Family Weekend A Capella Performance Showcases Student Talent
Issue   |   Tue, 11/07/2017 - 23:21
Olivia Luntz '21
The show was bittersweet for senior a capella members, but for others it was the first time their families had seen them perform on family weekend.

A hush falls across Johnson Chapel just before Route 9’s, one of the college’s all male a capella groups, Nico Langlois ’21 belts out the final high note of “For the Longest Time.” The packed chapel then bursts into a deafening roar of applause, hollers and whistles — noise coming from every row of seats.

With six a cappella groups performing at the family weekend showcase, the consensus of those present was that this year’s event was one of the best showcases yet.

“I thought the show went really well this year,” remarked Jacob Colman, a senior on Zumbyes, another all-male a capella group. “It was well-attended by both students and family members, and the audience was receptive and energetic. It felt like the groups and the audience were all having a ton of fun.”

Audience member Eunice Daudu ’21 said that she enjoyed the Zumbyes’ “fancy footwork” — especially during their performance of “Footloose,” when the singers danced their way into the audience.

Whitney Bruno ’21 added that she enjoyed how each of the groups had their “own individual, enjoyable style that made them stand apart from each other.” Members of the a cappella groups themselves also enjoyed the unique opportunity to hear the other groups perform.

Sebastian Son ’21 from DQ, one of the co-ed groups, stated that his favorite part of the showcase was hearing the music of the five other groups. “I hadn’t realized how much talent we have at the school, and it really blew my mind to connect some of the faces I see to the voices I heard,” Son said.

Brigham Snow ’18, Route 9’s director, noted that “All six groups showed what makes them unique, and everything from the choreography to the solos was fantastic.”

Terras Irradient, the religious co-ed group, performed, “Shackles (Praise You)” a highlight of the showcase. Although the group only had nine members, they were able to fill the chapel just as well as the groups who had double the number of singers. The group gave a great performance with coordinated choreography. Further, Sabrinas’ member Krista Goebel ’18 added that the “blend [of their voices] was absolutely beautiful and they sang with so much emotion! The song keeps getting stuck in my head.”

The Sabrinas, one of the all-female groups, performed of the “Work Song” which was not as happy and upbeat as most of the other songs in the showcase, but soloist Evan Paul ’18 gave an amazingly powerful and emotional performance that left me in awe.

The Zumbyes’ entrance to the stage was also a memorable part of the show, with the members (one in a banana costume) running down the aisles of the Chapel screaming before jumping onto the stage. The Zumbyes performance of “All Night Long” was also one of the performance’s hits, with great dancing and an amazing solo by Wes Combs ’21.

Route 9’s energetic performance of Shawn Mendes’ “Nothing’s Holding Me Back” was another stunning performance, especially the dynamic that Langlois and Shaw had with one another while singing the duet.

A Bluestockings, another all female group, performer, Kaitlyn Tsuyuki ’18 had a solo in “I Know I’m Not the Only One,” which brought forth an amazing reaction from the audience.

Tsuyuki remarked that this performance was special for her as it was her “last Family Weekend show, and not only was my mom in the audience, but it was also her birthday.” Before Tsuyuki started her solo, she shouted “Happy birthday, Mom!” and reflected that she “couldn’t imagine a more special way for things to have gone.”

However, along with being special, the concert was also bittersweet for the senior singers. Tsuyuki notes that the concert “really brought home the feeling that it’s the beginning of the end of my time at Amherst.” Fellow senior Goebel added that she’s going to miss singing and the community the a cappella groups create next year.

“While everyone can tell how much fun the actual show is, what the audience doesn’t know is that behind the scenes is also a blast,” Goebel said. “After a group performs, they get so many high fives as they navigate down the narrow, winding stairway of Johnston Chapel. I’m going to miss this!”

Krista’s dad, Ed Goebel, added that this showcase was the “most enjoyable experience so far over four years coming to the a cappella performances.” Overall, the family weekend a cappella showcase was an amazing demonstration of the talent, creativity and spirit at the college, leaving parents laughing at and singing their favorite songs all the way home.