Choir teacher creates faculty a cappella group

A new group of faculty enthusiasts a cappella, the “8’T’s”, are making their way in to the Palo Alto High School choir scene. Despite being unable to perform during Spirit Week, the faculty group is working together to prepare for upcoming performances of singing eighties music later this semester. Founded by choir teacher Michael Najar, the “8 T’s” is a faculty a cappella group comprised of choir teacher Michael Najar, science teacher Elizabeth Brimhall, counselor Paige Johnson, math teacher Arne Lim, music teacher Jeff Wilner, special education teacher Elizabeth Mueller, science teacher Kelli Hagan and history teacher Steve Sabbag.
A cappella music does not contain background instrumental music, but instead has the singer perform only with his or her voice. A cappella has been popularized by movies, TV shows and other performers such as “Pitch Perfect” and “The Sing-Off” and “The Pentatonix.” Najar was first inspired by the idea of a faculty a cappella group at the Viking Variety Show, where Najar first noticed the teachers’ musical talents.
Furthermore, Najar wanted to rally the teachers together for a time to showcase their musical essences, and bring an amiable ambiance to the Paly campus.
“I’ve always wanted the teachers to come together to perform,” Najar said.“It’s a lot of fun and it’s always a great time.”
The group comes together every Thursday at lunch to practice their vocals in preparation for an upcoming lunch a cappella show sometime during the first or second week of November. The 8 T’s will be performing alongside the student a cappella groups; the Vikapella, Heartbeats, Heartbreakers and Folk Yes. Even though the group did not perform during Spirit Week as previously planned due to inconsistent teacher attendance, the group believes that they will be well prepared by midway through November. According to Najar, no student aid is needed for the faculty a cappella group.
“I think it’s interesting to watch my past and current teachers working together outside of their normal fields and watching them step out of their elements,” senior Vikapella member Jonathan Kosaka said.
The 8 T’s, which is similar to the consonance of “eight-tees,” will be singing primarily eighties music.However, due to course loads and tight schedules, some teachers are beginning to leave the group.
The main core group now consists of Najar, Jeff Wilner, Mueller, Brimhall, Johnson and Lim, but the group is still trying to find two more teachers to complete the faculty a cappella group.
“We’re still choosing teachers,” Najar said. “[The teachers] have to be available. Everyone who comes is great.  They have amazing voices and it’s always a great time.”
While Najar understands that not all the teachers can make it to practice due to their busy schedules, he believes that the faculty a capella group is a way to hang out with the teachers while creating something unique and different from other musical talents. Nonetheless, Najar and the remaining 8 T’s looks forward to a successful show in November and another show  during second semester.
“The great thing about a capella is that it is accessible, even for people who don’t sing very well or can’t read music,” Najar said.  “We have a lot of great teachers who sing and a lot of great musical teachers. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s a great way to spend time with one another.”

Choir teacher Michael Najar established a faculty a cappella group, the “8 T’s,” to  harmonize the teacher’s musical voices for an upcoming lunch show.
Choir teacher Michael Najar established a faculty a cappella group, the “8 T’s,” to harmonize the teacher’s musical voices for an upcoming lunch show.