A cappella groups as told by their setlists: More Fools Than Wise
On Saturday evening, April 20, More Fools Than Wise took the stage in Holmes Lounge–quite literally, as they brought an actual stage into the event space. The show, titled ‘Words of Wisdom,’ celebrated the chamber music ensemble’s 11th year of performing and recognized the group’s graduating seniors.
Swing Theory opened the night with a lively set; their first song, Ashe’s “We Get High,” was well-suited to the date. The coincidental color coordination of both groups’ black and purple outfits also added to the professional feeling of the whole show and made for a seamless transition from dancing to singing.
“Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)”
This 1950s doo-wop song started the night on a fun, energetic note. Soloist freshman Lucas Alcantara surprised the crowd by entering from the back and making his way up to the stage as he sang, and his voice matched the harmony of the group well.
Following the first song, the Fools began a pattern of giving a heartfelt speech, flowers, and personalized gift to each senior modeled after the song most meaningful to them. Among other ridiculous items, the cat-loving Emma Price was given a “zen garden litter box,” and midwesterner Emily Albertina would later unwrap a pink shirt that read simply, “Ope.”
Within the first measure of “Kyrie,” the Fools made Holmes Lounge feel like a truly historic, almost sacred space. Over the course of the song, the audience began to understand why the Fools focus on chamber and folk music, and the group displayed a technical expertise that differentiated them from other Wash. U. a cappella groups.
“Tu es Petrus”
This song brought an ancient element to their show, as they beautifully maneuvered Latin as seamlessly as they do English.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads”
The women exited the stage and left the men to shine in a biting, upbeat rendition of this road trip classic, complete with a seamless key change and impressive range for a band of tenors and baritones.
When the women switched positions with the men, they stole the spotlight with the beautiful, lilting “Annie’s Song.” I expected a bride to walk down the aisle at any moment.
“A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”
An almost spooky tone at the beginning quickly gave way to a joyful love song with simple lyrics. As the song itself says, “it was such a romantic affair.”
“For Thy Sweet Love”
The Fools emphasized dynamics in this song, swelling to two powerful crests before quickly returning to a soothing, low volume.
“Butterfly” was closer to what many of us think of when we hear a cappella, with multiple moving parts flowing in and out of each other. The song sounded fantastic–both in quality and tone–and was strengthened by sophomores Annie Feng and Jasmine Jaggers and freshman Elena Cacchillo, who guided the lyrics over the sonic landscape the other Fools created. With a refrain of “Tomorrow I’ll die,” “Butterfly” was hauntingly beautiful.
“Thank You for the Music”
Following a short poem written and recited by Jaggers to thank senior Helene Jow, the seniors performed a song together. The ABBA song “Thank You for the Music” was sung by the seniors in the group, and they echoed that dramatic sparkle ABBA is known for, with each of them singing a short solo.
The rest of the group as well as two alumni returned to the stage for “Loch Lomond,” a performance staple for the Fools. Feng started the song with an ethereal solo, and sophomore Tejas Kelkar soloed near the end. All the while, the song slipped in and out of a folk music sound; the sopranos soared over the rest of the group with authentic-sounding Scottish accents. The practiced precision of the Fools made this song a crowd-favorite.
The lullabic “Shenandoah,” felt anticlimactic as an ending when compared to the night’s highlights, but the slow, controlled song left the crowd soothed and satisfied. By the end of the applause, More Fools Than Wise had a standing ovation.