Friday night in Robsham featured the collaboration by a few of the most present artistic groups on campus. AcappellaFest, an event hosted by the Acoustics, one of Boston College’s co-ed a cappella groups, featured performances by eight of the 12 active a cappella groups on campus. This joint effort worked to the strengths of each group and provided the students in the audience with an evening of high-quality song performed by their friends and peers.
AcappellaFest opened with a song from the Acoustics. The co-ed a cappella group hosted the event in order to raise money for the Morgan Center, an organization dedicated to providing an environment that fosters play and friendships for preschool age children undergoing cancer treatment. The Acoustics’ set as a whole was strong, featuring highlights like incredible notes from their singers, in particular Dan Paulos, CSOM ’19. The group opened the show with “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, bolstering the song with the full-bodied voices of strong singers across the team.
Following the Acoustics came the Dynamics, another of BC’s co-ed a cappella group. The group stunned the audience with its impressive mix of falsetto and backing vocals throughout their performance. Voices of Imani, the gospel choir of Boston College, nearly stole the show. The group showed off a bare bones set, but this worked in its favor. The reason for this is that everyone sang the lyrics rather than a melody accompaniment. This minimalist approach allowed each of their voices to truly shine. Their performance play to their strengths—presence, pitch, and projection.
Next were the Heightsmen, an all-male a cappella group, whose audience reception marked them as a definite crowd favorite. The team seemed to go for guaranteed cheers by playing lots of songs from their setlist from last year. At one point in their performance, each of the freshmen got the chance to sing a verse alone. This sweet and nice way to incorporate the new members of the team into their first performance. The group also met their usual standards of high energy, with smiles, group movements, and an apparently unbridled love for song. Among untrained voices was freshman Skyler Cho, MCAS ’22, who hit unexpected high notes during a rendition of “Beautiful Girls” by Sean Kingston.
B.E.A.T.S. (Black Experience in America Through Song) brought it all to the stage, offsetting the more traditional a cappella songs. The group’s presence at BC and in its performance is important and necessary in providing a different and welcome perspective than the other more traditional groups. B.E.A.T.S. lived up to their acronym, lending rhythm and excitement to the evening with Destiny’s Child’s “Bills Bills Bills.” Ceding the stage to thunderous applause, they were followed by the Sharps, BC’s only all-female a cappella group. The group sang two popular pop songs, “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith and “River” by Bishop Briggs. In both songs, the talent and strength of the voices were very impressive, and in “River” it was hard not to imagine that it might be Bishop Briggs on stage singing—such was the quality of the group. It was difficult not to sing along and was one of the highlights of the show.
The Common Tones stole the show entirely. The co-ed a cappella group began with a strong male lead whose voice fills the room immediately and effortlessly as soon as he opens his mouth. Then the Common Tones took all the air out of the room with a performance by Olivia Constantino, MCAS ’21, of “Chandelier” by Sia. This is a song that is undeniably difficult, but Constantino sang the song better than Sia does. Constantino had no weakness, breathiness, or cracking when hitting higher and higher notes—she has a talent that quite literally takes one’s breath away. One might expect that, due to human limitations, her vocal range would not be all-encompassing, but if that is the case, the audience didn’t see the limit during this performance. This speaks to her raw talent and to the anticipation for her future performances by those who saw her in Robsham that night.
Next, the Bostonians, BC’s first a cappella group, took the stage and sang a pop mashup to showcase their singers. The highlight of this was a female lead Lexi Kelly, LSOE ’19, a senior who, without effort, overwhelmed the background melody and brought the audience to attention. To finish the show was another performance by the Acoustics, whose bass tones brought to mind thoughts of the golden voice of Bing Crosby.
Featured Image by Katie Genirs / Heights Editor
Correction (9/18/18, 2:16 p.m.): This article initially stated that Dan Paulos sang low notes. Paulos is, in fact, a tenor. The article has been updated to reflect this.