Promissory Notes Bring Music to GW Law
The George Washington Law School boasts a large student body from a wide variety of geographic and personal backgrounds, with a significant range of interests - and with many hidden talents. 1Ls Marianne Kies and Daniela Murch are doing their part to uncover one of those talents. Last semester, the two formed Promissory Notes, G.W. Law's first a cappella singing group. Last Tuesday, the group held auditions, adding four new members. Promissory Notes now enjoys a membership of 14 students - eight men and six women.
When Kies, the group's president and founder, and Murch arrived at law school in the fall, each independently had the idea of starting an a cappella group. Both had been involved with music in one form or another through most of their lives and had performed in a cappella groups in college. Murch, co-founder and now secretary of Promissory Notes, felt there wouldn't be sufficient interest to start such a group, but Kies followed through on her plan.
"Despite the extra time commitment," said Kies, "I knew from experience that music is a great way to relieve stress - and I guessed that there were other students who felt the same way."
It turned out that Murch was one of those students. When she discovered that Kies had begun Promissory Notes and was looking for help running it, she jumped at the chance. "I saw a flyer that Marianne had posted," Murch said, "and contacted her immediately, explaining my interest in helping form the group. It all went from there."
Kies expressed her appreciation for Murch's help. "Daniela got in touch and I'm so glad she did," said Kies. "It was a huge help to have two people at the helm, especially at the beginning when there was so much administrative work to do."
One of the original members, 2L Kristen Ward, who doubles as the group's choreographer, describes the group as "a motley crew - people from all different class years, sections, and with different interests. But we sound great together and it is always a lot of fun." According to Ward, the group meets once a week for two hours "and we just get together and sing."
And they sing a wide variety of music, thus far including classic rock, pop, and musical theater. "We are willing to sing any genre," said Murch, "but it looks like we'll focus on more modern music this semester. Anything, really, that lets us have fun."
Last semester, the group had two public performances, at the Law Revue Open Mic Night in October and just before finals. Kies says they plan to sing publically more often this spring, including performances outside the law school for the wider D.C. community. She encourages the G.W. student body to watch for upcoming flyers announcing the group's performances.
Promissory Notes's new members eagerly anticipate participating in those performances. After the auditions last week, the group added, according to Murch, "some great new talent." One new member, Morgan Yuan, a 1L, said he enjoyed the audition process. "The audition had a fairly relaxed atmosphere, and it was rather fun," he said. Yuan had never been part of an a cappella group before, "so this will certainly be a new experience," he said. "I'm really looking forward to starting rehearsal."
Murch feels the auditions show the group has a strong future at George Washington. "We've learned that there is a huge interest in this kind of outlet," she said, "which I completely underestimated when I started here last fall. Lots of people who sang a cappella in their college years miss it." She thinks Promissory Notes can help students deal with the pressures of law school. "[We] feel it's important to have this type of outlet at school for students who just want to relax and have fun for two hours every week."
Kies thinks the group's long-term future looks bright. "I definitely think that Promissory Notes will be part of the law school scene," she said. "It's so much fun for us, and I think it provides a welcome relief for the community at large. Nothing seems quite so bad when you're listening to a cappella."