Sil'hooettes

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The Virginia Sil'hooettes
Also known as The Sils
Origin Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
Genres A cappella, Collegiate a cappella
Years active 1988–present
Labels Collegiate
Website Official Site

The Virginia Sil'hooettes is a student-run, all-female a cappella group at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. Once just the vision of four UVa students in the winter of 1988, the Sil'hooettes are now the most award-winning women's group at UVa and continue to be one of the premier women's groups in the country. The Sils, as they are sometimes called, have performed for thousands of people at such venues as the Kennedy Center,[1] The White House, John Paul Jones Arena,[2] Baltimore Orioles home baseball games,[3] and Boston Red Sox home baseball games.[4]

History[edit]

The idea for the Sil’hooettes was first conceived before Winter Break in 1988 by JoEllen Constine, Laura Fleury, Karen Sherman, and Melissa Schimke, but the spring semester of 1989 was the group’s first official semester on grounds. At the time, there were only three other groups in existence, the Virginia Gentlemen, the Virginia Belles, and the Hullabahoos – who had had their inception less than a year before. Initially almost named "The Double-Breasted Jackets", the Sils' original uniform consisted of multi-colored double-breasted jackets (DBJs), but in the fall of 1995, the group made the switch to the current black and silver.

The Sils celebrate 25 years of "shockingly good" a cappella music!

The Sil'hooettes typically range between 13 and 19 members, though the exact number varies from year to year, and the group holds auditions for new members every fall and occasionally in the spring. The group posts relevant information regarding auditions to their website as auditions approach.

On October 1st, 2012, USA Today named The Virginia Sil'hooettes one of the Top 5 Collegiate A Cappella groups in the country.[5]

On November 18th, 2013, HerCampus named The Virginia Sil'hooettes the #1 Female Collegiate A Cappella group in the country.[6]


Concerts[edit]

Every semester, the Sil'hooettes host at least one concert performance, usually held at the University of Virginia's McLeod Hall on a Friday or Saturday evening. The Sils' official website posts relevant information and online ticket sales as the date of the concerts approach. Concert titles are different every semester but typically employ a pun on the word "Sil" (e.g. Natural Sil'ection, Get Sil'ly, Sil'verware Featuring the 'Forks). The Sil'hooettes invite a guest group to perform at these concerts before intermission, usually a male group from another school, and concert performances are typically followed by Sil'hooettes hosted after-parties, advertised to the audience at the show.

Every five years, the Sil'hooettes host an anniversary concert, inviting the Sil'umnae back to relive their glory years. The Sils celebrated their 20th anniversary in April 2009 [7] and just recently celebrated their 25th Sil'ver Anniversary as well (April 2014).

Sil'hooettes of past and present getting sil'ly at the 20th Anniversary Brunch at Boar's Head Inn

Fall Roll[edit]

Along with concerts and gigs throughout the semester, the Sil'hooettes reserve their Fall Break at the University of Virginia for a tour of the East Coast called Fall Roll, visiting and performing at various colleges and groups (e.g. Tufts University Beelzebubs, Dartmouth College Aires, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Clef Hangers, Duke University Pitchforks, etc.) along the way.

CD Production[edit]

The Sil'hooettes produce a new studio album every three semesters. Their most recent album, Playing with Lightning, was released April 2012, and is already receiving praise from the a cappella community.[8]

Homer[edit]

Upon achieving acceptance into the Sil'hooettes, a new member is affectionately called a "Homer" and often referred to by "Homer" followed by their last name until the rest of the membership deems said member ready to shed her "Homer title". The Homer period is a kind of rite of passage for the Sil'hooettes and is a long-standing group tradition.

Awards & Honors[edit]

Virginia Sil'hooettes awards and nominations
Awards and nominations
Award Wins Nominations
ACAs
2 9
CARAs
19 27
RARB
2 -
BOCA
7 -
CAMO
1 -
sing
3 -
Voices Only
7 -
ICCAs
2 -
Totals
Awards won 43
Nominations 36

Musical Awards[edit]

A Cappella Community Awards (ACAs)

Year Recipient Award Result
2011 Virginia Sil'hooettes Favorite Female Collegiate Group (Runner-Up) Won
“Beautiful Child” by Rufus Wainwright Favorite Gender-Bender Song/Solo Nominated
"Telephone” by Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé Favorite Lady Gaga Cover (Runner-Up) Won
2010 Virginia Sil'hooettes Favorite Female Collegiate Group Nominated
Take It To The Bridge Favorite Collegiate Album Nominated
“Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys Favorite Female Vocalist—Happiness Chijioke Nominated
Sara Dougadir Favorite Arranger Nominated
“Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys Favorite A Cappella Song Nominated
Redemption Song” by Bob Marley Favorite Gender-Bender Song/Solo Nominated

Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs)

