News Article

One "U" Makes All the Difference

MIT Centrifugues

February 05, 2016

Fugue (/fyo͞oɡ/ )
Noun, plural noun: fugues
Music: a contrapuntal composition in which a short melody or phrase (the subject) is introduced by one part and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts.

The MIT Centrifugues is the newest coed a cappella group on campus. Not to be confused with centrifuges, a piece of lab equipment that separates materials, conversely the Centrifugues put separate parts together. The group fuses melodies from multiple musical works to compose and perform mashups and medleys. This foundation extends to another type of composition: its student singers. The Centrifugues bring together MIT students of various backgrounds to create a welcoming, supportive, and genuine community.
“The people who form my a cappella group are a wonderfully diverse set of people,” said Edward Nguyen ’19, a bass singer with the Centrifugues. “We have different values, interests, backgrounds, goals, etcetera. I don’t think there’s a single thing that unites us, and yet we’re still incredible close.”
Before MIT Nguyen was an active musician who played violin in his community’s youth orchestra. Though his interest in the violin faded, he still wanted both an outlet to express the musical side of his personality that also contributed a communal component. Despite lacking any formal singing training or experience prior, Nguyen decided to branch out and try a cappella. After auditioning and receiving a callback he was offered a position with the Centrifugues.
Nguyen has plans to double major in Course 6 and 18 and has a UROP in the Media Lab constructing frameworks to collect information on where individuals stand on various ethical dilemmas. As a freshman the Centrifugues have been an extremely positive and helpful influence on Nguyen’s transition into college life. “Adjusting to college work schedule was hard for me, and being part of ‘fugues did a lot to relax me when things felt overwhelming.” Of his time spent with the Centrifugues thus far Nguyen described a sense of comfort, “The atmosphere in the room is always relaxed and sincere. I feel completely at home around my group and like I can talk with little to no pretense.”
In search of a platform to express his passion for music the Centrifugues have offered Nguyen new depth to his college years and the opportunity to gain experiences and camaraderie that otherwise may not have been part of his MIT life. The Centrifugues have pulled together different people and pieces of MIT to create a unified home base for its members. “’Fugues gave me a community, friends, and a musical outlet which has made me feel more human.”

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