After the general lack of enthusiasm following this year’s Fall Concert with Kid Cudi, it was hard to imagine that Boston College’s music scene would be bouncing back anytime soon. On Friday night, two on-campus a cappella groups joined forces in grand fashion and proved to a jam-packed Devlin 008 that pure music is alive and well. The BC Sharps, the school’s only all-female group, strode in alongside the Heightsmen, their all-male counterparts, and delivered an exciting and sonically superb show.
The mood was set by several glowing desk lamps in the front of the room, illuminating the four microphones on the floor. The groups strode out to massive applause from an audience made up primarily of proud friends and family. It was easy to pick out which friends had come, as it seemed every member of both groups had their own personal cheering sections in the giant lecture hall.
Eliza Duggan, A&S ’13, overcame an uncomfortable obstacle as she quickly realized that none of the microphones were operating. Thinking on her feet, she positioned herself front and center and proceeded to power through the Sharps’ theme song, “If I Can’t Have You,” with the help of the Heightsmen. Duggan’s unique and engaging voice punctured the what-would-have-otherwise-been overwhelming backing vocals, starting the night off on an interesting but successful note. The microphone problem was quickly fixed, and the Sharps dove into one of their most enchanting numbers, a stirring version of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago,” which was made popular by the movie Little Miss Sunshine. Soloist Ali Hall, A&S ’11, has been carrying the number for some time now, and it’s no wonder why she was awarded the song. Her melodic and charming voice is understated and serves the song wonderfully.
New Sharps member Michaelia Ruhl, A&S ’13, took on La Roux’s summer smash “Bulletproof” and wowed the audience with her powerhouse, soulful vocals. Her confidence level never abated as the song’s range shifted around. On the Lauryn Hill medley, one of the Sharps’ strongest numbers, soloists Laura Linnemeier, Allie Larson, and Chrissy Patterson, all A&S ’11, collectively packed a serious vocal punch. Patterson’s amusing rapping mixed with Larson’s dazzling and smoky voice was the perfect combination of sounds. Larson has the stage presence of a singer twice her age, abundantly demonstrated in the way she commands the room with both her voice and her onstage mannerisms.
The Heightsmen, donning khaki pants, button-down shirts, blue blazers, and ties, took the stage after the Sharps’ medley, performing two songs in rapid succession. Their selection was generally more upbeat and even more so geared toward audience participation. Starting off strong, Jake Morakis, A&S ’13, sang a number made popular by the movie Shrek, “Accidentally in Love.” Morakis’ solo, a crowd favorite, garnered the biggest applause – perhaps the most of the night. Grabbing a girl from the audience and serenading her with the timeless classic “My Girl,” Sean Reardon, A&S ’11, wooed the crowd with his entertaining antics and vocals, eliciting shrieks from some of the Sharps themselves. Reardon made what could have been a truly hammy performance into something actually quite enjoyable, punctuated by a stellar and surprising series of high notes.
A brief intermission followed, which brought with it an amusing change of outfits. When the Sharps returned, the ladies were decked out in jeans, white button-down shirts, and ties, in an entertaining reversal of outfits.
One of the most entertaining numbers was a “stolen” one, a song that originally belonged to the Sharps but was reinterpreted by the Heightsmen. As soon as the opening notes from Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Miss Independent” echoed throughout the lecture hall, the Sharps began to hoot and holler at the freshmen Heightsmen, who admirably belted out the American Idol winner’s song with gusto and good humor.
The song that followed was a rousing cover of the Heightsmen staple “Faded,” performed by Linnemeier with Larson on backing vocals. It featured a phenomenal attempt at replicating the beat boxing of Mike O’Neill, A&S ’12, by Jen Maraia, CSOM ‘13. Her enthusiasm and passion were unmatched by anyone else, and she had a smile on her face throughout the whole song.
The energy and enthusiasm onstage reached a peak on the goofily enjoyable S Club 7 song, “S Club Party.” Dilara Eynula, A&S’ 13, demonstrated an incredibly high range as she took the reins on the song’s chorus. She belted notes like a seasoned professional. The addition of some funny choreography and some strategically placed hand clapping had the audience (minus the parents, on whom the humor behind the song was lost) singing along, long past the moment that the two groups triumphantly left the stage.