Boston University hosted their annual a cappella concert in the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium on Friday to benefit Franciscan Children’s.
A cappella, which means “in the manner of the chapel,” was a term first used to describe church music composed for unaccompanied voices, but now refers to any vocal music performed without instruments.
The BU Treblemakers organized the event and all 12 BU a cappella groups performed. The event raised more than $1,000 for Franciscan Children’s, who have had a 49-year-long and continuing partnership with the BU community.
“The money goes to the therapeutic needs of the children to help every child live to their full potential,” said Chantal Brandimarte, the event manager of Franciscan Children’s.
The hosts also hoped the event would provide remedy to some that were disappointed by the outcome of the 2016 presidential race. This statement was met with approval by many of the audience members.
However, students were there for other reasons, as well. Austin Lent (ENG ’17) said, “I came to support my friends and I like to watch the a cappella shows.”
A coed group formed in 1996, the Treblemakers are known for their diverse repertoire and energetic performances. They write original arrangements of music by Michelle Branch, Queen, Coldplay, and other artists.
One group, Aural Fixation, dubbed “the sassiest group on campus” by one of the hosts, sang an eerie but powerful cover of Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” and Little Mix’s “Little Me,” where the lead singer’s voice soared over the just-as-dominant background vocals, filling the room with dark energy and sound.
One special group is Kol Echad, a Jewish a cappella group that has been singing on BU’s campus for 22 years. The group only covered Hebrew songs until about two years ago when they started incorporating pop songs into their sets. Six hours of practice a week goes into their arrangements, and at the benefit concert, they opened their set by singing in another language, then showed their diversity with mash ups of “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics and “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga.
The Sweethearts, one of many all-female groups on campus, just released their new album, “Sforzando.” Available on Spotify, the album is a collection of covers, including songs such as “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. They sang upbeat songs like “Champagne Problems” by Nick Jonas and “Greedy” by Ariana Grande.
The Allegrettos, a coed a cappella group, have their own YouTube channel. At the showcase, they performed songs with emotion and soul, like Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” and a passionate cover of “Right Here (Departed)” by Brandy.
The next group, The Dear Abbeys, the only all-male a cappella group on campus, provided the audience with another Ariana Grande cover, this time of “Dangerous Woman.” The lead singer wore a bunny mask to mimic Grande’s album cover. They contrasted the pop performance with a version of George Jones’ “Tennessee Whiskey.”
The next a cappella group to perform brought an entirely different type of mash up. In recent years, there have been creative versions of Western music that mix well the music of Asia. Suno, a word in Hindi meaning listen, is also the name of the all-Indian group that provided a cohesive cover of Bollywood and Western music such as “Bang Bang” from the movie with the same name and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
Joanna Wagner of Terpsichore, Boston University’s oldest all-female a cappella group since 1989, said “Night of BU A Cappella is one of the most important a cappella events on campus, and being able to come together with the entire BU A Cappella community and raise money for a great cause is an incredible opportunity.”
The other a cappella groups not listed here are In Achord, BU’s oldest co-ed a cappella group; BosTones, 2016 ICCA Northeast Semifinal Champions; Chordially Yours, a sassy all-female group formed in 1994; and Mustard Seed, a Christian a cappella group.
Whatever you like to sing or listen to, BU’s a cappella scene has it covered.
Featured image from pexels.com.