HEARTbeats by Stephanie Villavicencio
If you haven’t heard of the FIU HEARTbeats yet (Do you live under a rock?), get ready to become a huge fan of the FIU Honors College a Cappella group. Founded in early 2014 by Honors student Kamila Manzueta (with the help of Honors fellow and faculty mentor Janet McDaniel), the HEARTbeats had one goal: leave a musical mark on the university while giving others a chance to share their passion and express themselves through song.
Naturally, being in charge comes with a ton of stress, but Kamila considers herself lucky enough to have found a group of talented voices just as passionate and willing as she is to put in the extra work that being in an a Cappella group requires. Kamila and her assistant director and vocal percussionist, Gabe Coto, are ready to take the talented group of Honors students “as far as they want to go”. And, so far, they’ve come a long way. “The group has truly displayed growth”, says Kamila. “We have become a single unit, a single voice. A voice composed of individuals who simply want to have fun doing something that they love”.
Since their founding nearly 2 years ago, The HEARTbeats have been pumping things up, starting with the creation of the FIU Welcome Back video, Panther Funk. In addition to this achievement, the group has many more opportunities lined up for the year. Recently, they were participants in the Betsy A Cappella Festival in Miami Beach where they learned more about performance and fine-tuning their craft. Soon, they will also be raising funds and performing for a cause at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s event in Biscayne Bay. Early next year, the HEARTbeats will be participating in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), and Kamila has high hopes for her group, her goal being to make it to the Quarterfinals. If things continue for the HEARTbeats at the rate they’re going, they’ll be singing their way to the top of the scales in no time.