Syracuse a capella groups put their vocal chops on display to raise money for charity

All-girl group Main Squeeze filed onto the stage and formed a ring as the lights dimmed down in Hendricks Chapel. The stage, lit from the back, threw a warm glow on the walls that were decorated with holiday wreaths and garland.

Rachel Towne and Philomena Duffy headed to the microphone at the front of the stage and began to sing a solemn rendition of “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles, alternating with bits of “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

On Saturday, a cappella groups across campus took part in the A Cappella Against Hunger invitational, a benefit concert to fight hunger in the Syracuse community.

Sixty percent of ticket proceeds and all extra donations at Hendricks went to the Food Bank of Central New York, an organization that disperses 11 million pounds of food to people in need annually.

The food bank works with emergency programs in 11 New York counties to distribute food, to educate and to advocate about hunger in Central New York.

At the beginning of the concert, members of the Food Bank of Central New York shared statistics about hunger in the United States.

The invitational featured groups from Syracuse University and two visiting vocal ensembles.MainSqueeze — the host of the event — Orange Appeal and Otto Tunes are all mainstays of the a cappella circuit at the university.

Other performers included the Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Nottingham High School and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s first a cappella group, the Ecotones. The group chose the invitational as its first performance on the SU campus.

Many students and family members attended the concert to support the performers, but others went just to see the performances. Sophomore Mary Bromfield is a familiar face at the concerts.

“I love a cappella so much. I come to a lot of the a cappella shows for all the different groups on campus,” Bromfield said. “I’m a big fan, so it was really great.”

The groups performed an eclectic mix of pop and rock songs throughout the night, highlighting the groups’ versatility. Songs featuring a slower tempo showcased the vocal ability of both the chorus and soloists, and set the tone for the event.

Otto Tunes sang a rendition of Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More,” which began with a somber intro, but gradually worked its way into a faster crescendo. Bridget McGlone fronted Main Squeeze’s arrangement of Oh Land’s “Wolf & I.” The Ecotones belted “Big Yellow Taxi” by the Counting Crows, a song that focuses on the issues that are important at ESF.

One of the highlights of the concert was Orange Appeal’s rendition of Taylor Swift’s breakup anthem, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” As Bryce Garcia sang the solo, the rest of Orange Appeal formed two groups that mock-fought behind him.

Ally Sloss, a sophomore psychology major, loved Otto Tunes’ take on Pentatonix’s dubstep hit “Show You How to Love.”

“When they dropped the beat, that was awesome,” Sloss said.

When a soloist stepped up to the microphone, the section where other performers sat would erupt with applause and catcalls. Because Ecotones performed with SU a cappella groups for the first time, it got roaring applause from the audience and other groups.

Main Squeeze also received a standing ovation from the a cappella group after soloist Sydnee Corriders sang the classic “You’re No Good.” Otto Tunes displayed its love for the ladies of Main Squeeze by serenading them before taking the stage to perform two songs.

Kelsey Schwartzbach, a freshman television, radio and film major, thought the camaraderie between the a cappella groups was apparent throughout the night.

Said Schwartzbach: “I really liked seeing all the a cappella groups interact. It was really fun to see how even though they are different groups, they all seem like a family.”


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