By Danny Contreras
The Central Connecticut A Cappella Society opened their concert season this past Wednesday night with their biannual Welcome Back Concert. Consisting of three performances by three different groups, the electrifying performance kept a lively crowd of over 100 people at Semesters excited throughout, with great renditions of classic and contemporary songs.
The Acabellas opened the performance with a lively interpretation of three Elvis Presley songs. The Acabellas are one of the founding groups of the CCSU A Cappella Society, which started back in 2005.
The group, coordinated in black and aqua, then sang “Life Could Be A Dream,” a doo-wop classic from the 1950s written by James Keyes and first performed by The Chords.
The rhythmic and lively group kept the crowd’s heads bopping and swaying, bringing an atmosphere of the lives of black and white and montages. Following was “Please Mr. Postman,” which kept a family-oriented feel, never straying away from a happy vibe and reminding us of simpler times.
Their performance concluded with Somebody to Love, a classic Queen song from the 1970s that brought warmth to a crowd that had just come inside from dreary, rainy weather.
The Acabellas were the first of two all-female groups in the A Cappella Society.
“The music we choose reflects the personality of the members,” said Darcy Lovell, a member of the Acabellas. Speaking about their track list, Lovell said, “We picked ones we really like, and ones the audience tends to really like. We pick ones that are kind of fun and upbeat, and that show a little bit of our style. We tend to go old school, more classic rock.”
The Acabellas plan to begin a new project this semester of including more contemporary tracks to add to their collection of classics. “The best of the best,” Lovell said.
Following the Acabellas was Divisi, another founding group of the society and CCSU’s only all-male group. The button-down shirted gentlemen sang very contemporary songs that went from pop to hip-hop. Their songs also included a lot of fast beat boxing and harmonies.
The chemistry among Divisi’s members clearly showed throughout the whole performance.
They opened their performance with a rendition of Maroon 5’s “Misery” that was very wholehearted and aggressive. Theirs was a good vibe, too, and the crowd enjoyed every second of it. The members interacted with the crowd by making a lot of eye contact.
Divisi truly set the atmosphere with Jason Mraz’s “Wordplay,” a song that included fast rapping and beat boxing. Their rendition included catchy choruses that never truly felt too contemporary, yet retained a real sense of meaning.
They quickly upped themselves with a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Grenade.” Andy Degan, the assistant director for Divisi, sang every line and hit every note along the way. Divisi’s simple choreography and hand movements made their performance very interactive and fun.
Divisi closed their set with an amazing interpretation of Katy Perry’s “Firework.” What made this song better than the rest was the presence of a fantastic and natural human voice that really showcased the lyrics. The arrangement uplifted and inspired the crowd that found themselves swaying and singing along.
Divisi concluded the last chorus by mimicking fireworks with their hands, a funny end to an incredible and engaging performance.
“We try to do a lot of contemporary stuff while trying to run the whole gambit,” said Degan, who is also vice president of the Central A Cappella Society. “You know, try to do some older stuff, some newer stuff, trying to reach out to all the audiences.”
In regards to the interaction between Divisi members and the audience, Degan commented, “It’s all part of the A Cappella atmosphere, it’s all improvised. The audience interacts with the performer.”
Divisi is planning a high-energy semester with many different shows coming up, including a competition with ECSU’s a cappella society. Degan took a moment to invite incoming freshman to tryout for Divisi, but also tryout for other clubs and activities the campus has to offer.
Last to perform was the newest group to the society, Too Good For Instruments (TGFI). The ladies wore black and pink skin-tight dresses and opened up with a powerful, dramatic song: “Mama Who Bore” from the musical Spring Awakening.
They set the atmosphere in the style of a gangster film, one could expect to be in Chicago in the 1920s and Al Capone’s men are coming in and shooting at you. The rain outside complimented their voices very well, and the crowd was mesmerized with every line.
They followed with a gut-wrenching rendition of “Fallin’,” a song that truly tore everyone’s heart out of their chest cavity. They turned up the heat with the feminist sympathetic song “King of Anything,” energizing the crowd as they led to the finale song, the burlesque classic “Lady Marmalade.”
The performance turned sensual and even more captivating as four lead singers performed the now classic Christina Aguilera, Maya, Missy Elliott, and Lil’ Kim song. They swayed around the stage, pointed to the crowd and interacted with lots of eye contact. They drew male audience members in, and also got a few of them in trouble with their girlfriends. By the end of the song, the whole crowd was left wanting more.
TGFI is the youngest group in the society, joining it just two years ago. They released an album this month called One Love, available online, and will also be competing in the aforementioned ECSU competition.
TGFI came in third in the International Collegiate Competition of A Cappella. Teresa Lewis, president of the society and member of TGFI, commented on the release of the album, saying that listeners can expect “exciting music.”
Explaining the versatility of the group, Lewis explained that their song choices “basically are a variety of music across many disciplines.” She described the night’s songs as powerful and exciting, and carefully chosen to excite the audience as well as members of the incoming freshmen class.
The overall performance gave the CCSU student body a quick glimpse of what the A Cappella Society has to offer. All three groups performed extremely well, each one has a unique specialty that truly brings out their talents.
The Central A Cappella Society is definitely one of the more exciting groups on campus at the moment, and I recommend all CCSU students join me in the audience at any of the group’s next performances.