a capella web

Every seat was filled in the majestic Emerson Concert Hall at the Schwartz Performing Arts Center last Friday night, and no, it wasn’t for Kendrick Lamar. The 10th annual Barenaked Voices concert, featuring all of the a cappella groups at Emory, took place Friday, April 5 at 7 p.m.

The groups sang three phenomenal songs. It was a “first Friday” on steroids, and it was awesome.

The first group to perform was No Strings Attached, and let’s be honest, isn’t that everyone’s favorite (for at least all of the girls)?

College junior Benito Thompson was a fan favorite, singing “Dancing in the Moonlight” (originally performed by King Harvest), complete with funny dance moves and outlandish gestures.

College senior C.J. Shepard carried the crowd away with his striking rendition of Michael Buble’s “End of May.” His steady, smooth voice filled the large concert hall, immediately calming the audience and putting everyone at ease. Their final song was a new song for the group, “Seven Nation Army” (originally performed by The White Stripes), sung by College senior Alex Riddle, who hit the high notes with epic precision.

Following No Strings Attached was Chai Tunes, Emory’s Jewish a cappella group. They opened with “Downfall,” a song by Matchbox 20 and continued with a Hebrew love song. College senior Michael Goldberg and College freshman Gabrielle Bloch sang the emotional and soothing love song effortlessly.

Finally, College sophomore Becky Morris sang her heart out during a rendition of KT Tunstall’s song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.”

Up next was AHANA, Emory’s R&B a cappella group. AHANA performed “Hate That I Love You” by Rihanna, “Halo” by Beyoncé and a mash-up of Adele songs. The most exciting performance of the three was the Adele mash-up.

Without looking up, one would have thought that Adele was actually singing at Emerson Concert Hall because Goizueta Business School senior Arista Ware had the key and pitch spot on.

The fourth group to perform was The Gathering, Emory’s only all-female a cappella group. They sang “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry, “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel.

The latter was the most memorable, with masterful harmonies and an outstanding performance by College freshman MacKenzie Wyatt. Wyatt’s small frame definitely did not stop her huge and powerful voice from projecting to all corners of the room.

Aural Pleasure, Emory’s oldest co-ed a cappella group sang three songs: “Some Nights” by fun., “Let it Be” by The Beatles and “Leave My Body” by Florence & the Machine.

Law student Tye Tavaras brought the entire concert hall to their feet with her amazingly powerful, strong and emotional rendition of “Let it Be.” Tavaras was definitely the star of the night.

The second-to-last group to perform was the Concert Choir, who sang two beautiful pieces. The 50-person ensemble was overwhelming. Incredibly, 50 voices came together as one while still managing to create distinct and unique harmonies.

The seventh and final group to perform was Dooley Noted, Emory’s philanthropic a cappella group.

First, College junior Jenni Seale sang Blondie’s “Call Me,” then College senior Michael DelGaudio sang a heart-melting rendition of Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up.” Finally, the group closed with “Mercy” sung by College junior Stephanie Yates.

However, the most interesting aspect of Dooley Noted’s entire performance was the fun and funky choreography that accompanied their final number “Mercy.” Spinning, hip-popping and gaudy gestures, and that was just the guys.

The evening ended with the room going black as a faint orange glow began to appear, surrounding all of the a cappella groups that had come together for a final number.

This year, for the first year ever, the finale featured a duet by Laney Graduate School student Tyrone Webb and College senior Chonise Thomas.

The entire group sang a touching rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

The finale brought the evening home perfectly by reiterating what the night was all about: varying groups coming together to celebrate the common love of a unique musical form: a cappella.

– By Annie McNutt 

Photo courtesy of T. C. Brodnax