No instruments, no problem: A cappella groups shine at concert

Ali Gold | Senior Cadenza Editor

I really do feel lucky to be a student at Washington University, the school with the largest per capita a cappella participation in the country. While it’s common to see one or two of these groups at a time performing at charity events or smaller concerts, it’s a rare opportunity to see almost all of our 200 a cappella performers in a two-hour period.

My mom is particularly enamored by a cappella, believing it to be a “great, happy, social outlet” for “smart kids” to have fun together “outside of the library.” She decided we should go to Voices and Sounds of Washington University, the Parents’ Weekend a cappella showcase hosted in the 560 Music Center Friday Oct. 20. Here’s an overview of what you missed and where you can catch these groups in the future:

Sensasians

Who they are:

The Sensasians, Wash. U.’s Asian interest a cappella group specializing in bilingual mashups, kicked off the concert. The Sensasians were founded in 2009, and in 2016 they placed first at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Midwest Quarterfinal.

What they sang:

The Sensasians opened up the evening with a powerful mashup of “Rise Up” by Andra Day and a Chinese song, with sophomore Mackenzie Cappelle as a soloist. Senior Kenny Hong and freshmen Teri Park and Diana Lee led a second upbeat combination of “This Love” by Maroon 5 with a Korean song of the same name.

Where you can see them:

Saturday, Nov. 18, the Sensasians and the Mosaic Whispers will host a concert together.

The Aristocats

Who they are:

Introduced at the event as “the happiest a cappella team on Earth,” the Aristocats are Wash. U.’s Disney-themed a cappella group. The took the stage with enthusiasm, dressed in all black with gold ties.

The Aristocats perform “Look Through My Eyes,” from the Disney film “Brother Bear,” onstage in Friday’s performance.Carrie Phillips | Student Life

The Aristocats perform “Look Through My Eyes,” from the Disney film “Brother Bear,” onstage in Friday’s performance.

What they sang:

Michelle Zhang led a particularly vibrant rendition of “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” with the rest of the team stomping and clapping along. The Aristocats capitalized on their whistling abilities, which complemented nicely the voices of senior Jonathan Huster and sophomore Catherine Cai during “Look Through My Eyes” from the Disney film “Brother Bear.”

Where you can see them:

The Aristocats’ next big concert is Saturday Dec. 9.

More Fools Than Wise

Who they are:

More Fools Than Wise performs jazz, folk and chamber all around St. Louis, including at retirement homes, the Ritz, the Four Seasons hotel and the chancellor’s house.

What they sang:

More Fools Than Wise started off slow and relaxed with “No One to Sing For Me.” Then, they picked up the tempo for a jazzy rendition of “The Longest Time” by Billy Joel sang by junior soloist Andrew White, complete with lots of snapping.

Where you can see them:

Each year, More Fools Than Wise hosts an annual April Fools’ concert.

The Stereotypes

Who they are:

The Stereotypes are one of two all-male a cappella groups on campus, and in their 16 years, they have played Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center. Most of the Stereotypes’ five albums are available on Spotify and iTunes.

The Stereotypes, one of two all-male a cappella groups at Wash. U., sing onstage as part of Friday’s a cappella show.Carrie Phillips | Student Life

The Stereotypes, one of two all-male a cappella groups at Wash. U., sing onstage as part of Friday’s a cappella show.

What they sang:

They started off with the melodic, pretty classic “Oh Shenandoah,” arranged and sang by junior Joey Flihan. Senior Caleb Carpenter took the lead for the second song, “Holding Out For a Hero,” a Bonnie Tyler jam from the 1980s.

Where you can see them:

The annual Mr. Stereotype Concert will take place Dec. 8 and 9.

After Dark

Who they are:

After Dark, a co-ed group, prides itself on its ability to bounce around countless genres and its black-and-white color scheme. The group has performed at many universities around the country and also sings at weddings.

What they sang:

After Dark began their set with the catchy song “Fools” by Troye Sivan, with sophomore Collin Kilgore as the soloist. Then, freshman Katie Whitlock, sophomore Julia Li and freshman Aalisha Jaisinghani took center stage to perform “Run” by Elsa & Emilie.

Where you can see them:

After Dark and the Amateurs have a concert this Friday, Oct. 27.

