Photo courtesy of Simon Boes
By Luke Gair
On Saturday, October 7, Sewanee’s a capella groups performed in Guerry Garth for a crowd of excited families and students during Family Weekend. Before this performance, I had never seen an a capella group perform live. Frankly, my only experience with this genre of music has been with the Pitch Perfect movies, so you can imagine my expectations.
Although those movies may have encapsulated the sheer extremity of the voice-based performance, I believe that Sewanee’s a capella groups have their own sense of individuality, one that blows the film franchise straight out of the water. What was striking to me was the sense of dynamicity in all three groups.
Even when the Chapel bells rang during their performance, the singers made eye contact and managed to continue their song without fault. I feel this is the root of successful a cappella, the sense of connection in a group’s voices despite interferences.
In Cadence’s performance, an all-women ensemble performed “Work Song” and “Pumped Up Kicks.” I thought the inclusion of “Bulletproof” in the second song gave it a twist, one the audience loved too. Each time a soloist would finish, I could hear a series of approving murmurs and excited gasps.
Cambiata’s performance was one that left me eager for their next show. As Sewanee’s mixed-gender a capella group, they featured the highest-highs and lowest-lows of voices in both “Seven Bridges Road” and “I Took a Pill in Ibiza.” Each soloist conveyed a strong sense of emotion more through their voices than their facial expressions. To me, it truly says something when artists have this ability.
When Key of D began singing “Man of Constant Sorrow,” I thought it was evident the crowd was enraptured in the first moment of performance, and the occasional hoots and hollers from audience members confirmed my suspicions. Levi Trumbore’s (C’20) opening solo was a memorable one, but his soulful voice was only one of many talented singers during the performance.
After just a few songs from each of Sewanee’s three a capella groups, I can only imagine the great things they are preparing for their remaining shows this year. If you were unable to make this one, I highly encourage you make your way to the next one. These performances are surely not something to miss.