Music & The Arts
Festival Showcases Best Singers On Campus
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Music was in full swing at the 14th annual Boston College Arts Festival. Always an integral facet of the arts, music was present in a wealth of different forms over the three-day celebration, ranging from dance and a cappella to instrumental ensembles and gospel choirs. Culture in particular is deeply valued at BC, and no effort was spared to include performances from all sorts of backgrounds. Two of the musical highlights of the Arts Festival were the a cappella showcases and the Voices of Imani showcase.
Held on both Friday and Saturday at 2:30, the a cappella showcase featured performances by B.E.A.T.S. (Black Experience in America Through Song), the Acoustics, BC Shaan, the Sharps, the Heightsmen, and the Bostonians. B.E.A.T.S. and BC Shaan are the newest a cappella groups, and they provided some of the most diverse performances in the showcase. Nevertheless, the showcase covered a large portion of the musical spectrum and added a satisfying amount of diversity, as well as music, to the Arts Festival.
B.E.A.T.S., founded in 2009, specializes in R&B and soul music. The group performed lovely renditions of “Strange Fruit” by Billie Holiday and “In the Still of the Night” by the Five Satins. The performances were emotionally charged, proudly honoring one of music’s most passionate genres.
Following B.E.A.T.S. were the Acoustics, a sprightly bunch that kept the mood lively with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga favorites.
BC Shaan, founded in 2010, is BC’s “Premier South Asian a cappella group,” and it brought songs from the East to the West. Shaan’s members performed with traditional South Asian rhythms and melodies, though they also incorporated modern elements, such as beat boxing and English vocals.
The Sharps, BC’s all-female a cappella group, channeled some Southern charm with a rousing rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” Meanwhile, the all-male group, the Heightsmen, took the audience back to 1999 with a performance of Smash Mouth’s “All Star.”
Last in the lineup were the Bostonians. While they are BC’s oldest a cappella group, the Bostonians actually performed some very recent hits, among them a small medley of Kanye West songs complete with beat boxing and rapping.
Performing on Saturday at high noon, the Voices of Imani showcase was one of the most energetic and lively displays of the festival. Voices of Imani, the name of BC’s gospel choir group, was in full force under the leadership of director Chauncey McGlathery. Full of power and energy, McGlathery invited the audience to sing and clap along with the choir as he stomped and sang with inspiring emotion. There were rousing numbers, passionate solos, and no shortage of enthusiasm as Voices filled the Main Tent with the joy and vigor that only a gospel choir could provide.
In addition to the a cappella and Voices of Imani showcases, there were exquisite performances by BC Baroque and the Cello Ensemble, both part of the Chamber Music Society. BC Baroque, a string ensemble, treated the audience to selections from Bach and Vivaldi. The Cello Ensemble, meanwhile, presented a diverse selection of pieces which included John Williams’s Star Wars theme Imperial March.
It should not come as a surprise that the majority of the events at the Arts Festival feature music, particularly musical performances. Music is an essential art form that allows students to express themselves and hone their skills as well as their artistic prowess. Along with literature and the visual arts, music also promotes cultural diversity and exposes students to traditions, lifestyles, and values from around the globe.
Having a diverse outfit of music groups in particular demonstrates just how versatile this art form is, and this allows students to explore and take advantage of different musical opportunities. And as with any other social club, singing groups are also a valuable outlet for meeting new people and making friends.
Sarah McDermott, this year’s Arts Council Program Administrator and Arts Festival Director, certainly agrees that music at the festival, and on campus, is vital. “We try to feature as much of the arts on campus as possible. But music is such an emotional art form,” she said.
When asked about the cultural diversity among the festival’s performances, McDermott, a BC graduate, said, “We like to have a good mix. I think it’s important to have diversity because you get exposed to things you weren’t exposed to before.”