By AERIEL MERILLAT
Halloween started a couple of days early on campus this year, with the University of Mary Washington hosting an a cappella competition, the “A Cappella Off: Night of the Singing Dead,” to celebrate the ghostly holiday.
Last Wednesday, Oct. 29, UPC, along with Class Council, held the university’s first a cappella competition in the Underground. Students flooded the Underground as fans of the a cappella groups eagerly waited to see their fellow classmates perform.
Performers included all three of the University of Mary Washington’s a cappella groups: BellACapella, Symfonics and One Note Stand. Taking the stage first was BellACappella, UMW’s only all-female a cappella group. Following their performance was Symfonics, UMW’s oldest co-ed group. And last to take the stage was One Note Stand.
Each group had the chance to perform five songs of their choice. Once all of the groups performed, members of the audience were invited on stage to place a ticket in the bucket of the group that they thought performed the best. The tickets were counted, and at the end of the night, UPC announced the winner of the competition. First place was awarded $300, second place $200 and third $100.
While the event was a competition, the camaraderie and friendship between all of the groups was evident throughout the night.
“Everyone performed so well,” said Sarah Etherton, a junior psychology major and member of Symfonics.
The groups performed everything from a range of current radio hits to heartfelt classics. BellACapella, taking the stage dressed as a box of crayons, gave the audience riveting performances of songs with strong female leads, such as Ingrid Michelson’s “Girls Chase Boys” and Clean Bandit feat Jess Glynne’s “Rather Be.”
Symfonics, dressed in black and adorned in various Halloween attire, performed a variety of powerful pop songs, such as the soulful “Fallen” by Alicia Keys and the upbeat “Anna Sun” by Walk the Moon.
One Note Stand, clad in festive orange, seduced the audience with their renditions of Justin Timberlake’s “Pusher Love Girl” and Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake’s “Love Never Felt So Good.” Accompanied with smooth dance moves, they had the crowd clapping and dancing along with them.
In the end, only one a cappella group could be declared winner of the A Capella Off. Winning the crowd over with their sexy falsettos and engaging stage performance was One Note Stand. They walked away from the night with $300 dollars in their pocket.
“We weren’t expecting such a large, enthusiastic audience, and we were honored to share the stage with Symfonics and Bella,” said Bronwyn Stokes, senior psychology and business Spanish double major, as well as business director for One Note Stand.
When asked what the group planned to do with their prize money, Stokes said, “We are considering putting some of it towards Bob’s Scholarship, The Robert Ericson Environmental Research Endowment.”
Robert Ericson was a member of One Note Stand who passed away in the spring of this year.
“The rest will go to our club’s fund to help us travel to other competitions and for possible recording opportunities,” Stokes said.
At the end of the night, all of the three groups walked away with prize money. UPC’s A Capella Off drew in a lot of people and proved to be a great, new way to kick off Halloween 2014.