Virginia Tech alumna and founder, Jessica Green, returned to campus for the 25th anniversary celebration of the campus’ first all-female vocal group, Soulstice a cappella. 

As a freshman in 1998 arriving on campus, Green was eager to find community with a new a cappella group. To her surprise, all that existed was an all-male group, Juxtaposition, and a co-ed group, Mixed Emotions. This gave Green the idea of creating an a cappella group dedicated to featuring the campus’ female vocalists. She took this opportunity to search for a co-founder and a professor to sponsor her new group – two requirements necessary for creating a student organization.

Green’s newest friend in the music school, Tula Pisano, loved the idea and agreed to serve as co-founder. With sponsorship from Lisanne Lyons, then associate professor of music, the group could now officially be recognized by the university. Soulstice was born. Green and Pisano got to work printing flyers and spreading the news around campus regarding upcoming auditions.

To their surprise, many Hokies auditioned, welcoming the idea of the group, and soon the new Soulstice members began preparations for their first concert. Their first notes echo today.

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“Each year is so different but adds to who we are now,” said senior graphic design major and Soulstice member Sydney Johnson. “As an only child, I always prayed for a sibling. I entertained myself a lot as a child, which is when I got into music and singing. I’m so happy that now I get both. I get to sing and I have the best ‘siblings’ ever. God blesses me with new sisters every year.”

The 2023 cohort of Soulstice a cappella poses together for a photo in front of a white backdrop.

The 2023 cohort of Soulstice a cappella poses together for a photo in front of a white backdrop.
Members of the 2022-23 Soulstice a cappella group. Photo by Emily Dages.

Green founded Soulstice because she wanted an a cappella group to be a part of her college experience, without knowing how the group might develop and positively impact the lives of future Hokies. With visible emotion, Green said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine coming back 25 years later and seeing what it has become… It’s just tremendous.” With the goal of sharing her passion with others, Green’s dream became a continuing legacy of campus culture. 

“I didn’t realize it at the time, but Soulstice was the most significant and central element of my college experience.  It is where I made my closest college friends, where I got to grow and express myself creatively, and where I learned to teach and lead others,” Green said.

Student Affairs assisted Green in the organization of Soulstice, providing guidance, structure, and support. Faculty and staff helped the group take flight by booking rehearsal and performance spaces. However, some of Soulstice’s biggest supporters were fellow vocalists in the university’s two other a cappella groups.

“I remember coming back for a concert after I graduated and seeing a senior get emotional as she spoke about how much Soulstice meant to her during her time on campus. It was at that moment that I truly started to understand what the group has become,” said Green. The group strives to create a community of women who feel supported, empowered and valued.

Green shared that the close connections she made through the group are just as important today as they were in the early 2000s. She visits with Soulstice alums when she travels, and her experience with the group paved the way for Green’s current career. She published her first album of original songs in 2021 and now performs her music throughout the country.

Green stepped away from her officer role during her senior year in 2002, hoping that would help the group transition with new members and continue to expand, and it did. Through the years, the music group has blossomed in many ways. Soulstice has recorded and produced multiple songs, in addition to performing at multiple events each year. Now, Soulstice a cappella has been selected for the Best of Collegiate A Cappella 2023, and is currently celebrating a quarter century of friendship, community, and passion for the art of a cappella.

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