Arts, On Campus

The Sharps Serenade to Victory at the A Capella Riff-Off

Boston College Dance Marathon held its second annual A Capella Riff-Off in Robsham Theater on Thursday night. Eight a cappella groups came together to battle it out with one another to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital—The Bostonians, The Common Tones, The Sharps, The Acoustics, The Dynamics, B.E.A.T.S., Against the Current, and The Heightsmen all performed at the event. Although the competition was intense, The Sharps went home with the trophy.

The Dynamics opened with “Bring It Home” by Zak Abel and “I Fall Apart” by Post Malone. Their group rendition of the popular Post Malone song featured solos from Gabe Santos, MCAS ’22, and Brooke Joyce, MCAS ’20. The Dynamics’ various soloists helped the groups to hit a wide range of notes throughout the performance.

The Heightsmen followed with their rendition of Bobby Darin’s timeless “Beyond the Sea” featuring soloist Michael Lyons, MCAS ’21. Their second song, “If You Leave Me Now” by Charlie Puth and Boyz II Men, was a heartfelt ballad led by Patrick McGrath, CSOM ’20, that had the entire audience enraptured.

Up next was B.E.A.T.S., which sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the “black national anthem,” and “Have Mercy” by Eryn Allen Kane with soloist Rebecca Tschoe, CSON ’20. Tschoe performed with an effortless grace that was supported by her fellow B.E.A.T.S. members, who rounded out the chorus with background vocals.

The Sharps took the stage next with “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish, soloed by Bianca Tjoeng, MCAS ’22. Tjoeng was followed by “Alive” by Sia with soloist Ellie Falanga, MCAS ’23. The juxtaposition between Tjoeng’s emotional performance and Falanga’s confident tone showed the group’s wide range.

Against the Current sang “You Raise Me Up,” popularized by Josh Groban, and “Rise Up” by Andra Day with soloists Joon Park, MCAS ’21, and Ryan Lee, CSON ’20, respectively. Both soloists had great chemistry with their fellow group members.

The Acoustics began with a creative mashup of “Bellyache” and “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish with soloist Iggy Im, MCAS ’22. The group then showcased multiple soloists during a performance of “Genius” by Sia, Diplo, and Labrinth. They created beautiful harmonies that played off one another.

Second to last was the Common Tones with “Here Comes Goodbye” by Rascal Flatts and “Shotgun” by George Ezra. Soloists Brianne Lee, Lynch ’22 and Keenan McAuliffe, MCAS ’22 executed a crowd-enchanting performance that led to thunderous applause. 

Finally, The Bostonians closed the first round with “Higher Love” by Kygo and Whitney Houston and “Evergreen” by YEBBA. The group members had an effortless stage presence that conveyed their confidence and passion.

After each group performed two songs, the judges deliberated while audience members had the chance to vote for their fan favorite through Boston College Dance Marathon’s Instagram account. Robsham was packed to the brim as students entered votes for their favorite group. The judges of the night—John Finney, director of the University Chorale; Sebastian Bonaiuto, BC’s director of bands;  Emily Murphy, a professor in the music department; and Nova Wang, CSOM ’21– selected The Sharps and The Common Tones to progress onto the second round. The fan-picked favorite was The Acoustics. 

The Sharps sang a powerful rendition of “Somebody to Love” by Queen with dedicated dance moves and powerful high notes that had the audience clapping and cheering for the soloist, Lilly Higgins, MCAS ’20.

The Common Tones followed with a mashup of Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me” and Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love,” which featured solos from Daniela Poulat, Lynch ’20 and John Ross, Lynch ’23. The Acoustics closed the night with “September Song” by JP Cooper, a show-stopping song with powerful vocals by Tonye Ikoli, MCAS ’20.

At the end of the night, The Sharps became two-time Riff-Off winners, clinching first place. Yet all groups brought their best to the competition, and with Robsham packed full of enthusiastic audience members, the evening was a success for Boston College Dance Marathon.

Featured Image by Alexa Spitz / Heights Staff

January 20, 2020

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