MIT’s Newest A Capella Group Has Spirit
MIT Resonance with Wheaton Wheatones and WPI Simple Harmonic Motion
Dec. 6, 8 p.m.
The first time I saw Resonance perform, I was a freshman photographing Greater Boston Invitational Sing (GBIS) 2001 for Technique. While the performance was commendable, it was clear to me that they were a greener MIT a capella group than any other performing that evening.
Since then, I have attended several other performances by Resonance, and at GBIS 2002, I was pleasantly surprised by a group that had clearly gained maturity in style and spirit over the course of one year. Their fall concert proved a similar experience.
The concert on Friday night, Resonance’s second fall concert ever, opened with the first guest group, the Wheaton Wheatones, a small, all-female a capella group of only eight members. Their charming renditions of Cher’s “The Shoop Song,” SWV’s “Right Here,” Alicia Keys’ “How Come You Don’t Call Me?” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” displayed their impressive strength as a small group. Rhythmic pieces, such as “The Shoop Song,” “Right Here,” and to some extent “How Come you Don’t Call Me?,” were tackled rather well, although there appeared to a be a general difficulty with the more melodic portions of their selections. Overall, they provided a pleasant introduction.
Resonance then took over, starting with some amusing percussion and simple choreography. “Steal my Kisses,” the opening song, was executed with energy. The newness of the group was still reasonably evident, but the enthusiasm of its members during this particular piece would be repeated over again, creating an atmosphere more of fun and entertainment than of painstaking perfection. The next piece, an interesting double-feature of “Because the Night” and “In the End,” was a bit weaker, particularly in higher regions of the register. The transition between the two songs, however, was interesting and smoothly executed, and although some of the anger of “In the End” was lost with the sound of instruments, the arrangement was impressive and, in this reviewer’s opinion, better than the original song.
Resonance then took a short break and WPI’s Simple Harmonic Motion briefly took the stage, performing arrangements of Bad Religion’s “You,” Savage Garden’s “Crash and Burn,” The Bobs’ “Helmet,” Seal’s “Lost my Faith,” and “Good old A Capella.” While “You” and “Helmet” were truly enjoyable and fun -- if not very refined -- and “Good old A Capella” was well performed and entertaining, the two ballads, “Crash and Burn” and “Lost my Faith,” were somewhat lacking. In short, Simple Harmonic Motion is probably best off sticking to humorous, fast, and more forceful music instead of the more sappy ballads.
After that short break in their performance, Resonance took over once again with Massive Attack’s “Protection.” A slower song, it showed Resonance venturing into a more emotional realm. While moving, this song made clear that the group had a good base in terms of lower parts, but higher notes were still not quite making it.
Following this song, the group performed some cute choreography in “Buster” and “Express Yourself,” with a brief skit in between. “Buster”, while an interesting song, was not quite together yet. “Express Yourself” was put together better, and although the soloist could have been a little louder, the song was well done on the whole. Also commendable was the brevity of the traditional cheesy skit, if not the creativity or the humor.
The next performance, The Nields’ “Easy People,” did not feature a soloist but was done as an entire group. Its mellow tones were calm and heartwarming, and the following “Animal Song,” which was performed with Resonance alums, also showed a promising sense of togetherness as a group, a sense which had wavered a bit on some of the songs previous. Finally, the group performed an arrangement of Poison’s “Life Goes On,” which still needs a bit of work (problems with high notes were perpetual), but most certainly had the spirit of the ’80s rock ballad. Thus, I feel it holds promise.
As an encore, Resonance sang Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters.” This performance was not bad, but the solo parts were a little off, and I’m not sure how I feel about taking a Metallica guitar solo and performing it with a voice. The group also sounded a bit tired at this point. In this respect, Resonance unfortunately did not go out with a bang so much as a sigh.
Despite the ending, however, and despite the trend of problems with higher notes and occasionally tuning, Resonance is group that is on an improving curve. With more practice and experience, Resonance shows promise as a group that clearly enjoys singing together and has a lot of spirit. With so much gained in the matter of a year, I look forward to seeing them again at GBIS 2003 even better than before.