Interested in becoming a Ransom Note?

The Process


Our music director, Corinne, will help warm you up with a few exercises that will also give us a general feel for your voice and its range limits.


You should sing a verse and a chorus (30-60 seconds) of a song that you feel best showcases your talent.  We have heard everything from opera to musical theater to pop (however, keep in mind the typical type of singing you hear in our performances). Don’t be afraid to let your voice shine in whatever is the best fit for you!

Tonal Memory

Corinne may play several intervals on the piano and ask you to sing them back to us.  This is just so we can check your accuracy.


We may give you a short exercise (two lines) for you to sight-read.  Don’t be afraid if you don’t know how to read music!  Many of our members had never looked at a piece of sheet music until they joined us!  This section won’t hurt you and can only help you.  If you don’t feel comfortable reading music we will play it on the piano and ask you to sing it back to us (much like with tonal memory).  We just want to get a general feel of how easily you pick up new music.


Sometime after auditions on Wednesday we will send emails about callbacks.  Callbacks will be Friday evening, and it will be a group event. You will be asked for a second solo in a style we will request, and we will do warmups, tags, and learn parts of some of our arrangements. This is all so that we can get a feel for your learning process and better hear how your voice will blend with the rest of the group.

Dinner and tea will be provided!


Think you have what it takes? Sign up for an audition here!

Audition FAQs

I'm not a first year. Can I audition?
Of course! We want to hear everyone! We usually take a mix of ages so don't feel like it's something you can only get into your first year.
What if I get called back for more than one group?
Because of the way the AcaCouncil runs auditions, you will be able to attend as many callbacks as you want! We all coordinate callbacks with one another, so even if you have multiple callbacks at the same time, the groups schedule a way of sharing time with you.
What about grad students?
Grad students are welcome and encouraged to audition! We aren't only for undergrads. We've had many members that have been grad students!
I've never sung a cappella before...Do I have a chance?
Yes! We have a wide range of musical experience represented in our group. While some of our members have a long musical resume, others had never looked at a piece of music before they auditioned for us! If you like to sing, we want to hear you!
What are the Ransom Notes doing this year?
Having just completed our album and finished up a National tour last year, this year (2017-2018) we will likely begin plans for our next album, though we will not do a Spring Break tour (that occurs every other year). This year, we are planning on competing in ICCA again and of course producing some great a cappella shows on campus and in the city!
What kind of commitment is the Ransom Notes?
We spend a lot of time together (both in and out of rehearsal). We hold three 2-hour rehearsals + a 1-hour separate sectional each week, and we perform at various events on and off campus throughout the year. We spend the first 5 days of winter break touring in Chicago (this is not mandatory, but highly encouraged and a major highlight of every year!), and we typically hold one big concert at the end of the year. If we are recording a CD or preparing for ICCA (typically the first few weeks of January), then we may hold extra rehearsals and recording sessions.
That sounds like a lot...What if there are other things on campus I want to do too?
We love to have members who are involved in other groups! Most of our current members are active in other groups such as University Theater, Greek life, Peer Health Exchange, Model UN, Debate, Neighborhood Schools Program, tutoring / TAing, and club sports!
Other Questions?
Feel free to contact us at or message us on Facebook. We would love to hear your questions!