With families and friends galore, the weekend of Harvestfest at Connecticut College was, as usual, a big hit. To kick off the activities, the ever so popular and loved a cappella groups at Conn performed on Friday night, Oct. 9. The weather outside was rainy, and lightning lit up the windows in Harkness Chapel, but nobody was deterred from seeing the seasoned veterans of a cappella show their shiny new members the ropes.
All seven a cappella groups had held a collaborative performance in September when students first arrived on campus to promote their groups prior to auditions. They each sang two songs and followed the performance by swarming the doorways to urge anyone and everyone to try out for a cappella – and their group in particular. After weeks of grueling auditions, callbacks and ultimately decisions, all seven a cappella groups are now happily complete with their new talent. The time and dedication of each member clearly paid off based on the groups’ debut showing during Fall Weekend, when they took the time to show off their latest additions.
With two different performances at 7:30 pm and 9 pm, Harkness Chapel was abuzz beginning around 6:30 that night. People were hurrying up to the ticket table in hopes of snagging an extra seat that may have become available at the last minute. As one might expect, these openings were infrequent, and people were told that each performance had been sold out for about a week. Tickets were sold on the Connecticut College website for people coming from off campus, and members of the a cappella groups were allowed to reserve seats for their family members. The families and friends of the singers had front row seats to enjoy the delightful crooning up close and personal.
In the crowded Chapel where people were struggling to squeeze in between each other to hear the groups perform, the first group excitedly ran out on stage promptly at 7:35. Vox Cameli, one of the three coed groups, kicked off the night with what they called their “F Medley,” in which they mashed together various theme songs from shows like Friends, The Flintstones and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This upbeat number resonated with the crowd right off the bat, as did the variety of turtlenecks that made the group appearance uniform. Every group had its own style of matching outfit, including colorful flannels for the Williams Street Mix and white shirts with jeans for the Shwiffs. Each group performed two songs. The second for Vox Cameli was “Samson” by Regina Spektor, before which they took a moment to introduce their additions. They were proud to announce their three new members, AJ Boyce ’17, Micaela Zebroski ’19 and Truly Siskind-Weiss ’19.
Some groups, like the Shwiffs, who performed second during the concert, had a special way of highlighting their newbies. As they hurried out onto the stage, each of their four new members had a pink balloon with the words “It’s a girl!” attached to their wrists. One of the newest members of the Shwiffs, Katherine Cook ’19, explained, “There is such a supportive and happy group dynamic within the Shwiffs.” This was her first performance in front of such a large crowd of people, which was the case for many of the fresh, new faces of a cappella. She went on to say that she was “nervous and excited” for the first performance and had a lot of support from the other girls who already had a few shows under their belt. The Shwiffs sang “Brighter than the Sun” by Colbie Callait and “No Lion” by Boom Forest, while also debuting new members Hannah Pozen ’19, Margaret Corcoran ’19, Katherine Cook ’19, and Noelle Gauthier ’19.
Following the Shwiffs, the second of the three all-female a cappella groups, Miss Connduct performed “1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White T’s, while highlighting their new members, Melissa Robie ’19, Mari Giaimo ’19 and Holly Bertschmann ’19. They followed this tune with a crowd favorite, “Take me to Church” by Hozier. The Conn Artists were next to perform and took the stage by first singing “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap. Their four newest members, George Grotheer ’19, Julia Fife ’19, Julia Tackett ’18 and Caroline Smith ’18, were each featured and introduced before their next song, “Bravado” by Lorde.
The last of the three all-female a cappella groups was next to perform. The ConnChords began with the song “Of Children” by Sweet Honey on the Rock, in which they featured their three fresh faces Becca Nash ’19, Emily Ehler ’19 and Abby Lown ’19. They happily crooned to the crowd and continued with “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac. The final group to perform was the Williams Street Mix, who began with the song “The Longest Time,” by Billy Joel. Their newest members, Connor Gowland ’18, Colin Archer ’19 and Rachel Glasser ’19 were all introduced as they continued on to their second and last song of the evening, “Keep on Tryin” by Poco. One of the new members, Gowland, reflected on the night saying, “it was nerve-wracking since my group decided to give all the newbies solos, but it was really fun.” The Williams Street Mix happily thanked the crowd and families for being there and sincerely hoped that everyone enjoyed the show.
The seventh and only all male group, CoCo Beaux, was unable to perform. The group looks forward to welcoming its five new members, Jermaine Doris ’19, Dan Hayes ’19, Charlie Losiewicz ’19, Alex Medzorian ’19 and Tim Flannery ’15, at a future performance.
Crowds of families and students flooded out of the Chapel where they were met by a cappella groups urging them to purchase their CDs. Some groups, like the ConnChords, sold their CDs under the tent at Harvestfest, which included favorite tunes like “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac and “Arms” by Christina Perri.
It would be an understatement to say that the first a cappella performance of the year was a hit. Families and friends were happy to welcome new a cappella members and celebrate those who are back for another year or two. The a cappella culture on campus gives Conn a little something extra that everyone can enjoy. Gowland recalls, “All the groups came together and I really enjoyed the feeling of an a cappella community, rather than all the individual groups.” Those of you who have not gone out to see a cappella yet, fear not, because many performances will be coming up. Stay on the lookout for your opportunity to enjoy the incredible talent of your classmates and friends. •