On Campus, Music, Arts

The Heightsmen’s Spring Cafe Impresses With Impeccable A Capella

In an impressive turnout for the Friday night before Marathon Monday, a crowd packed Devlin 008—a large enough lecture hall in its own right—to the gills for The Heightsmen’s Spring Cafe. The Heightsmen, founded in 1990, are BC’s only all-male a cappella group.

The lecture hall was cast in gloom—the only source of light were the spotlights trained on the front of the room. As The Heightsmen entered through the double doors to the right, the crowd went wild. After a brief introduction, a deep voice like velvet launched the evening into Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got the World on a String,” backed by the instrumental-like voices of the rest of the a cappella group. Ted Izzo, CSOM ’20, drew the audience in with his melodic vocals, calling back to Sinatra’s smooth tones.

It was here that The Heightsmen explained that this Spring Cafe would also serve as their senior show. This performance would be the last time three seniors, Patrick Fei, MCAS ’18; Mike Mastellone, CSOM ’18; and Aram Barmakian, MCAS ’18, would be singing with The Heightsmen.

The Heightsmen followed up this stellar rendition with “Sunday Best” by Z.Woods. The a cappella group did a very nice job with this song, but its close proximity to their shining performances of “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” seemed to weaken “Sunday Best.” The Heightsmen always excel with older songs that are vocally focused, but sometimes stumble in their a cappella translations of newer songs.

The Heightsmen excelled through the rest of the first act of their show. “Moondance,” the Van Morrison song that has become the bread and butter for the group was, as could be expected, great. During the pause break in the middle of the song, the re-intro was almost drowned out by the thunderous applause and cheers of the audience. The energy level stayed high through Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” and The Four Seasons’ “Working My Way Back To You.”

At this point in the show, it was time for The Heightsmen skit. The a cappella group played “Heightsmen Jeopardy,” with Fei taking the place of Alex Trebek as host. Among the players were Tusken Raiders from Star Wars and Dwight Schrute from The Office. Displaying impressive comedic chops for an a cappella group, the skit had the audience laughing in no time.

After this skit, the Spring Cafe was back on in strength. The Heightsmen soared through Bing Crosby’s “Pennies from Heaven” and Journey’s “Open Arms.” The group also garnered cheers of amazement during Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” in which the group managed to hit the exultant high notes that Queen is adored for.

As it was the senior show, The Heightsmen did something special for their seniors about halfway through the setlist. It was time for the group to perform The Temptations’ “My Girl.” This occasioned Mastellone to mention that his mother, along with the mothers of Fei and Barmakian, were in attendance. The three mothers were called down to the front of the room to be serenaded by their sons (accompanied by the backing vocals from the rest of the team of course).

After a brief interlude which featured the “Heightsmen Dance,” an enjoyable and amusing experience for the crowd and the singers-turned-dancers, the a cappella group wrapped up the night with their final act. This included a rousing rendition of Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man,” along with senior solo performances of Sinatra’s “The Best Is Yet to Come” by Barmakian; The Chords’ “Sh-Boom” by Mastellone; and Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” by Fei.

The Spring Cafe ended on a high note with The Heightsmen’s “Good Ole A Cappella,” which set the mood for the rest of the night, wherever the audience might have wanted to take it. The show was a tour de force for the talents of the three seniors, sending them off to graduation serenaded by their a cappella peers.

Featured Image by Katie Genirs / Heights Editor

April 18, 2018