Mosaic Whispers

Who they are:

As the oldest co-ed a cappella group on Wash. U.’s campus, covering a wide array of genres and even original compositions, the Mosaic Whispers have released 10 studio albums, which can be found on iTunes and Spotify. The Whispers tour nationally and compete internationally, finishing first at the 2016 ICCA Midwest Semifinals.

What they sang:

Sophomore Donovan Duggins’ powerful vocals opened up the Mosaic Whispers’ set with the song “Retrograde” by James Blake. Sopohmore Ben Milan-Polisar and senior Eden Diamond then collaborated in an energetic mashup of “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran and “One Dance” by Drake.

Where you can see them:

The Mosaic Whispers will open for the Greenleafs at their Nov. 10th concert “Green Eggs and Jam” and will also host a concert along with the Sensasians Nov. 18.

Ghost Lights

Who they are:

The Ghost Lights, a co-ed group founded in 2010, focuses on music from Broadway, television and movie soundtracks. In addition to performances around campus, the Ghost Lights have taken the stage at an NFL game and the ICCA.

The Ghost Lights, a group which focuses mainly on showtunes, perform Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”Carrie Phillips | Student Life

The Ghost Lights, a group which focuses mainly on showtunes, perform Fergie’s “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”

What they sang:

The Ghost Lights integrated more choreography into their songs than the other groups, starting off with sophomore Lucia Grandison at the mic for “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” by Fergie. Sophomore Roman Accardi’s beatboxing skills captivated the audience, and Accardi took the forefront during the group’s next song, “Waving Through a Window” from Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Where you can see them:

The Ghostlights will host a fall concert Saturday, Dec. 2 in Holmes Lounge.

The Pikers

Who they are:

The oldest a cappella group on campus, founded in 1985, the Pikers are known both for their quirky, patterned shirt-tie combinations and their ability to make the audience laugh.

The Pikers, the oldest a cappella group on campus, sing onstage. The band is known for their quirky patterned T-shirts.Carrie Phillips | Student Life

The Pikers, the oldest a cappella group on campus, sing onstage. The band is known for their quirky patterned T-shirts.

What they sang:

Sophomore Chudi Mbanefo kicked off the performance by falling and tripping on stage, though the Pikers quickly adopted a more serious tone for “All of Me” by John Legend, led by freshman soloist Davis Holmes. Then, they sped it up again for a lively version of “Sunday Candy” sang by junior RJ Doro.

Where you can see them:

Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2 and 3, the Pikers will host their annual concert, Jammin’ Toast in Graham Chapel.

Greenleafs

Who they are:

Wash. U.’s premier girls-only a cappella group, and the second-oldest group on campus, the Greenleafs perform at on and off-campus events. The group took the stage looking classy in black dresses.

What they sang:

Sophomore Giulia Neaher belted “Primadonna Girl” by Marina and the Diamonds, and junior Ally Cooper brought out impressive country vocal skills for “Lipstick” by Runaway June.

Where you can see them:

Their annual concert, Green Eggs and Jam, is next Friday Nov. 10 and Saturday Nov. 11.

Staam

Who they are:

Staam is a Jewish a cappella group that competes and travels nationally, singing both in English and Hebrew. The group specializes in music written or performed by Jewish artists.

What they sang:

Senior Yuval Pearl led a spirited performance of “Ophelia” by the Lumineers, and junior Lucy Greenbaum was soloist for “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & The Papas.

Where you can see them:

Staam will perform at Staamikah Hanukkah Saturday Dec. 10.

The Amateurs

Who they are:

The Amateurs formed in 1991 and have since performed on America’s Got Talent, the National Anthem at NBA and MLB games, attended ICCA semifinals and sang at Convocation.

Co-ed a cappella group The Amateurs, founded in 1991, performs two songs onstage, closing out the a capella concert.Carrie Phillips | Student Life

Co-ed a cappella group The Amateurs, founded in 1991, performs two songs onstage, closing out the a capella concert.

What they sang:

The Amateurs performed an original song entitled “Best of Me” by sophomore member Cole Reyes and performed by freshman soloist Russell Beckham at the forefront. To close out the evening, freshman Ben Vance soloed on “Runnin’ (Lose it All)” by Naughty Boy.

Where you can see them:

The Amateurs and After Dark will have a joint Halloween-themed concert Friday, Oct. 27.