The Back to Bates weekend-long event was filled with excitement as parents and alumni graced the campus with their presence. Formerly known as Parents Weekend, this hectic time of year is known for amazing weather, barbeques outside of Commons, overbooked hotels, the Dance Concert, and of course, the A Cappella Concert.
All six of Bates’ talented singing groups took the stage Friday night at 8:30 as the Gray Cage swelled with excited students and nervous parents. The venue opened with the spiritual and passionate tunes of the Gospelaires and ended with the ManOps showcasing their infectious charisma and humor. The Merimanders, Take Note, Deansmen, and the Crosstones filled everything in between with their own unique styles and harmonious renditions of classic songs. Each group has unique qualities unlike no other, which is what makes the Back to Bates A Cappella Concert so notable.
Preparing for a show of this magnitude (and this early in the year) is undoubtedly a stressful ordeal, but one that reaps rewards beyond comparison. Emma Schiller ’18 of the Merimanders commented, “The preparation was a bit hectic. We had two less weeks this year to prepare than last year, and last year felt super rushed. However, the leadership did a fantastic job making the transition seem effortless, and the new Meri-Babes did a phenomenal job of taking everything in stride and stepping up to the plate big time.”
Sarah Curtis ’18 also of the Merimanders added, “It was a bit stressful with more rehearsals than usual and little room for mistakes, but with everyone’s hard work and devotion to the group, we made it work and had a great time showing what we prepared.”
Since this concert is such a cherished Bates tradition for students, parents, and alums alike, the standards are naturally raised each year as the groups are expected to showcase the unprecedented talent they each behold. Schiller said, “We always hold ourselves to a high standard and we want to improve upon that each and every year. We want to be entertaining, of course, but we also want to be technical and push ourselves musically. It’s so gratifying to extend past our comfort zone, work hard to attain our goal, and then see all of our hard work come to fruition come concert time.”
Curtis commented, “The expectations from the group as a whole was for all of us to really prioritize a cappella, since sometimes putting a song together with different voices can be tougher than it seems with such little time.”
Other obstacles in preparing for this concert included “the small time frame for introducing our four new girls and learning all of the songs,” Schiller said. “But we did a spectacular job of buckling down and preparing everything to a level that we were proud to put on display this past weekend.”
Curtis agreed and stated, “I think our main barrier was the fact that parents’ weekend was a lot earlier this year, which put a damper on the process; but it was still fun and exhilarating nonetheless, which in my opinion bonded the group even more.”
Paige Ahlholm ’18 was one of the several audience members at the concert. She said, “It was clear that each of the groups worked so hard to put on a great show. Hearing about the rehearsal process from members of different groups got us all excited but also made us appreciate their talents even more knowing how much stress, dedication, and work went in to the show.”
As with any performance, the entertainment value for the audience is the number one priority. The concert successfully accomplished that goal as Curtis pointed out that, “I think that the audience really enjoyed the performance and I think the song selections contributed to a positive reaction.”
Schiller added to this reaction. “We had a fantastic time performing, and after hearing some feedback and watching the videos back, the audience seemed to really love it. Also, besides our own set, I think every group came out firing this year so the audience definitely had a lot to be excited about!”