Arts, On Campus

The Heightsmen Invitational Intrigues With Songs and Serenades

It can sometimes be surreal to attend a Heightsmen show at Boston College. One walks into the venue, finds a seat, and patiently awaits the beginning of the night. As the music starts, if they’re not careful, they might forget that they are at a Heightsmen show at all. It is almost impossibly bizarre to say so, but the Heightsmen, BC’s only all-male a cappella group, are often just as good as the artists they cover—if not better. Such was the case at last Friday’s Fall Invitational.

Looking stylish as ever in their suit jackets and maroon-gold ties, the Heightsmen took Robsham’s stage with a bang. The group carries with it an undeniable sense of class—something that it does better than perhaps any other club on campus. As the first strains of Billy Ward and His Dominoes’ “Sixty Minute Men” echoed through the auditorium, it became clear that the audience was in for a treat.

It’s not the first time that this has been said—and it certainly won’t be the last—but the way in which the Heightsmen match their covered artists (while still adding a unique twist) is truly unfathomable. Go listen to the original version of “Sixty Minute Men” that Ward performed at the height of the doo-wop movement, and this point will become evident. Comparing this to the Heightsmen is almost humorous, as the group matches the style with an absurd level of mastery.

Of course, the Heightsmen are not limited to that one song. The night was filled with high points, from the “Come Fly With Me” quartet, to the “My Girl” serenade. In fact, special recognition must go to David Lee, MCAS ’20, and Patrick McGrath’s, CSOM ’20, performance on Friday—the freshman duo unveiled new solos with the songs “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Leavin’,” respectively. These two Heightsmen shone brightest of all, proving that the group has a very, very bright future ahead should it choose to follow this path.

The Heightsmen were not the only centers of attention, however. The Dance Organization of Boston College (DOBC), as well as Sexual Chocolate, lended their hands—or feet, rather—to the Heightsmen Fall Invitational. DOBC’s performances are always entrancing to watch. It is as though the dancers draw you into their world and do not let go—more often than not, audience members may find themselves locked in a dance-induced daze as they watch. At least, that seemed to be the case last Friday.

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On the opposite end of the dance spectrum lies Sexual Chocolate. Relying on humor, fortitude, and a penchant for ridiculous levels of timing and accuracy, BC’s all-male step team is the very picture of energy and strength. The way in which Sexual Chocolate lights up a room with its performances truly does explain its levels of fan-favoriteness on BC’s campus. Sexual Chocolate’s skit on Friday night, which explored the evolution of music from the Stone Ages until the year 3,000, rocked the room with laughter and awe. Never let it be said that dance is simple, easy, or boring—Sexual Chocolate is pure evidence to the contrary.

The night would not have been complete, naturally, had a few Heightsmen not tried their hand at dance. As has happened for several years, the freshman members of the Heightsmen took the stage about halfway through the show to prove their talent alongside DOBC and Sexual Chocolate. Though the results may not have been quite so impressive on a technical level, the dancers were, in fact, hilarious. Perhaps the funniest part of the night, the youngest of the Heightsmen were forced to put on a dance (encompassing music from genres across the ages) to prove their dedication to the club. This low-level, all-in-good-fun test made the Heightsmen seem less like of a group of guys from across the country, and more like a family. Even through all the laughter, the event truly was heartwarming.

All fun and games aside, the Heightsmen Fall Invitational was one of the most serene events on BC’s campus in a while. DOBC and Sexual Chocolate make for some excellent changes of pace, but closing one’s eyes and letting the vocal reverberations of the Heightsmen wash over the room is one of the most unique experiences a BC student can have. Be sure to make it to the next show if possible—if it is anything like last Friday, there will not be a single disappointed soul in the house.

Featured Image By Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff

November 6, 2016