A four-part harmony rendition of Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” emanates from room 175C during the otherwise boisterous lunch period. Every Tuesday at lunch and Thursday during tutorial, singers and beat boxers congregate in Nueva Upper School’s music room for a Soundwaves rehearsal.

Soundwaves is Nueva’s only audition-based a cappella group. Headed by Allison Renn, Soundwaves started out last year as a small club. Emily R., Henry P., Rachel S., Josh R., Thea P., and  Julianna G. were the first to join. This year, Soundwaves is a yearlong elective and has expanded significantly with Swetha T., Christine C., Gail R., Jesse V., Hillary N., Nina G., Celia M., Noelle F., and Jenna L. as new additions.

Soundwaves’ first gig this year was at a retirement center in San Mateo. Their second gig was at the Beechwood School in Palo Alto. Soundwaves performed with Nueva Chorale, another group of passionate singers, at the venue. On Monday, November 16th, twenty-three elated students left Nueva with to-go boxes and black binders and filed into three cars. During the half hour drive, students sang along to “Be Our Guest,” “Colors of the Wind,” and other classic Disney songs as they ate turkey wraps.

Upon entering the Beechwood School campus, Nueva students were immediately greeted by three wide-eyed seventh graders. A group of effervescent middle schoolers soon raced in and took their seats, still waving at the high schoolers in fancy attire. The middle schoolers were surprisingly attentive as Allison introduced Soundwaves and its opening number, “Need Your Love” arranged by Pentatonix. Performers clapped on the downbeat, nodded their heads, and step-touched, all with a smile. The middle schoolers attempted to imitate Christine and Henry’s beat boxing: “Bm, chk, bm, chk.” Other songs included “Stand by Me,” “Yesterday,” and the interactive “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” during which audience members swayed and sang the “wimowehs.” Tenth grader Julianna G. said, “I loved being able to reach a community outside Nueva that shared our passion.”

Back at Nueva in room 175C, the members of Soundwaves were having fun and sounded beautiful, but the musical exchange between Soundwaves and the Beechwood middle schoolers depicted Soundwaves as more than an elective. Performances like this captured Soundwaves as the talented, silly, and caring community it is.