‘Acapelooza’ Hosted As Benefit For Camp AmeriKids

A few minutes after the scheduled starting time, a crowd began to roll into McGuinn 121, the intimate setting for “Acapelooza.” The performance featured five Boston College musical acts-they provided two hours of incredibly well-performed and choreographed music, all for the benefit of Camp AmeriKids, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of youth living with HIV/AIDS and sickle cell anemia by offering a traditional summer camp experience. BC’s AIDS Awareness Committee charged a $5 entry fee for “Acapelooza” and successfully raised over $1,000 to send a child to camp for one week.

Once the audience settled in and opening remarks were delivered, the not-so-a-cappella group Jammin’ Toast took the stage. With two guitar players, a percussionist, and three main vocalists, Jammin’ Toast provided some exciting cuts, playing a set that resonated well with audience. The group started with the song “Daughters” by John Mayer, a catchy and meaningful song on fatherhood that had the audience captivated. The voices of the female performers offered beautiful contrast to the sole male voice, while the guitarists provided a complementary layer that made up for the group’s small number of vocalists. The first song was followed by another popular one-Maroon 5’s “This Love”-for which percussion was added. By the end of the song, the entire audience was clapping along with the beat.

Up next was the non-denominational, co-ed Christian a cappella group, Against The Current. The ensemble opened with a powerful and exciting rendition of “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine. The lead vocalist probably could have gone without a microphone as her voice rang mightily throughout the lecture hall, demanding the crowd’s attention. Her commanding voice, paired wonderfully with the well-practiced background singers of the group, brought great energy to the performance. The group continued with the soulful rock ballad “Praise You In The Storm” by Casting Crowns and finished with the spirited and enthusiastic “Joyful Joyful” (originally from Sister Act 2). The song featured a riveting call and response rap verse: the group questioned the audience, “You down with G-O-D?” to which every person in attendance was instructed to respond, “Yeah, you know me.” The excitement in the atmosphere was greatly apparent after the performance.

While the energy level in the lecture hall was high, the all-female ensemble The Sharps, wearing mostly red for AIDS awareness, took over for a short performance. Starting with their own rendition of “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, The Sharps captured the attention of the audience with a well-choreographed performance, featuring a powerful layer of background vocals and striking lead performance. The group followed with one of the most appreciated songs of the night, its own take on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic “Sweet Home Alabama.” “Sweet Home Boston College” included references to the basketball team’s recent win over the No. 1-ranked Syracuse Orange, the overall dreadfulness of South Bend, and BC’s most recent famous visitors, Kobe Bryant and Liam Neeson. The original and witty song drew laughter from all corners of the room.

Following The Sharps was the all-male group The Heightsmen, who-upon taking hold of the microphones-was already receiving a round of cheers and applause from the audience. The cheers continued to emerge from the back right corner of the hall throughout their opening song, “Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band and endured throughout the performance. The Heightsmen continued to rouse the crowd through songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” and R. Kelly’s “Ignition.” The final song received perhaps the most praise, as the lead vocalists’ microphone failed just seconds into the song. He didn’t seem rattled at all as he dropped the mic on the floor and continued the song with even more energy, drawing an extremely positive reaction from the crowd. Once the technical difficulties were resolved, the final group prepared to give one of the leading performances of the night.

The Dynamics, a co-ed group, began with a rendition of “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran-its interpretation was absolutely incredible. The audience responded accordingly with thunderous applause and praise. The collaborative continued to rock the lecture hall with “You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse and-perhaps the greatest single piece of the night-“The Cave” by Mumford & Sons. The complicated yet beautiful layers of background vocals supplemented the powerful and smooth lead vocals. The final words of the song triggered a wild reaction from the audience, eliciting a standing ovation from some members of the audience. “The Cave” proved to be a fitting finale for a well-produced event for a great cause.