Student singing groups shine without instruments
Itâs no wonder USC only holds one joint a cappella performance a year: Unleashing so much talent under one roof can be a little dangerous.
This yearâs All Hail A Cappella concert, organized by USC a cappella group Reverse Osmosis and featuring other on-campus groups such as the Sirens, Trojan Men, Kosher Pig, SoCal Vocals and Troy Tones was a wild, explosive display of vocal talent â adjectives meant, of course, in the very best way.
Such a vibrant and energetic celebration of the human voice has come to be expected from the yearly fall show, which allows USCâs six a cappella groups to show off their distinctive personalities and appeal to prospective members.
A long line of excited fans and a cappella enthusiasts formed outside Bovard Auditorium early Monday night in anticipation for the concert. The crowd was rewarded for its patience with 90 minutes of nonstop (excluding a short intermission) vocal acrobatics, entertaining choreography and spine-tingling harmonies.
The Sirens, USCâs only all-female a cappella group, opened the evening with none other than the queen of pop: Britney Spears. The ladies performed an energetic rendition of âCircus,â creatively blended with another Spears number, âIf You Seek Amy.â The group also performed soulful versions of Tom Cochraneâs âLife is a Highwayâ and John Hiattâs âHave a Little Faith in Me.â
In true yin-yang fashion, the Trojan Men, USCâs only male a cappella group, followed the Sirens. Always a crowd pleaser, the group was welcomed by an outburst of whooping and hollering from the audience (mostly high-pitched).
The screams escalated to dizzying decibels as the group performed its highly entertaining, brilliantly choreographed (crotch grabs and all) rendition of Michael Jacksonâs âP.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).â The men then slowed things down with their second song and concert staple, Etta Jamesâ âAt Last,â after which they picked up the pace again with its fun, energetic set closer, âVehicleâ by The Ides of March.
Kosher Pig, the newest member to USCâs a cappella family, took the stage next in bubblegum-pink Converse sneakers and metallic â80s gear. The group established its funky personality in choreographed performances of the Beach Boysâ âI Get Aroundâ and Jason Mrazâs âYou And I.â A humorous medley featuring songs such as Starland Vocal Bandâs âAfternoon Delightâ and T.I.âs âLive Your Life,â spiced up with a beatboxing solo by sophomore Gabe DaMast, closed the set.
A short intermission paved the way for the SoCal Vocals, USCâs oldest co-ed a cappella group. The group, dressed in black concert attire (with cardinal-and-gold ties for the men), started the second half of the night with a pulsating performance of Basement Jaxxâs âGood Luck,â featuring the impressive pipes of junior Rachel Saltzman. The SoCal Vocals also performed Peter Gabrielâs âDown to Earthâ from Wall Â· E and the groupâs iconic arrangement of USCâs alma mater.
After the SoCal Vocals, the men and women of Troy Tones â famous for its outrageous costumes â stumbled onto the stage feigning hangovers, clutching bottles of alcohol and wearing the stained remnants of âlast night.â The act was almost believable â that is until they burst out in pitch-perfect harmony.
The group performed spot-on renditions of Cutting Crewâs â(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonightâ and Matchbox Twentyâs âDownfall,â but the highlight of its set was an adorable rendition of âKiss the Girlâ from The Little Mermaid.
Reverse Osmosis closed the jam-packed night with three flawless performances. The groupâs soaring harmonies took Kansasâ âCarry On My Wayward Sonâ to a new level; its slowed-down version of Coldplayâs âFix Youâ was pure and moving; and a schizophrenic-but-splendid pop medley featuring Rihanna, Backstreet Boys and Toni Braxton had audience members dancing in their seats.
All Hail A Cappella 2009 was an occasionally outrageous, constantly impressive showcase of student talent that could have only been improved with a few more songs (and, for loyal fans who have heard most of it before, a few more new songs). Overall, the concert served its purpose to a T, displaying the groupsâ unique personalities, showcasing some major singing chops and inspiring singers in the audience to join USCâs a cappella family.
All six groups will be holding auditions Wednesday from 6:30-11 p.m. in Taper Hall. Auditions may vary slightly, but singers are advised to prepare a verse and chorus from a song of their choice.