, I noticed you guys were, like, moving a ton to it. Uh, which is cool, which is great. Um, when did you guys first start learning that? Was that, like, the first thing you guys did, or....

Tartline: I think that was. Well, we had to learn part of Dog Days for our audition. So, I think we worked on that first. But I think Common People was next. And – because all the upperclassmen knew it and there’s no sheet music, it’s just one that’s, like, “Repeat after me,” and then you learn it.
So – but that one, yes, there are a lot of moves that go with the words. Just because it’s a goofy alumni song, but yeah.

Fernandez: Okay. And then, last thing, have you met any of the alumni? ‘Cause I know sometimes they, like, come back, or come to concerts....

Tartline: I have not. I am in group chats with them, because they’re still there. But I think a lot of them said they’re coming for the Homecoming concert, so. They were – they all got tickets for Family Weekend, but Hurricane Florence. And they didn’t get a refund; they’re angry about that.

Fernandez: Oh, oh dear.

Tartline: Which they should be (laughs). Um, so, but they’re still coming back for Homecoming weekend.

Fernandez: Right. And they’re still in group chats.

Tartline: And they’re still in the group chat. Yeah, so – they all seem fun.

Fernandez: Okay, cool. Well, I hope that goes well, and I hope the concert goes well; I will probably be there. Thank you for interviewing with me (laughs).

Tartline: Thank you so much.

Segment Synopsis: Anna talks about the connections she has to alumni through the Chords group chat.

Keywords: alumni; common people; dog days; group chats; homecoming

Subjects: a cappella; music

GPS: Third floor practice room in Booker Hall of Music
Map Coordinates: 37.57447, -77.54229