Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Cappella Season

For most college students, the last week of classes for the semester is a time of stress, exhaustion, and anticipation to go home - my congrats if only the last of those three applies to you. But at SMC, approximately Thursday of that week through Sunday of finals week is also home to a wonderful part of campus... a cappella concerts! We have four lovely groups that call Saint Mike's home - each of them with their own style and their own concert. I thought I would give you a rundown of who's who in the SMC a cappella world. 

McCarthy Recital Hall - where all the magic happens
In order of their concerts...

Sleepless Knights (@thesleeplessknights)
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this concert - I was actually at a food/movie night with one of my classes! But I did make one Sleepless Knights performance this semester; they did a collaborative concert with UConn's a cappella group Extreme Measures. That was a dynamic experience. 

Sleepless Knights is one of our two mixed a cappella groups on campus. Some things you can always count on: their duets will always be perfectly in sync, and their harmonies will never miss a beat. 

Mike Check (@mikechecksmc)
You know a Mike Check concert is coming when they start singing everywhere. What better self- advertising is there than singing your way around campus? From an SMC dorm life perspective, few things are as cool as being able to push up your window and hear live music from the quad below. 

Our all-men a cappella group, Mike Check is always unpredictable, always entertaining, and always a good show. Case in point: among the features of their concert this year were a poetry slam, a Christmas medley, and some very unique dance moves. 

My two favorite songs from their concert: "Oh Shenandoah," because the harmonies are beautiful, and "God Only Knows," because I'm a Beach Boys person (and the harmonies are wonderful). 

Of course, I do have to give a shout-out to my fellow POW alum, Owen Freeman. Awesome job with "Wagon Wheel!"

Acabellas (@acabellas_smc)
The Acabellas are our beautiful ladies' acapella group! They do an awesome job at showcasing everyone's voices by having an eclectic variety of songs, from Sia's "Chandelier" to Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" (from the 2013 Hobbit movie). My favorite song from this semester's concert? "Telescope," by Hayden Panettiere. To add another genre, a classic Acabellas song is Ingrid Michaelson's "The Chain." The Acabellas cover a lot of musical styles, and they cover them all well.

I must confess that I pay a little more attention to the Acabellas, because my wonderful friend and floormate Meghan is a proud member. For that reason, I can say that although the Acabellas do not have a beatboxer like the previous two groups, you would never notice - they are always in time and their singing is purely enchanting.

Soulful Harmony
Soulful Harmony is the other mixed a cappella group at Saint Mike's. For some reason, McCarthy was not as packed for Soulful Harmony - I have absolutely no idea why. With a smooth 50s-60s vibe, that 2pm concert the Sunday of finals week was a moment of calm before the week became chaotic. 

As the name might suggest, the group's best feature is their pitch perfect (see what I did there?) harmonies that stayed perfectly in tune the entire concert through a number of chord progressions. My favorite song of theirs, for that and other reasons, was James Taylor's "That Lonesome Road." 

Soulful Harmony had a slightly shorter concert than the other three groups - but considering their performance time slot was during finals week and not before, that's not exactly a bad thing. Especially if you consider quality over quantity.

Snowy campus pictures make good section breaks.
As you could tell, I give rather high reviews. I love a cappella music, and as someone who has sung in groups and played instruments, I have a lot of respect for what these singers do. They work extremely hard, and it shows; the least I can do is watch them perform and rave about them afterwards. 

This will most likely be my last post until classes resume in January - tragic, I know. I may post about break, I may not; we'll see. But regardless, enjoy the holidays, however you choose to spend them, and may your year end on a high note.*


*Couldn't help one last music reference!

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