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 Playing With Lightning Best Female Collegiate Album Won
"Around Us" by Jónsi Best Female Collegiate Song Won
"Howl" by Florence and the Machine Best Female Collegiate Arrangement—Liz Smith Nominated
"Mama" by Beth Hart Best Female Collegiate Soloist—Happiness Chijioke Won
2011 Blackout Best Female Collegiate Album (Runner-Up) Won
"I See You" by Leona Lewis Best Female Collegiate Song Won
“Beautiful Child” by Rufus Wainwright Best Female Collegiate Arrangement—Caitlin Morton Won
2010 Take It To The Bridge Best Female Collegiate Album (Runner-Up) Won
"1234 (Van She Tech Remix)" by Feist Best Female Collegiate Song (Runner-Up) Won
“Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys Best Female Collegiate Soloist—Happiness Chijioke Won
“Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys Best Hip-Hop/R&B Song Nominated
Take It To The Bridge Best Female Collegiate Album Short List Won
2008 Sauce Best Female Collegiate Album Nominated
"Slow Me Down" by Emmy Rossum Best Female Collegiate Arrangement—Sara Dougadir Won
"Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse Best Female Collegiate Song (Runner-Up) Won
"Careful What You Wish for" by Jonatha Brooke Best Female Collegiate Soloist—Jenna Pastuszek Nominated
"Dance With Me" by Lexi Witman Best Scholastic Original Nominated
2007 To Homer and Back Best Female Collegiate Album Nominated
"They" by Jem Best Female Collegiate Song Nominated
"A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride Best Female Collegiate Soloist—Anne Foster Won
2005 Tangled Best Female Collegiate Album Won
"Beautiful Day" by U2 Best Female Collegiate Arrangement—Blaire Reinhard Won
"Where Would You Be" by Martina McBride Best Female Collegiate Soloist (Runner-Up)—Anne Foster Won
2005 Aftershock Best Female Collegiate Album (Runner-Up) Won
"Wrong Impression" by Natalie Imbruglia Best Female Collegiate Arrangement—Summerlyn Lotz Nominated
"Wrong Impression" by Natalie Imbruglia Best Female Collegiate Song (Runner-Up) Won
"Two Satellites" by Mary Beth Maziarz Best Female Collegiate Soloist (Runner-Up)—Melody Akhavan Won

Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB)

Year Recipient Award Result
2012 Playing With Lightning 2012 Album Pick of the Year—Honorable Mention Won
2009 Take It To The Bridge 2009 Album Pick of the Year Won

Selection for "Best Of" Compilation Albums[edit]

Best of College A Cappella (BOCA)

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 "Idioteque" by Radiohead Best of BOCA: The First 20 Years Won
2012 "Idioteque" by Radiohead BOCA 2012: Best of College A Cappella Won
2011 "Telephone” by Lady Gaga ft. Beyoncé BOCA 2011: Best of College A Cappella Won
2010 "Say (All I Need)" by OneRepublic BOCA 2010: Best of College A Cappella Won
2008 "You'll Think of Me" by Keith Urban BOCA 2008: Best of College A Cappella Won
2005 "Where Would You Be" by Martina McBride BOCA 2005: Best of College A Cappella Won
2003 "Wrong Impression" by Natalie Imbruglia BOCA 2003: Best of College A Cappella Won

Contemporary A Cappella Music Organization (CAMO)

Year Recipient Award Result
2005 "Devils and Angels (song)" by Toby Lightman Top Shelf A Cappella 2005 Won

sing

Year Recipient Award Result
2014 This Is What It Feels Like by Armin van Buuren sing 11: One Louder Won
2012 "Around Us" by Jónsi sing IX: Supernovem Won
2009 "Wreckless Love” by Alicia Keys" sing VI: sunny side up Won

Voices Only

Year Recipient Award Result
2013 "Starry Eyed" Voices Only 2013 Won
2012 "Around Us" by Jónsi Voices Only 2012 Won
2011 “Beautiful Child” by Rufus Wainwright Voices Only 2011 Won
2009 "1234 (Van She Tech Remix)" by Feist Voices Only 2009 Won
2008 "Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Muse Voices Only 2008 Won
2006 "Don't Cha Wanna Ride" by Joss Stone Voices Only 2006 Won
2005 "When I Think About Angels" by Jamie O'Neal Voices Only 2005 Won

A Cappella Competitions[edit]

International Competitive Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs)

Year Recipient Award Result
2003 Virginia Sil'hooettes ICCA Semi-Finals—3rd Place Won
Virginia Sil'hooettes ICCA Regionals—1st Place Won

Discography[edit]

  • 1989 (2014)
  • Playing with Lightning (2012)
  • Blackout (2010)
  • Take It To The Bridge (2009)
  • Sauce (2008)
  • To Homer and Back (2006)
  • Tangled (2004)
  • Aftershock (2002)
  • Flair (2001)
  • Delirious (1999)
  • Shades of Silver (1998)

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]