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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students sing for charity at annual a cappella fest

Published: April 26, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc.

Starving Artists’ A Cappella Fest made its 14th annual return this past Thursday night in Sherman Function Hall. The show, a charity event, will donate its proceeds to The Greater Waltham Arc, an agency that provides services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Featuring 11 Brandeis groups and one Lexington High School group, Sherman Function Hall was filled, although more with performers than attendees. Although there was a small crowd, the event presented a nice showcase of the vocal talent at Brandeis.

To begin the night, all the groups came together to sing John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The song was a tribute to the recent events in Boston, dedicated to those who lost their lives. The MCs, two members of Starving Artists, began the event, stating, “Today, we all come together to sing, ‘Imagine,’ and hope for peace and harmony in Boston, especially in light of the recent tragedies at the Marathon and in Watertown.” While the decision to perform this song was made with good intentions, the constant reshuffling of soloists broke up the flow of the song.

The MCs added little to the event, presenting random “did you know?” facts about each of the a cappella groups. While it is understandable that Starving Artists wanted to fill the time gap between groups with some form of entertainment, elevator music would have sufficed and been less awkward.

Starving Artists opened the night with a medley, including hit songs such as Neon Trees’ “Animal,” and Fun.’s “We Are Young.” The medley was well constructed and produced, providing a great opener to the evening. The performance captured the attention of the audience, despite the extremely loud sound system that persisted for the entire first act.

By far the most memorable performance of the night was Company B’s rendition of “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Debuting the song for the first time, Company B’s Sarah Brodsky blew the audience away with her amazing voice. Everyone in the audience got into the song, bobbing their heads, dancing in their seats and clapping. Even Dean Flagel was bopping away.

Rather Be Giraffe’s medley was another exciting piece of the show. The medley, which included “Any Way You Want It,” “Hit me with your Best Shot,” “Ghostbusters” and many other songs, featured solo performances from every member of the group. It was refreshing to see all of the group’s members have their talents showcased as it seemed that many of the members of other a capella groups were lost in the background if they did not have solos.

Jewish Fella A Cappella added a touch of comic relief by highlighting the fact that they had an Asian member of their group, Felix Liu Ku. Sporting a yarmulke, Felix brought laughs to all in the crowd.

VoiceMale and Ba’Note cleverly incorporated dance moves and theatricality into their performances, adding another element to the show beyond just singing. VoiceMale, a four-man group, invoked images of a traditional barbershop quartet with their blocking and dancing. Ba’Note incorporated an element of interpretative dancing to their performance, acting out many of the words in Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” Two of their members also mock-proposed to members of the audience at the conclusion of their performance of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You,” bringing smiles and laughter to everyone.

It must be noted that Lexington High School’s Pitchpipes reawakened the audience with their enthusiastic performance of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” and a Mumford and Sons medley. As the second to last performance approached, much of the audience was beginning to fade, yet this all-male group’s booming voices caught everyone’s attention. Their unique dance moves that included stomping and kicking added a creative touch to their performance.

To close the event, Starving Artists performed again with Demi Lovato’s “Lightweight” and 90s hit “Waterfalls” by TLC. After the lengthy show, the group’s encore performance struck many as unnecessary. The audience quickly filtered out after these performances, with few closing notes from the MCs and seemingly little regard to the organization for which the concert was dedicated.