Arts, On Campus, Featured Story

Pop Stylists, Medieval Enthusiasts Unite For Acapellafest

Friday night brought a frenzy of a capella power to Robsham Theater for the sixth annual Acapellafest—a charity event coordinated and hosted by The Acoustics, the self-described “craziest co-ed singing crew” at Boston College. A showcase for much of BC’s most musical performers, the event featured a collection of brief performances from enthusiastic acoustic groups of all genres. Continuing in the philanthropic spirit upon which the tradition was first established, The Acoustics will donate all proceeds from ticket sales to the Morgan Center on Long Island, N.Y.

Kerianne DiBattista, MCAS ’17, of The Acoustics opened the show with her powerful rendition of Celine Dion’s “Taking Chances.” The emotional ballad eased the audience into the show and established an optimistic tone that resonated well with the positive nature of the Morgan Center’s Mission. Performing a total of three songs throughout the course of the program, The Acoustics opted for two more triumphant numbers later in the show, as Audrey Huelsbeck, LSOE ’16, belted out Sara Bareilles’ “Hercules” just before intermission and Matt Michienzie, MCAS ’17, closed the program with his soulful take on “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne.

Following The Acoustics’ first performance was the ever-energetic pop stylings of The Dynamics. Preferring today’s chart-toppers and hit songs from recent years, this crew spread its infectious energy to the crowd of over 500 people with ease. Meghan Linehan, CSOM ’17, made Ella Henderson’s popular single “Ghost” her own with a unique and powerful voice perfect for the haunting song. Afterward, Alexa Kilroy, LSOE ’18, took center stage to sing “You Go Down Smooth” by Lake Street Dive. The song’s old-school sound combined with Kilroy’s commanding vocals was a playful piece that continued The Dynamic’s fun, sexy, and flirty theme of the night.

Next up was Against the Current, a Christian group who expertly a capella-fied One Republic’s smash hit “Secrets.” The band’s palpable passion captivated the audience and kept its attention straight through its second song, “Beautiful.” Immediately after came Voices of Imani, whose interactive performance got audience members clapping along to the infectious, funk-infused gospel song “Stomp.” Another evident crowd pleaser was its lively performance of “Surgery.”

After a brief video summary of the Morgan Center’s mission, Morgan Zuch spoke about her hard-fought battle with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Cancer-free for 11 years now, Zuch is currently being recruited to row by a number of the nation’s top colleges. A committed volunteer and spokesperson for the organization, Zuch announced her new campaign called “Morgan’s Mile for Cancer.” In hopes of raising money and awareness for childhood cancer, Zuch has challenged the public to “get up and go the extra mile” in any form of physical activity. Following a rousing round of applause, Zuch’s father, Rod, shared his experience with Morgan’s illness and explained the establishment of the Morgan Center.

A not-for-profit organization that strives to provide a normal preschool education and experience for children with cancer, the Morgan Center is funded entirely by private donations. Established in 2003, the preschool program provides children afflicted with cancer the rare opportunity to learn and socialize with peers—an opportunity that would be impossible if not for such specialized organizations due to the health risks associated with regular preschool programs.

After intermission, the Heightsmen took Robsham for a trip through the ages, throwing it back to the 1950s with The Penguins’ charming tune “Earth Angel.” Owen Lyons, MCAS ’17, crooned this piece, making the audience of guys and dolls swoon over his versatile vocals. Patrick Fei, MCAS ’18, followed up with an impressive cover of The Weeknd’s “Earned It.”

The Sharps stepped up to the mic next, regaling the audience with Lady Gaga’s “You and I” and an astounding mash-up of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and MKTO’s “Classic” performed by Sherri Cheng, CSOM ’18. With Cheng’s pitch-perfect vocals and the group’s inventive covers of classic songs, this all-girl group gave its audience even more reason to love them—that is, apart from their self-identification as a “fun buncha women who like to sing and eat chips and dip.”

Next, the Madrigals wowed with their unique old-fashioned style. Singing one song in Italian, this versatile crew’s repertoire and song choice reaffirmed their undaunted attitude toward challenging pieces.

To wrap up the night before the Acoustic’s final song, The Bostonians brought down the house with two absurdly good covers of some of today’s top hits. As the oldest a capella group on campus, The Bostonians upheld their impressive reputation. Ben Stevens, MCAS ’17, was met with a thunderous applause after his cover of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One”—a song that commanded the audience’s attention with Stevens’ impressive vocal range. The Bostonians then slipped into a medley of today’s R&B favorites including Fetty Wap’s “Trap Queen” and the cause of everyone’s favorite (cringe-worthy) dance craze, Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae).”

With the addition of timid newbies getting their first taste of life in the Robsham limelight, Friday’s concert festivities brought in a new wave of talent and gave BC a preview of what the groups have in store for the coming year. Uniting BC’s singing groups for the first time this year, The Acoustics threw an a capella party for the ages.

Featured Image by Lucius Xuan / Heights Staff

September 14, 2015