Arts, On Campus

EcoPledge Ignites Awareness of Wildfires with A Cappella

EcoPledge teamed up with three student a cappella groups—The Sharps, The Common Tones, and The Heightsmen—for a fundraiser event on Tuesday to raise money for the California Community Foundation’s Wildlife Relief Fund. The foundation has granted more than $11 million in aid to support relief efforts since its inception in 2003, according to the California Community Foundation website.

EcoPledge kicked off the event by announcing that the club raised over $400 for the organization through ticket sales, all of which were donated to the charitable cause.

The Sharps were the first group to perform. As BC’s only all-female a cappella group, the girl gang curated a song lineup that consisted mainly of tracks by female artists. The Sharps opened with a energetic performance of BØRNS’ “Electric Love,” the members of the group bobbing to the song’s poppy beat all throughout. Energy stayed high for the following two covers of Lorde’s “Sober” and Dua Lipa’s “New Rules,” but the group opted to finish with a duo of power ballads. Grace Tymann, MCAS ’22, provided the vicious solo vocals for the song, expertly weaving in and out of different ranges during the chorus. Cait Mahon, MCAS ’21, stole the show with her snarling vocals as the soloist for Bishop Briggs’ “River,” ensuring that The Sharps’ set finished on a high note.

The Common Tones exhibited remarkable flexibility during their set, which included R&B, classic rock, and pop pieces. Slow builds were the theme of the night for the group that opened with Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy” before segueing into CeeLo Green’s “Forget You.” During the latter track, soloist Maddie McCullough, MCAS ’20, slowed down the song’s opening to emphasize the upbeat chorus. A soft rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” followed before Olivia Constantino MCAS ’21 closed out The Common Tones’ performance with an impressive rendition of Sia’s “Chandelier.” The vocalist hit high notes without wavering and demonstrated distinctive endurance during the song’s formidable chorus.

Adopting a more traditional set, The Heightsmen closed out the a cappella portion of the night. The all-male group opened with Sean Kingston’s “Beautiful Girls” during which Greg Gao, the group’s president and CSOM ’19, maintained perfect pitch and charm as the soloist. The group followed with an ensemble-style performance of Ricky Nelson’s “Hello Mary Lou (Goodbye Heart),” a track that has been covered by the likes of Queen and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The group gave a special shoutout to Ellen Kang, the events coordinator for EcoPledge and MCAS ’20, before its performance of The Temptations’ “My Girl,” during which they changed the chorus’s lyrics to “Talkin’ ‘bout Ellen (Ellen).” The Heightsmen finished strong with a throwback medley that integrated a number of classic songs and various soloists. The group easily transitioned between tracks such as Boston’s “More Than a Feeling,” Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” and crowd favorite “Africa” by Toto.
Although a cappella stylings composed the bulk of the night’s entertainment, EcoPledge made sure to inform the audience about the event’s ultimate purpose: providing relief to those affected by recent California wildfires. Between performances, Kang took to the mic to explain pictures taken by professor Conevery Bolton Valencius of the history and environmental studies departments on her recent trip to California to examine the effects of the Camp Fire, a fire that ravaged Northern California in November of 2018 and became the state’s deadliest wildfire on record. A series of videos closed out the event, the first focusing on the heartbreaking devastation of the increasingly destructive wildfires, and the second highlighting Californians’ valiant recovery efforts in the wake of disaster.

Featured Image by Kaylie Ramirez / Heights Editor

March 24, 2019