Spring is a cappella season at Boston College, and with dozens of shows coming up, it’s hard to keep track. Even though all of those notes might blend together, each group brings its own style and signature quirks to the stage.
Against the Current
Next Show: April 5, Devlin 008, 7 p.m.
Formed in 1998, Against the Current (ATC) has been spreading the Gospel through song for 16 years. “ATC aspires to serve God on the campus of Boston College in conjunction with the campus fellowships, churches, and other organizations,” said president Daltrey Abney, LSOE ’14, in an email.
The group provides non-denominational Christian music with a twist. “We really enjoy making mash-ups of different songs and genres, too-one of our most popular songs is a mash-up between ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ by Swedish House Mafia, ‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons, and ‘Came to My Rescue’ by Hillsong,” she said.
This spring, ATC has a full schedule, including a variety of fundraisers and campus events. Break it Down Boston, a concert to take place on April 5 in Devlin 008 at 7 p.m., will feature 15 different Christian a cappella groups from universities across the country.
“It’s a really great opportunity to make new friends and listen to some music that hasn’t been cycled around the BC music circuit,” she said.
Next Show: April 25, McGuinn 121, 7 p.m.
The Heightsmen is BC’s only all-male a cappella group. “It’s been said that we’re the closest thing that BC has to a fraternity since there isn’t any Greek life here,” said president Masrur Khan, A&S ’14.
Although The Heightsmen perform both on and off campus at everything from birthdays to weddings, including a proposal in Bapst Library this past December, they have their biggest shows coming up at the end of April.
“We try to practice the week of the show every day for about two to three hours to prepare,” Khan said. “We bring our highest energy to each practice so that we can bring that to the concert as well.”
As for the shows, the Spring Cafe, which features the famous freshman dance, will take place on campus on April 25, and on April 30 the group will perform its Senior Show.
Looking ahead to next year, Khan describes what it takes to be a member of The Heightsmen. “We look for guys that have a good sense of humor and add character to the group as it is,” he said.
Next Show: Late April
Shaan is a relatively new addition to BC’s a cappella scene, establishing itself in 2011 as the University’s only South Asian a cappella group. “Our main goal … is to expose BC and surrounding communities to a fusion of eastern and western styles of music,” said president Priyasha Chaturvedi, A&S ’14, in an email.
The group performs a variety of Bollywood songs, as well as popular music, in addition to some songs in Hindi. “Most of our members don’t know the language, so aside from learning their voice parts, they have to work a lot on learning/pronouncing a different language,” she said.
Chaturvedi emphasizes the great social connections that can be made by being in a group like Shaan. “It makes practices and performances that much more fun when you’re doing it with your friends,” she said. “We definitely love working with other groups and meeting people from other groups.”
Shaan’s own Spring Cafe will take place on campus in late April, and in addition it will sing at another April performance at Bentley University alongside other South Asian a cappella groups.
Voices of Imani
Next Show: April 13, Gasson 100, 5 p.m.
With its origins as the official choir of the Imani Temple-now St. Joseph’s chapel on Upper Campus-Voices of Imani continues its tradition as a prominent gospel choir. “Imani means ‘faith’ in Swahili,” said president Gabriella Sharpe, A&S ’14.
Voices of Imani is different from other groups in that there are no strict requirements in being a member of the organization. “We have people from off campus that just want to come and sing with us, grad students as well,” Sharpe said. “It’s pretty much open-the only thing we might require is communication … otherwise just be there.”
Sharpe also revealed that the group does not always perform a cappella. “For our bigger shows we definitely have a band,” she said. In addition, Voices of Imani’s assistant director has a production company and is able to use technology along with unique instruments and tools to make sounds the singers normally couldn’t produce. “He really spices up our sound,” Sharpe said. “People don’t really expect that when they think of a gospel choir.”
Next Show: April 11, Higgins 300, 7:30 p.m.
The Acoustics bring theatrical aspects to the art of a cappella. “It’s a group with a lot of traditions,” said president Elliot Smith, A&S ’14. “Some of the traditions involve alumni and kind of discovering what it means to be an Acoustic.”
In terms of theme for the group, Smith explained that anything goes in terms of artistic direction. “I guess we don’t have a definitive style-we have everything from Justin Timberlake to Carrie Underwood-we really go across the spectrum,” he said. “We just try to do songs we’re passionate about and that the audience will enjoy.” One of the most important parts of being in this group is showing the audience that the members enjoy what they do.
Like several other a cappella groups on campus, the family dynamic of the group is key to its success. “As you go through more and more you realize it’s not just about the singing … this group of people support each other through no matter what,” Smith said.
Next Show: April 9, O’Neill Plaza, 6 p.m.
The Sharps is the only all-female a cappella group on campus. “It’s a great way to form a community,” said co-president Abbey Clarke, A&S ’14.
“We make a lot of connections with female-oriented organizations, like Strong Women, Strong Girls,” said co-president Kristie Dickinson, CSOM ’14.
“Our visibility and reach on campus is way wider than it used to be, just by participating in all of these events,” Clarke said.
In being an all-female group, the co-presidents revealed that a lot of people make comparisons to the popular comedy Pitch Perfect. “People ask us, ‘So, is your life like that?’ It’s exactly the same. We have a brother group, The Heightsmen,” Dickinson said. The students even revealed that they have a group member at the radio station like Anna Kendrick’s character and another girl with nodes like Brittany Snow’s. The group performs at a variety of events, from children’s hospitals to Arts Fest. “We have opened for other colleges at their shows,” Dickinson said.
“We also have our Spring Cafe to feature our new songs on April 11,” Clarke said.
Samantha Costanzo also contributed to this story.