They aren’t your average shower singing, karaoke hobbyists. As a self-proclaimed professional car singer (only whilst driving alone of course), I can confidently say that the a cappella groups on campus never fail to produce incredibly successful concerts full of creativity, tangible dedication and outstanding talent. They did this for the first time in the 2016-17 school year on September 6th for the annual Puddle Concert, closing Orientation Week and kicking off the semester on a high note, like higher than the top of sop. 1’s range.
As a majority of the Bates student body crowded into the amphitheater next to the Puddle, the anticipation was rising. The lights were hot, the mics were ready to go and people were still running into friends they haven’t seen all summer as the concert started.
The Gospelaires immediately took the stage and performed two powerful songs sending their love up above. Their contagious joy and spirit definitely spread to the crowd, creating the perfect atmosphere for the rest of the concert. They were followed by the other five a cappella groups – Merimanders, Crosstones, Deansmen, TakeNote and the Man Ops – all of which brought back some crowd favorites, including “Mercy” by the Crosstones and a mashup of “As Long as You Love Me” and “Wide Awake” by the Merimanders.
As a staple of orientation, the Puddle Concert didn’t require any second thoughts by Allison Berman ’18 who served as the Orientation Coordinator this year. “The concert is a great way for the a capella groups to recruit and show the first years what they are all about, so it wasn’t difficult to corral all of the groups and get them ready to perform. Many of the groups reached out to me before I had even started the planning and really wanted to make sure they were a part of the event.”
Overall, Berman was very pleased with the way the concert turned out. She said, “Everyone was happy to be there and listen to the great music as a momentary escape from the fact that classes started the next day. It was the perfect way to get back on campus and readjust to the community.” She certainly agreed that the energy was contagious.
Maddie McLean ’17, Musical Director for the Crosstones, particularly liked how each grouped really showed their personalities at the concert. This is such an important thing for prospective members to get a glimpse of when they choose what group to be in. She said, “I thought this year everyone definitely brought their A game. Even though groups were smaller, they all still found ways to show their best self.”
Audrey Burns ’17, Musical Director for the Merimanders, agreed with McLean. “I absolutely adored this year’s Puddle Concert. I think all the groups are in an amazing place, and that this is going to be an incredibly strong, positive and exciting year in a cappella.”
After losing the seniors last year, each group is excited to grow and change their sound with the new voices they hope to get at auditions. McLean said, “It’s always hard to have seniors leave and start a new year without those voices.” Nevertheless, she felt the concert was still successful and low-stress.
After losing only one senior last year, the Merimanders felt comfortable at the Puddle Concert since their group remained pretty consistent. Burns said that losing this one senior “meant that we could start off the year in a strong and confident position.”
After receiving a permanent adrenaline rush from the Puddle Concert, each group is excited to see what this year has to offer and they all have several goals along the way. The Crosstones are currently in the process of releasing a new CD for the Back to Bates Weekend.
For the Merimanders, Burns said, “We want this year to be big. We want to consistently turn out new songs featuring intricate and exciting arrangements and feel we’re growing as a group musically. But ultimately we want to continue having fun being together.”