Tufts A Capella Group Visits Campus


David Li ’21

The Jackson Jills performed ten songs in the Chapel last Saturday.

The Chapel was filled with energy last Saturday as 14 college women blended their voices in song. The Jackson Jills, an all-female a capella group from Tufts University, hosted a workshop and performed a number of their songs for the community.
The group, founded in 1963, is named after Cornelia Maria Jackson, a generous donor who sought to support female students at Tufts. Since then, The Jills have continued to share their music at schools, weddings, and fundraising events. For example, The Jills conduct workshops with students, busk on Newbury Street in Boston, and have held benefit concerts to raise money for the Fight Cancer Coalition and the Democratic party.
This year, alumna Miley Xiao ’17, a member of The Jills, reached out to the school to offer a workshop. Mr. Cooper Puls ’11, associate director of student activities, put The Jills in touch with Calliope, Hotchkiss’ all-female a cappella group. Together, the groups and Mr. Puls planned the event in two weeks.
First, The Jills offered a workshop for the school’s two a capella groups – Calliope and Bluenotes – followed by a performance open to the entire community. During the workshop, Calliope and Bluenotes members sang songs of their own arrangement, and The Jills gave them detailed feedback. Members of The Jills gave advice about using dynamics and body language on stage, as well as on blending voices more effectively and adding emotion to performances. They then performed their own cover of “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, which featured Xiao as soloist. Benjamin Weiss ’21, member of Bluenotes, said “They were extremely inspiring. [They understand] what music is. You can see that they value music, that they are making music.”
In the performance following the workshop, the group performed ten songs. Nadia Puente ’21, member of Calliope, said, “The Jackson Jills performed a set that left me as a singer in awe and appreciation, left us as a group with the motivation to push further than we have before. Moving forward, we will take their feedback with grace and use it to be the best version we can be.”
Calliope and Bluenotes will have their next concert in the spring and hope to apply the lessons learned from their collaboration with The Jills.