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Infectious Enthusiasm

The Cross Products Perform Emotional A Capella

Fred Choi

The Cross Products, MIT’s Christian a cappella group, gave a highly enjoyable and oftentimes moving performance to a responsive crowd in an overflowing 6-120 this past weekend. The Cross Products’ singing was impressively full, expressive, and right on key, but more importantly, their energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and their honesty and sincerity were touching and much appreciated.

The concert began with performances by Brown’s group With One Voice (which also includes students from Rhode Island School of Design). The group performed their first five songs with energy and high-quality singing, and even performed two additional songs halfway through the Cross Products’ program.

However, when the Cross Products began, it was clear that the audience was ready for them. The group navigated a range of songs, some up tempo and some slow ballads. In general, the soloists were a little overshadowed by the group, despite the presence of microphones. This problem had more to do with the balance of the group and the projection of the soloists rather than lack of singing ability. Highlights definitely included the catchy song “The Victim” (by Cass Midgley and originally performed by the Acappella Vocal Band), which featured soloist Chris Tsai ’05 and minimalist but not distracting choreography that was both clever and effective. Songs like “This World” (by Caedmon’s Call) with soloists Ben Nunes G and Sandy Zhang ’03 and “Not Perfect” (by Church of Rhythm) with soloists Lawrence Hsin ’02 and Carolyn Chen ’02 were particularly memorable because of both the quality of the performances and the sincerity that shone through. The song “Glory, Honor, Power” (by Michael Pritzl) with soloists Joyce Lin ’01 and Daniel Wendel ’05 was a great ending to the concert. Lin’s voice was strong and her presence nicely captured the meaning behind the song. Lin also shone in her direction of the group through most of the songs, steering the group through the sometimes rapid shifts of each song. It was impressive that even in trickier songs like “Glory, Honor, Power,” the group’s ensemble, rhythm, and intonation never faltered. The songs also featured strong vocal percussion, most noticeably from Sarah Shin ’04.

Like other a cappella groups, the Cross Products also included skits between some songs. Along with the familiar but still hilarious demonstration of what a mathematical cross product is (with people as vectors), the group also included the skit “In an Alternate Cross Products Universe.” In the skit, the group humorously illustrated the pressures of trying to be like others, and we see what might happen if the group tried to enlist the aid of a famous choreographer (played beautifully by Shin). The final scene had the audience rolling with laughter in the overcrowded aisles. A more serious skit came near the end of the program, to a recording of the song “He” by Jars of Clay. The skit showed different groups of people whose relationships are marred by anger and impatience, but who are brought back together through their relationship with Christ. The skit was moving and its message was clear and well-illustrated.

Accompanied by more than a few cries for an encore, the Cross Products completed their nine-song winter concert to enthusiastic applause. The Cross Products, one of the smaller a cappella groups on campus, demonstrated that they are a multi-talented group, putting together a high-quality performance that was both emotional and entertaining.