Four a cappella concerts to hit the scene this weekend

Quincy Schmechel | Contributing Writer

Amid the chaos of reading week and finals, it’s not uncommon for important things to fall under the priority of grades—things like a healthy and balanced diet, a gym routine, extracurriculars and, indeed, all sense of fun.

Thankfully, a cappella groups around campus are going to be around over the weekend to revive that fun factor.

The Stereotypes will be kicking off the slew of concerts Friday, Dec. 7 with their show Mr. Stereotype at 8 p.m. in Graham Chapel. The show will also be held on Saturday at the same time and location; so, there’s no excuse to miss it. Tickets for the show will be sold in the Danforth University Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. all this week, as well as in Bear’s Den from 6-8 p.m. and at the door. Tickets will cost $7 for students and $10 for non-students.

“You can expect extravagant costumes and hilarious jokes at our show,” senior Tyler Smith, a member of the group, said. “But we are most passionate about the music at Mr. Stereotype.”

Smith says that the show’s interesting theme and dynamic music are sure to be hits that encourages audience participation.

“Mr. Stereotype is a pageant-themed show,” Smith explained. “Each group member embodies their own stereotype and competes for the title ‘Mr. Stereotype.’ A winner will be crowned each night—chosen by the audience!”

The group began writing and rehearsing the show in August and has “worked consistently to create a show that we are proud of and that we hope our audience will love,” Smith said. They’ve been putting in six hours of practice each week, with additional work to plan and promote the concert. There’s a lot more that goes into preparation than singing. Reserving Graham Chapel, taking photos, making flyers, selling tickets and working with sound and lighting specialists are all components that go into the preparation process.

“You can even catch us singing in lectures and around campus leading up to the show for a few surprise performances,” Smith said.

What makes Stereotypes exciting to listen to is the mission they strive to achieve through their music.

“We perform a wide variety of music. At this concert, you can hear songs from Demi Lovato, Guns ‘N Roses, Rex Orange County, Simon and Garfunkel and much more,” Smith said. “We like to push the boundaries of traditional a cappella and can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on for this concert.”

Meanwhile, also on Dec. 8, another group will be posted up in Emerson Auditorium, but they’ll be singing very different tunes. You can catch the Aristocats at 8 p.m., and tickets will be free.

“As the Aristocats, we only sing music created by Disney,” sophomore Alex Le, a member of the group, said of the music the audience can expect to hear. “However, Disney actually encompasses a lot of types of music. For example, we’ll be singing traditional Disney songs like ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘Colors of the Wind,’ but we’ll also be singing some less-known songs like ‘True to Your Heart’ and ‘Trashin’ the Camp.’”

Furthermore, a newer Wash. U. a cappella group, Sur Taal Laya, will be adding variety as the opener for the Aristocats by singing Bollywood fusion music.

“They’re absolutely phenomenal,” Le said excitedly.

With that opening act and the concert’s theme “Be Our Guest,” members of the audience can expect to feel especially welcomed in their auditorium seats.

“I think I’m most excited about having [the audience] hear all of our less recognizable [songs]. [They’re] absolute bops,” Le said of the 10 songs the group will be performing. “But if I had to anticipate what the audience will remember the most, I think ‘Circle of Life’ and ‘Colors of the Wind’ are our most beautiful pieces and will be our staples for the night.”

Like the Stereotypes, the Aristocats have been putting in work for the show since day one of the semester, six hours a week every week. This by no means slows down as concerts approach.

“The weeks before concert, we have extra rehearsals on top of our regular rehearsal schedule,” Le said. “Aside from practice, we spend countless hours working on PR, [in addition to] the logistical and financial side of putting on a concert.”

This is all a labor of love, though.

“I’m super, super excited for our concert. I think it’s going to be our best one yet, and I can guarantee everyone who attends will enjoy it,” Le concluded.

For those who want to celebrate the first weekend free of classes ASAP, yet another group can be found at 3 p.m. in Ursa’s Fireside Saturday, Dec. 8. Even better, tickets are free, and there will be latkes and music served up by Staam.

“The theme is ‘Staamikah Hanukkah: Just Jew it,’” senior Katie Simons, Staam member, said. “It is a concert celebrating Hanukkah but also our theme for this year is specifically sporty.”

If you’re wondering what to expect, Staam’s genre is a bit all over the place, as it celebrates music written or performed by Jewish artists.

“This semester’s set includes some stuff from Young the Giant, Neil Diamond, P!nk and more,” Simons said. “You’ll have to come to find out,” she added excitedly.

After practicing for seven hours a week over the last semester, along with countless hours of arranging music and promoting their concert, Staam is excited to showcase their hard work. Additionally, they’re excited for the group’s freshmen to sing in their first real concert with Staam.

“Every semester when we perform at Staamikah, we showcase some new music that our friends/fans haven’t yet heard. So, I’m especially excited to show my friends some of the new music we’ve been working on,” Simons said. “Also, it is our first years’ first concert with Staam. So, I’m really excited for them to experience how fun it is.”

The last performances of the weekend will be by the humorously named More Fools Than Wise a cappella group, who will performing Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in College Hall. Like Staam, the group will be offering dinner and a show, but with a twist.

“Our concert is unique among a cappella performances because we put on a short Madrigal play when the dinner happens, which includes some Madrigal songs,” senior Emma Price, one of the group coordinators, said. “Following the play, we perform our standard concert songs, which include a mixture of jazz, folk and chamber music.”

Tickets to see you favorite fools and their Fool House-themed play will be sold in the Danforth University Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or in Bear’s Den from 6 to 8 p.m. The total price is $10 with dinner or $6 to simply go and enjoy the show. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Like the other groups, More Fools Than Wise has been practicing since the beginning of the semester, but Price says getting to spend time together is just as rewarding as putting on a successful show.

“We spend more time together than most members of most clubs,” Price said. “We work really hard to achieve the best result we possibly can. Sometimes, this even means putting in work outside of rehearsal. But in addition to learning and practicing our music, we work hard to promote a sense of support and drive to build each other up to be the best we can be.”

Price anticipates the most exciting aspect of the play and dinner will be “the wide range of music we will perform, from a beautiful setting of the text for Taps, to a traditional Italian folk song, to an upbeat jazz song. Also, the fact that we not only sing but also act.”

Overall, the myriad of performances offered over the weekend should amount to an entertaining, must-see unwind before all chaos of finals ensues.