Ursus and guests fill Hubbard with sound of music
Hubbard Hall was filled with the sound of music on the night of November 22, as Ursus Verses sponsored the A Cappella Invitational. Groups from the University of New Hampshire, Boston University, and Boston College attended and graced the audience with their beautiful singing.
Ursus Verses opened the concert with "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright. Dave Willner '06 did lead vocals for this moving rendition of the well-known ballad. The group lent an ethereal feel to the melody, creating a well-balanced rhythm. The group then performed "Happier" by Guster, led by Jake Claghorn '04 and Caitlin McHugh '07. This lively, upbeat tune was even entertaining to watch as everyone was clearly enjoying themselves.
Boston University's In A Chord followed, garbed in black. They first performed "The General" by Dispatch, adding an interesting barbershop quartet effect to the beginning. However, the group overpowered the lead vocalist, making it difficult to hear the lyrics. The same occurred with their unearthly and somewhat unsettling version of "Paranoid Android" by Radiohead. The highlight of their performance was their arrangement of "You Gotta Be" by Des'ree with a strong female vocalist adding an element of soul to the familiar song. The audience was enthusiastic about the performance and went wild when she belted out the word "love."
The University of New Hampshire's Alabaster Blue was on stage next. They opened with an interesting arrangement of "Mysterious Ways" by U2 beginning with a chorus of "notorious, notorious." They also performed "Secret" by Howie Day and "Crawling" by Linkin Park.
The crowd favorites were "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King and "ABC" by The Jackson 5. "Stand By Me" was updated with spoken echoes in the background and rap-like embellishments of "oh" and "what" that made an interesting contrast with the smooth lead vocals. "ABC" was a highly entertaining falsetto that sounded eerily like the King of Pop himself. The arrangement was very unique and included a quick interruption of "Let Me Clear My Throat" by DJ Kool. The best part was an enthusiastic shimmy by the lead vocalist, which was met by thunderous applause.
The group concluded with "Senorita" by Justin Timberlake, complete with audience participation. Continuing with the group's tendency to interject with other songs, a couple of lines from "Cry Me a River" were inserted to create an interesting effect.
The next group was the Boston College Dynamics, an eclectic group. They began with Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know." The energy of the group was incredible, and the soloist's strong, rich vocals rounded out the sound. Next was a beautiful rendition of "Fields of Gold" by Sting. The lead's voice ran through the notes like silk. The melody flowed in gentle rises and falls like the fields it spoke of. They ended the song with lines from another Sting hit, "Every Breath You Take," which fit surprisingly well.
They attempted Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life," which worked with the a cappella element but was slightly marred by one singer who seemed to be reaching for the notes. Crowd favorites were "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks and "I'm a Believer" by Monkees. "Goodbye Earl" was a lot of fun, complete with an authentic-sounding country twang and choreographed choral movements. The audience dissolved into giggles each time the soloist enthusiastically shouted "Earl had to die!" while firing an imaginary pistol.
Ursus Verses ended the show on a good note with "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains of Wayne, sung by Sam Chapple-Sokol '07. A complex and hilarious arrangement, the song was punctuated with numerous laughs from the audience.
All of the groups expressed their gratitude to Ursus Verses for inviting them and it seemed that the audience was equally pleased to have the opportunity to hear so much musical talent.
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