In the midst of the aptly-timed snow during Thursday’s Winter Carnival activities, Batesies gathered in Alumni Gym to attend the all-group a cappella concert.
“It’s always been a part of Winter Carnival as far as I can remember,” said senior Merimander Caroline Cook, “But I remember once in my freshman year when it was in Olin.”
Overall, the concert delivered some new and exciting songs as well as old and familiar favorites to an eager, if not partially frozen, audience.
The first group to hit the gym floor was the Crosstones, who began with a beautiful arrangement of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. Although this has been done by the Crosstones before, the dynamics throughout this arrangement are what made the performance truly memorable. It felt almost dreamlike to listen to with its moments of intensity and levity.
Their next song was “Lights” by Ellie Goulding, featuring first-year soloist Kelsey Berry. Berry looked comfortable in front of the microphone and gave a powerful performance, and the group’s energy and smiles only highlighted this.
The next group to follow was the Deansmen, who launched immediately into “Barrett’s Privateer’s” by Stan Rogers. Its unconventional format, short “speak-sing” solos by various Deansmen, and fun subject matter sparked smiles and laughs throughout the space.
Their second song was “River of Dreams” by Billy Joel, with a leading solo by junior Matt Record. Although the Deansmen have done this before, the additional choreography, enthusiasm, and the soloist’s performance gave this classic a new twist.
While the Deansmen are usually the most choreography-intensive of the groups, Deansmen sophomore Nick Auer notes that the other groups are, “Definitely upping the ante with new choreography. It’s great to hear new songs [from other groups] as well!”
Up next were the Merimanders, who began with “Happy Ending” by Mikam with junior Ali Millard and sophomore Laura Franke leading with solos. The soloists’ voices beautifully contrasted with each other and united in a great ending, and the song was overall light and sweet.
The Merimanders’ second song, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (a Man after Midnight)” by ABBA, was definitely the stronger of the two, providing a stark but welcome contrast. This piece included much more choreography and enthusiasm, with a killer solo by senior Caroline Cook, who truly owned the spotlight with her confidence and strong voice.
Following the Merimanders was TakeNote, who began their set with “Some Nights” by Fun. Take Note first performed this piece at the Parents’ Weekend concert this October, but sophomore soloist Ben Merkert, who had not performed the solo in October, made the song engaging and refreshing nonetheless. Merkert’s performance was not only charming and fun, but it was also a great complement to the song overall.
TakeNote also delivered a new song, “Ass Back Home” by Gym Class Heroes, with first-year soloists Emily Baumgarten and Colin McEntire leading. TakeNote did such a good job with energy and dynamic movement that they were not just a group of people singing, but true performers with enhanced theatricality.
To conclude the concert, the Manic Optimists delivered “Inside of You” by Infant Sorrow (a fictional rock band from Forgetting Sarah Marshall). As expected, the song’s sexual innuendos got the girls in the audience blushing and giggling in muffled squeals. The song that got worthy attention, however, was their final song, “I Can’t Lie” by Maroon 5, featuring sophomore soloist Cody Tracey. Tracey’s clean and overpowering execution of the solo was that of true vocal mastery, and was arguably the best solo of the night.
Predicably, the concert was a fun and relaxed mix of new and old songs from all of the groups. First-year Man-Op Jonah Greenawalt shared a similar sentiment, saying that while the Man Ops, “Didn’t present any new songs, it’s nice to revamp some of the old songs. I’m proud that we stuck with [old songs] because there’s always room to improve, and we all gave a fresh show.”