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John Jay Grad Solos for 'Harvard Callbacks' [Video]

Johanna Lewis, a 2011 graduate, auditioned for and nabbed the solo in the a capella group's version of "Kiss From a Rose."

Johanna Lewis graced the stage of the auditorium last year as Ariel in the school's production of   Now she's under the spotlight at Harvard University as a lead singer in the school's a capella group, The Harvard Callbacks.

We checked in with Lewis to ask about her life at Harvard and what she misses about her home in Katonah. A video of her solo is posted with this story.

Patch: Tell us about your life at Harvard!

Lewis: I am really loving my life at Harvard. I'm busy almost every day and my schedule is filled with school work, extracurricular activities, and spending time with friends. It also takes a lot of time caring for yourself, which I never realized. I guess I took for granted how nice it was having my mom do my laundry!

My toughest class is probably life sciences, a sort of intro to Biochemistry. My favorite was definitely my freshman seminar last semester. It was a low-key class focused on analyzing cultural objects and customs. It was taught by Louis Menand, a staff writer for the New Yorker and Pulitzer Prize winner.

Patch: Congratulations on your role in the Harvard Callbacks. What's the group like?

Lewis:  The Harvard Callbacks is a co-ed a cappella group at Harvard that sings mainly R&B and pop songs. I joined the group in mid-September after a grueling audition process. One of my favorite days of freshman year was the day I found out I got into the group. They all showed up at my dorm room at 7 a.m. on a Friday, pounding on my door. They then proceeded to blindfold me and led me all around campus picking up other newbies (newly admitted members). We ended the long journey at Ihop for our first group breakfast. We practice for 6 hours a week and perform at school and at various gigs in the Boston area. We also have an annual New York tour and Vermont Ski Tour.

Patch: Pretty impressive to have a solo in "Kiss from a Rose" as a freshman. How did that come about?

Lewis: I was really excited to receive the solo in "Kiss From a Rose". Solos are chosen by audition. Several members of the group auditioned for "KFAR" but I guess those voting liked my voice best for this particular song! I was definitely nervous. My first time performing it was on Sanders Theater, Harvard's biggest concert hall, in front of hundreds of audience members.

Patch: We hear you recorded a CD - where can we buy a copy?

Lewis: Yes! We recorded an album! It is called "Rhythm in Blue" and will be available for purchase in late March. CD's can be bought on our website: http://www.harvardcallbacks.com/

Patch: Did your experience in the arts at John Jay HS help prepare you at all?

Lewis: Definitely! I loved performing for my peers on the JJHS stage in all of the musicals, and now I love performing for my Harvard peers. My main influence, though, was definitely singing with the Noteables, the all girls a cappella group at John Jay. I really developed my love for a cappella with the Noteables and my experiences with them prepared me for the college a cappella culture. Keep it up Noteables!

Patch: What do you miss most about home?

Lewis: I definitely miss my family and friends from home, as well as the sense of community in Katonah. It was a great place to grow up.

If you know of any local graduates working on anything interesting, let us know! Send an email to LisaB@Patch.com.

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