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Chorallaries Put on ‘Poker Face’

Chorallaries CD Debut & Spring Concert Is a Riotous Success

By Pey-Hua Hwang


“Poker Face,” Concert and CD Debut

Presented by the Chorallaries


May 12, 2001

Saturday afternoon is still a capella time at MIT. The Chorallaries and their guest group Harmonic Motion from Brown University packed 6-120 for their spring concert “Poker What?”

Harmonic Motion kicked off the concert with several well-known songs as well as some lesser-known but energetic pieces. One of the highlights of their set was an arrangement of Madonna’s “Power of Good-bye” sung by Miranda Chen. While some of the other soloists were rather difficult to hear above the back-up vocals, Chen’s voice easily cut through, with solid intonation and color. James Ollen-Smith closed with a very strong rendition of “Save Tonight,” by Eagle Eye Cherry.

The Chorallaries then took over amidst uproarious cheering and applause. They first performed an entirely new set, and then settled into some older fare as they recognized their graduating members.

Sheri A. Cheng ’01 opened with the slow and plaintive “A Thousand Oceans,” by Tori Amos. This song was particularly good in demonstrating the Chorallaries’ sense of balance; this quality was occasionally lacking in their guest group.

Various other songs were then sung with equal energy. There was also a wonderful infusion of choreography in several songs. “A Little Respect,” by Erasure with soloist Joseph A. Cirello ’01, was one of the most entertaining songs as the group moved through synchronized dance moves that were both comical and impressive.

Another memorable performance was given by Mira Wilczek ’03, as she performed “What it Takes” by Aerosmith. With a deceivingly slight frame, Wilczek had an enormous voice, that ranged from a guttural low alto to a high soprano.

The Chorallaries also recognized their graduating members: Cheng, Jake Lake ’01, Bernard Levin G, and Cirello. They presented each graduating member with a collage of pictures, and a personalized gift. Each of the gifts came with an embarrassing story, and was received with surprise, appreciation, and the requisite group hug.

Each senior was then “sung out,” while performing his or her signature pieces. The non-graduating members also performed short skits making fun of the graduating members. They picked on Sheri’s clothing, Jake’s drinking, Joe’s affection for leopard print, and Bernard’s major (course 7).

In a mix of “Flood” by Jars of Clay and “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi, the Chorallaries created their own blend of new and old blood as Ross I. Runnion ’04, and graduating member Levin, combined their voices to produce powerful counterpoint. The mix began with the melancholy “Flood” with Levin as the soloist; however, the tone soon shifted to “It’s My Life,” as a sunglasses-clad Runnion energized the crowd and played enthusiastic air guitar. The two soloists then merged melodies with harmonies for Levin’s solo coming from Brian Wong ’03.

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this concert, was, however, the amazingly high number of alumni in attendance. When the Chorallaries were ready to start the MIT drinking song, a good two rows of the audience emptied and headed to the front of the room to join the current members in the song. The song also had slightly altered choruses to recognize the seniors yet again and also to comment on the recent string of new presidents of colleges from other colleges.

As MIT’s only co-ed competing a capella group, the Chorallaries proved yet again their capacity for humor that only hinted at “Bad Taste” energy which extended into an encore of “Breathless” by the Corrs with soloist Bo Kim ’04.