Beyond Unison a cappella opens for the ‘Rockettes’

Jaxon White, News Section Co-Editor

Student a cappella group, Beyond Unison, performed during the opening act for “The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes” in New York City’s Radio City Music Hall at the 5 p.m. show on Nov. 20. 

What I enjoyed the most was sharing the stage with my closest friends and getting warm welcomes from our families after,” Kelly Karpovich ’23 said, president of Beyond Unison. “The group has not done anything like this before, it was certainly the most well-known stage we will ever perform on.”

The vocal group sang during the “Sounds of Christmas” segment of the show. Karpovich said that the group enjoyed the experience of singing on such a large stage. 

Student leaders of Beyond Unison are credited for negotiating the opportunity for the five-minute performance through a lengthy conversation with a representative from the venue that had been going on since July. 

“A representative of Radio City Music Hall reached out to ask if this performance would be something we are interested in,” Tom McKillop ’23 said, conductor and music director of Beyond Unison. “We sent a recent video of the group singing at their request. Once they approved, Kelly Karpovich and I had a zoom meeting to choose a date and time.”

From those discussions, Karpovich said they learned that the group needed to sell at least 50 tickets to keep their spot for the performance. She said that at the performance, most of the spots in the 6,000-seat venue were filled. 

The size of the venue brought some problems though, according to Karpovich and McKillop. 

What’s interesting is they gave us a little room before the show which had the best acoustics I’ve ever heard in my life. So, we sounded amazing as we were practicing. And then we got on the stage, the sound was empty, and it was like all of the sound disappeared. So, when you’re singing with the group, you can’t hear a single thing that’s happening other than yourself and the person next to you,” McKillop said.

Karpovich agreed that the room was much larger than they were accustomed to, but that won’t stop the group from going back.

“I think it is very possible for the group to do this event again in the future, provided that the members would like to,” Karpovich said. 

McKillop also hopes to perform in new venues.  

“I would love for the group to continue to travel and perform in places other than Bucknell. It really is an opportunity that most of us will never get post college,” McKillop said. 

Members of Beyond Unison were just as excited about the performance as the organizers were. 

“It was a really special experience, it’s something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life,” Nabeel Jan ’23 said. “Being able to tell people I’ve performed on such an iconic stage is something I’m really happy to be able to say.”

Next semester Beyond Unison is slated to hold their Spring Concert. They will also perform their annual Singing Valentines on Valentine’s Day. Students or faculty can pay the group $5 to sing live, or send a recording, to anyone on campus, McKillop said.

“[Performing in New York] was certainly a stressful but rewarding experience,” he said. 

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