The Sharps and Boston College Wishmakers orchestrated the inaugural Arts Invitational: Making Wishes Come True event Tuesday night. Stacked full with appearances from some of BC’s most popular performance groups, the fundraising variety show struck a sweet chord on student dedication to support children in need.
The event opened with a performance by the sponsoring Sharps, an all-female acapella group who began the festivities with their meandering rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “Many the Miles.” The soloist eased through high notes with the supportive riffs of the ensemble at her back, and despite the slow to-the-draw and repetitive verses, the pop song made a nice opener for the charity venue. The Sharps also returned to close the show, performing in a similarly breezy style its renditions of Matisyahu’s “One Day” and a chart-toppers mashup of One Direction and Justin Bieber.
The show rolled on with minimal hiccups, though a few erratic tech malfunctions and awkward pauses between acts gave a distinct sense of the sponsoring groups’ newness to the invitational format. Emcees from My Mother’s Fleabag did little to help, as the masters of improvisation unexpectedly floundered between performances in attempts to buy enough time for the artists’ backstage preparations. Yet the reliable performances of the high-profile dance, music, and poetry collectives helped to carry a bright energy throughout the show, each group serving as an artistic complement to the larger message of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Perhaps the most poignant moments of the show were dispersed between dance routines and acapella performances in the form of a BC Wishmakers video and an additional speech by a local Make-A-Wish representative. In the short video, campus Wishmakers described their favorite events put on by the club and shared personal stories of coming to support the Make-A-Wish mission. The connection between Wishmakers and the supportive Sharps was also depicted in a segment that bridged the gap between advocating arts on campus and striving to support others through group charity. The speaker offered her own personal touch, describing memorable wishes of her 20-year career at the organization that left the audience with a lasting impression of the foundation’s capabilities.
Between and around these motivational moments came the interjections of performance, including a sweet and slow doo-wop cover of Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young” from the Bostonians. The swingy number and steady solo was followed by a radically more energized number in the form of the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” a classic that resonated with the young crowd and showed off the group’s talent in keeping a quick pace, whether it be via beatboxing or harmonies. A different kind of musicality came through later in the evening as three slam poets took the stage to read, each laying down their own unique rhythm to their varied objects of attention. “Betty,” a piece about beauty and self-confidence for persons of color, was particularly memorable for its undeniable momentum and beat.
The dance groups also contributed to the night in a large way, with Synergy, Sexual Chocolate, and BC Irish Dance each playing a part to keep the show eclectic. The opening piece, choreographed by BCID, recalled classic undertones of the cultural dance, and gave full opportunity for the ensemble to show off their inimitable formation changes and eye-catching agility at even the highest speed. A second, more modern number lacked the tightness of sharp lines seen in the first, but maximized on its own upbeat energy and ingenuity in mixing out-of-genre moves with classic step.
Sexual Chocolate showcased a series of step sequences united by their incredible synchronization and characteristic emphasis on swagger within the complicated beats. Synergy came prepared with an entertaining, clean piece that effortlessly integrated sections of the large ensemble into the shifting soundtrack and mood of a full routine. The group’s high energy punch and theatrical value was seen clearly on stage, whether to the backdrop of “Where Are Ü Now” or “Hot in Here.”
By final curtain, it was clear that the Arts Invitational shows promise of becoming a performance staple at BC. The event’s mission to unite the support of on-campus artists and fundraising for a meaningful foundation that lessens the brunt of serious illness on children is admirable.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor