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]

Year Presenter Award Result
2014 Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation Best of BOCA: The First 20 Years "Idioteque"
2013 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Winner, Playing With Lightning
Best Female Collegiate Song Winner, "Around Us"
Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Nominee, Liz Smith, "Howl"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Winner, Happiness Chijioke, "Mama"
Voices Only Compilation 2013 Selection "Starry Eyed”
2012 Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2012 Selection "Idioteque"
Voices Only Compilation 2012 Selection "Around Us”
Sing Compilation Sing: IX, 2012 Selection "Around Us”
Recorded A cappella Review Board 2012 Album Pick of the Year Honorable Mention, Playing With Lightning
2011 A cappella Community Awards of CASA Favorite Female Collegiate Group Runner-Up
Favorite Gender-Bender Song/Solo Nominee, "Beautiful Child"
Favorite Lady Gaga Cover Runner-Up, "Telephone"
Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Runner-Up, Blackout
Best Female Collegiate Song Winner, "I See You"
Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Winner, Caitlin Morton, "Beautiful Child"
Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2011 Selection "Telephone"
Voices Only Compilation 2011 Selection "Beautiful Child”
2010 A cappella Community Awards of CASA Favorite Female Collegiate Group Nominee
Favorite Collegiate Album Nominee, Take It To The Bridge
Favorite Female Vocalist Nominee, Happiness Chijioke "Wreckless Love"
Favorite Arranger Nominee, Sara Dougadir
Favorite A Cappella Song Nominee, "Wreckless Love"
Favorite Gender-Bender Song/Solo Nominee, "Redemption Song"
Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Runner-Up, Take It To The Bridge
Best Female Collegiate Song Runner-Up, "1234 (Van She Tech Remix)"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Winner, Happiness Chijioke, "Wreckless Love"
Best Hip-Hop/R&B Song Nominee, "Wreckless Love"
Best Female Collegiate Album Short List Take It To The Bridge
Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2010 Selection "Say (All I Need)"
Sing Compilation Sing: VI, 2010 Selection "Wreckless Love"
2009 Recorded A cappella Review Board 2009 Album Pick of the Year Take It To The Bridge
Voices Only Compilation 2009 Selection "1234 (Van She Tech Remix)"
2008 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Nominee, Sauce
Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Winner, Sara Dougadir, "Slow Me Down"
Best Female Collegiate Song Runner-Up, "Butterflies & Hurricanes"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Nominee, Jenna Pastuszek, "Careful What You Wish For"
Best Scholastic Original Nominee, Lexi Witman, "Dance With Me"
Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2008 Selection "You'll Think of Me"
Voices Only Compilation 2008 Selection "Butterflies & Hurricanes"
2007 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Nominee, To Homer and Back
Best Female Collegiate Song Nominee, "They"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Winner, Anne Foster, "Broken Wing"
2006 Voices Only Compilation 2006 Selection "Don't Cha Wanna Ride"
2005 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Winner, Tangled
Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Winner, Blaire Reinhard, "Beautiful Day"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Runner-Up, Anne Foster, "Where Would You Be"
Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2005 Selection "Where Would You Be"
Voices Only Compilation 2005 Selection "When I Think About Angels"
Collegiate A cappella Music Organization Compilation 2005 Selection "Devils and Angels"
2003 Contemporary A cappella Recording Awards of CASA Best Female Collegiate Album Runner-Up, "Aftershock"
Best Female Collegiate Arrangement Nominee, Summerlyn Lotz, "Wrong Impression"
Best Female Collegiate Song Runner-Up, "Wrong Impression"
Best Female Collegiate Soloist Runner-Up, Melody Akhavan, "Two Satellites"
International Championship of Collegiate A cappella Regionals 1st Place at ICCA Regionals 2003
Semi-Finals 3rd Place at ICCA Semi-Finals 2003
Varsity Vocals Best of College A cappella Compilation 2003 Selection "Wrong Impression"

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]