Right on key: University a capella groups showcase annual spring concerts

The Silhouettes

The Silhouettes are the University’s only all-female a cappella group at the University that held their annual spring concert on April 10. To ensure that the concert went off without a hitch, the entire group put in many hours of practice. Silhouettes Musical Director Maggie Cushing ’18 said that the group generally practices two hours per week, but had to practice every day during the week leading up to the concert.

“Somehow everything always comes together,” Cushing said.

The arrangement of songs is also an important aspect of the concert.

“Arranging songs is really rewarding because you get to see your work come to life,” Cushing said. “We like to have a diverse setlist. It keeps the audience engaged, but also allows us to showcase everyone in the group.” 

Cushing also noted that fellow Silhouettes member Ella Tazuana Johnson ’17 arranged a song remotely, all the way from Ghana.

The Bison Chips

The Bison Chips are the University’s only all-male a cappella group that performed in their famous Chipfest on April 9. Bison Chips member William Frost ’18 described the week before the concert as “hell week” because they had to practice for two to three hours each day. Frost arranged three songs throughout the year, and two for the spring concert.

“All of [the songs] were songs that came on while I was studying and I thought that they would sound good a cappella. I really enjoy watching it all come together on paper, so I try and do it as much as I can,” Frost said.

Frost said the Bison Chips usually arrange two or three “throwaway” songs for a concert. This year’s Chipfest had none of these, which made a major difference.

“My favorite song to perform was ‘I Won’t Give Up.’ There were so many different parts to the song that made the build-up so incredibly cool. You appreciate something like that so much more when you see all of the individual parts and how they work together to make a really cool sound,” Frost said.

Two Past Midnight

Two Past Midnight is a co-ed a cappella group that hosted its spring concert on April 3. The arrangements for this concert were largely based on previous alumni ensembles.

“This semester, we used a lot of alumni arrangements. It’s cool to put our own spin on songs our alumni added to our repertoire. We brought back arrangements ‘Earth’ by Imogen Heap, our Justin Timberlake Medley, and others,” Two Past Midnight member Laur Hudson ’18 said.

Hudson also emphasized that this concert was heavily senior-based.

“Every spring, each senior gets to choose a song to perform as their senior solo. This year, our four seniors sang nearly half of our setlist,” Hudson said.

Hudson shared that it can be hard for the whole group to coordinate and focus on the concert with so many other commitments and events, but they still managed to have fun.

“Scheduling a show and preparing for it can be a challenge. But our priority on stage is always having fun and engaging the audience, and I think we achieved those goals,” Hudson said.

Beyond Unison

Beyond Unison is another co-ed a cappella group that is scheduled to perform its spring concert on April 30 in Bucknell Hall. Beyond Unison President Allison Aaron ’16 said that they have been preparing 11 songs, five new songs, five songs featuring their graduating seniors, and a traditional rendition of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. They are also featuring a new CD release called XI, marking Beyond Unison’s 11th birthday. The group is also making a music video to “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith, which will be released on April 27.

Aaron said that the arrangement process for Beyond Unison is very collaborative.

“We encourage all members to contribute to the arranging process. Arrangers are encouraged to collaborate with one another and all members of the group about song choices and creative musical ideas. Then we vote as a group on the arrangements we would like to perform at our semester concert,” Aaron said.

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