Three cows walk into an auditorium, followed by Tinkerbell, Katniss, and a viking. No, it’s not the beginning of a really bad joke—rather, it’s the opening scene from the Bostonians’ Halloween Invitational on Friday night, set in the McGuinn auditorium. The costume-clad group hosted an evening of a cappella before the night’s festivities, and switched things up with some debut songs, along with two special guest group performances.
Bostonians (Part 1)
Before introductions, the group kicked off the set with Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” led by Sam Park, A&S ’16. Surprisingly, the Boston College “Happy” video didn’t even come to mind, as the group took more of a hip-hop approach to the song with stronger beat-boxing. Park had everyone in the room clapping once he hit the bridge, and the up-beat performance provided a nice contrast to the following song—Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.” Appropriately clad in a black swan costume, soloist Emma West, A&S ’16, channeled Winehouse’s old-school soul vibe in the debut performance. With smooth and sultry vocals, West’s song was one of the few that fit in thematically with the dark and “spooky” spirit of Halloween.
Boston University Treblemakers
And then, here comes trouble—from the Boston University Treblemakers, that is. The students made an appearance with three “really spooky songs,” as one group member stated—each delivered with impeccable precision. The Treblemakers started off with Bastille’s “Things We Lost in the Fire”—and if you weren’t watching, you’d think that lead singer Dan Smith was actually in the room. Soloist Kevin Hupp, BU ’16, performed a near-perfect rendition of the English band’s hit single—backed by the group’s beautiful harmonizing and artfully placed swishes and beats.
When Jordy Shulman, BU ’17, stepped up to the mic in his Spongebob t-shirt to perform Matt Corby’s “Resolution,” no one expected what was about to happen next. The kid in a goofy t-shirt was transformed into a stunning vocalist right before our eyes—singing each word with delicacy and precision as he built up to the chorus. As he held out the notes to an impressive length, the audience howled in approval—and gave him a standing ovation at the performance’s end. His presence carried through to the end of the show—one member of the Heightsmen admitted to having a crush on him, and Bostonians singer Sami Middleton, A&S ’15, shared that she knew Shulman when they were younger, “before his voice changed.”
Bostonians (Part 2)
The Bostonians returned to the stage again, boosting the energy in the room even more with their summer mash-up. Chloe Mansour, LSOE ’17, was up first—and once the beat dropped to Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” the audience cheered in preparation for Mansour’s rap verse. Middleton quickly transitioned to “Problem,” and everyone knows it’s not that easy to hit Ariana Grande’s high notes—but if anyone was to take it on, it would be Middleton, who made a valiant effort. The ladies turned over the stage to Travis Russell, A&S ’18, as he sang Calvin Harris’ “Summer”—not very seasonally appropriate, but it fit in with the high-energy, fast-paced mash-up. Finally, everyone could probably guess which summer hit was coming next: “Bang Bang,” sung by Hayley Paret, CSON ’15, as Jessie J and Paul Wagenseller, A&S ’16, as Nicki Minaj. While Wagenseller’s rap performance was hilarious in its own right, what followed was even better: Paret belting out Jessie J’s line, “You need a bad girl to blow your mind” as Middleton bowed down in the corner.
Following the mash-up was a three-song set by the Heightsmen, the second guest group of the evening. The all-male a cappella group also had a new song to debut: the Doobie Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin,’” with soloist Jeremy Medina, A&S ’17. It’s safe to say that the Heightsmen win the award for most seductive use of costumes—Medina worked his red leather jacket and sunglasses, while the following soloist Sean Spata, A&S ’16, turned it up for his rendition of the Zac Brown Band’s “Overnight.” After singing, “First, I’m gonna search your body over,” Spata unzipped the top of his animal costume—we’re not quite sure what it was—and announced, “It’s gonna get weird.” Yes, it did get a little weird, but he brought us back to normalcy alongside Kamau Burton, A&S ’17, for everyone’s favorite R. Kelly throwback: “Ignition.”
Bostonians (Part 3)
The Bostonians came back onstage for two final songs, featuring Middleton and Mansour once again as soloists. For those who have seen the Bostonians perform already this semester, we knew what was coming once Middleton stepped on stage—but in the more intimate atmosphere, her voice took on even more strength, as it reverberated throughout the auditorium. With amazing rhythm and impressive rap skills, Middleton demanded the room with Janelle Monae’s “Q.U.E.E.N.”—and sustained her energetic R&B flavor throughout the entire performance.
With 1989 just released, there would be no other way to end the show than with Taylor Swift’s latest hit, “Shake It Off.” Mansour brought her own sassy edge to the song, and was able to show us her complete vocal range by the end of the performance. It’s safe to say that everyone had the song stuck in their heads as they headed back home—as if we needed another excuse to sing T-Swift on repeat.
Featured Image by Alex Gaynor / Heights Senior Staff