An exhilarating atmosphere filled Bovard Auditorium on Monday night when six a cappella groups took the stage, captivating and enthralling a rapt audience for two hours.
This year, the All Hail A Cappella concert was hosted by the Troy Tones, who performed alongside other notable campus a cappella groups such as the USC Sirens, SoCal Vocals, The Trojan Men, Reverse Osmosis and Khoir Practice.
The concert was organized in an effort to showcase the very best of USC’s aural talent. By flaunting their unique characteristics, these six groups also hoped to attract raw talent for the new academic year.
Thompson Aplin and Brad Wergley from USC’s improv troop Commedus Interruptus served as the emcees for the evening. Aplin and Wergley succeeded in getting the audience pumped for the night of music ahead via entertaining, albeit unrelated, chants of “Panda Express.”
The first group to perform was Reverse Osmosis. With five albums under the group’s belt, its opening act did not disappoint. Beginning with an enthusiastic rendition of “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas, the group was clad in black costumes accented by blue trim. It easily transitioned into its second, more demure number: “I See You” by Leona Lewis, the theme to Avatar.
The grand finale for Reverse Osmosis was a mash-up of “Disturbia” by Rihanna, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics, “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton, “Crazy” by Britney Spears and the crowd favorite, “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” by the Backstreet Boys. The number was accompanied by Lady Gaga-inspired twitching and the victory sign woven into the choreography.
The ladies of the USC Sirens were next, starting with a soothing version of “Yesterday” by the Beatles. This was followed up by the empowering “Running Away” by Paul Haig and a dulcet finish with “What Can I Do?” by the Corrs.
The suited-up Trojan Men, looking to get the audience excited about the football season, began by ceremoniously stabbing the stage in the traditional Tommy Trojan fashion. Their opening number was a school-spirited mash-up of USC’s “Fight On” and “All Hail,” the university’s alma mater, which garnered much approval from the audience. A soulful version of Jon Laughlin’s “Human” was next, followed by an energetic performance of “Yes We Can Can” by the Pointer Sisters.
A stirring interpretation of “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia served as the introduction to the fun-loving Khoir Practice. The group incorporated some rather raunchy hip thrusts into its second song of “Afternoon Delight” by Starland Vocal Band before transitioning into a passionate performance of “Africa” by Toto to close the set.
The heavyweights of a cappella, the SoCal VoCals, followed. With two International Championship Collegiate A Cappella titles — and won as recently as April — the group took the stage dressed in black with Trojan-themed ties for the men. An animated performance of DJ Earworm’s “Summer Mash-up” borrowed signature phrases from a plethora of artists to make an entertaining first number.
The group continued with its haunting award-winning solo, “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday, which featured member Emily Goglia as the main voice. The VoCals also displayed their skills with their last song, a remix of “Tusk” by Fleetwood Mac and the USC alma mater.
The Troy Tones concluded the evening, delighting the audience by appearing onstage in outfits inspired by the cast of MTV’s Jersey Shore. They donned tight skirts, fluorescent tank tops and Snooki bumps while taking swigs from a vodka bottle and toting a sign that read “Will strip for shots.” The crew started with a fist-pumping version of “We Built This City” by Jefferson Starship, followed by “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood and “Downfall” by Matchbox Twenty.
All in all, at the end of the night, the groups proved that it doesn’t take an instrument to make music.