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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

A wild, wild party at Chums

Published: October 8, 2010
Section: Arts, Etc.

Getting wild: A cappella groups had average to amazing performances at the preview of the musical ‘The Wild Party.’PHOTO BY Ingrid Schulte/The Hoot

The Wild Party Coffeehouse previewed the upcoming student musical and its cast through performances by the various a cappella groups the cast members are involved with. This was an important night for a cappella in that it was the first time new recruits of the groups performed on campus, so many of the “newbie” initiation rituals were a part of the show.

Having arrived at 10:30 p.m., I missed the first half of the performances. The first a cappella group that I saw was Company B, a co-ed group consisting of five females and six males (including one mysteriously in a bathrobe). Their opening song was “Woodstock” by Joni Mitchell, featuring a new member. The solo was a bit shaky, but it built momentum in time and resulted in a very good performance, the female harmonies working well against the male percussive vocals. A large part of the Company B’s charm is their stage presence, something that shined through for the song “Love Will Keep Us Together” by The Captain and Tenille. With a very fresh and sultry solo from Company B president Janel Rabbani ’11, combined with charismatic motions from the backing harmonies, “Love Will Keep Us Together” was undoubtedly the highlight of their set. Other songs performed included “Abracadabra” by Steve Miller and “Can’t Satisfy Me” by Brother Cane. The group closed their set with their namesake song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews’ Sisters. Between each song was a piece for one of the three newbies. The first was for newbie Johanna as two of the Company B members sang an altered version of the song “Johanna” from “Sweeney Todd” for her. The second was a humorous haiku and rap involving the words “yarmulke flare,” and the third was a spoken word poem. Overall, Company B’s set was very lively and endearing, a mix of great vocals and an alluring presence.

The second a cappella group I saw that night was Starving Artists, another co-ed group with 13 performers in black shirts and one in a green shirt. The green shirt was another newbie ritual as Starving Artists got the crowded coffeehouse to whoop and yell at the newbie as he took off his green shirt, revealing a black shirt underneath. Their set opened with “Misery Business” by Paramore, which was an apprehensive start, but was quickly redeemed by the next song, “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. Though a difficult song to cover because of its somber subject content, the soloist Jordan Brown’s ’12 performance was moving, backed by a beautiful arrangement of harmonies. Following a cover of “Everybody’s Fool” by Evanescence with a strong, confident solo but lacking able harmonies, they performed “Wanted” by Jessie James with a solo from Sarit Friedman ’12. Though the solo was a bit quiet, the back harmonies followed suit and allowed Friedman’s voice to shine through. Their last song was “Falling” as made popular by Alicia Keys. With another strong solo and great arrangement, their version exceeded the Alicia Keys version. Starving Artists’ set overall fluctuated from average to really amazing performances.

The night closed with members of The Wild Party cast performing the title song “A Wild, Wild Party.” Hearing the accompanying keyboard, the first instrument all night, was a definite shock to the system, but the effect was spectacular. The flamboyant cast introduced the scene as the first chapter of the Bible featuring Adam and Eve. The song depicted Eve eating the forbidden fruit and segueing into a “wild, wild party.” The song was loud, fast and jazzy and had the audience clapping in beat to the song. The cast had a spectacular performance,and this was just a preview of what is to come.