Bailey Hall was all abuzz Saturday night for the Sixth Annual A Cappella United concert. Featuring all the 12 prominent a cappella groups on campus and donating all proceeds to the United Way of Tompkins County, the concert attracted students and parents alike to cheer on friends, their favorite groups or to just enjoy their favorite top 40 hits in one place. Surely, some even came to check off #94 on the 161 Things list: go to an a cappella concert. And what better way to check it off the list than going to A Cappella United? Not only are you enjoying some of Cornell’s finest singing some great songs, but you are also servicing the greater community. Knowing that, there’s a warm feeling that stirs up inside — or it could be all of those shots from your pregame. Yes, it is customary to find a slew of inebriated students at an a cappella concert; they are easy to locate. They cheer their friends the loudest or sometimes believe that they are part of the show and dance and sing along in their seats. One way or another, you’re bound to be entertained.
But let’s get back to the performances of the night. Hearsay, The Class Notes, Last Call, The Key Elements, The Hangovers, The Chordials and Nothing But Treble all comprised Act One. Hearsay started off the concert with Jet’s rocking staple “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” followed by a slower song to finish the set. The Class Notes definitely brought class. Their vocals all coalesced together smoothly and their lead vocalist was flawless on Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” Last Call brought the energy and entertainment with “Stereo Hearts” and “Keep Your Hands To Yourself.” Even with a slip-up on “Stereo Hearts,” the group prevailed and pulled off a lively and fantastic set, leaving the stage with hearty applause and whistles. Another crowd favorite was The Hangovers’ original “You Got a C” to the tune of “Under the Sea.” It is certainly an experience that most students can relate to, and a Disney tune pleases the kid in all of us — childhood memories with a side of self-deprecation proved a winning combo.
Then, the Chordials came on with a lukewarm take on “The Cave.” They captured the crowd with their following song, led by an amazing performance by their second soloist who sang beautifully with so much soul. The closing of Act One with Nothing but Treble was also lackluster. Their rendition of Heart’s “Alone” was great, but their added vocalist during the chorus detracted from the overall song instead of enhancing it. Yet overall, Act One was made up of several solid performances, keeping the excitement high for the second act.
Unfortunately, Act Two failed to deliver on that level. Act Two was made up of groups After Eight, The Touchtones, Absolute, CallbaXX and Cayuga’s Waiters. Both After Eight and The Touchtones struggled with one of the songs in their sets but still managed to bring it together. Absolute had a weak performance to Monica’s “Angel of Mine” and lacked a strong group dynamic that is usually shared by the groups. The CallbaXX’s version of Sara Bareilles’ “Gonna Get Over You” was commendable, except the mic was a little too close during the high notes. The pitch was just a little too loud for comfort, hurting some listeners’ ears. And lastly, Cayuga’s Waiters closed the show with two of its own songs, including a wonderful rendition of Dave Matthews’ “Grey Street.” Their vocals and charisma helped end the show on a high note once more.
Even with a few mishaps here and there, all of the groups performing did an excellent job bringing relevant music to a new light. Their impressive talents in beat-boxing and creating the music themselves on stage without instruments also deserves its own praise. It cannot be easy to create the background music just right, as they do, that makes one feel as if he or she is listening to the original song. It is also equally impressive that the groups were able to include their newest members as well, considering the short time period from auditions to this first, all-out performance. Nerves were certainly present, but never did a group look completely out of its element. In other words, if you didn’t make it to A Cappella United this year, I would definitely suggest not missing out again next year. Everyone needs to find that one Cornell a cappella group to follow and root for. Oh, and don’t forget: You come for the music and stay for the hilarious antics of fellow audience audience members.