The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 51.0°F | Overcast

A CAPPELLA REVIEW

It Just Keeps on Resonating Better

Major Improvements Seen in Resonance’s Latest Performance

By Marissa A. Cheng

Resonance, with Integration by Parts and Simple Harmonic Motion

54-100

Dec. 5, 8 p.m.

It just keeps getting better and better. Friday night’s concert in 54-100 was the fifth Resonance concert I’ve been to, not including events like Greater Boston Invitational Sing. In the past six months Resonance seems to have grown in size, since I don’t recognize most of the group any more. This is a good thing -- Resonance’s fall concert is now at the top of the list of a capella concerts I’ve been to.

The concert began with a performance by Integration by Parts, a six-member Cambridge/Boston-area a capella group. Their first song, the Mario Brothers theme song, was slightly hard to recognize at times, but maybe that’s because I saw Super Mario for the first time about a month ago. “Lois Lane” by Uncle Bonsai was very well choreographed, with good harmonies. The last song, “Bad Touch” by the Bloodhound Gang, had a lot of personality, though at times it was hard to hear the soloist. For its size, though, Integration By Parts was very solid, with a lot of imagination.

After Integration By Parts, Resonance sang four songs, including the two best songs of the evening. “Banditos,” by The Refreshments, came first, then “Androgyny” by Garbage. As Garbage is one of my favorite bands, I was excited to hear the song. I liked the arrangement, but felt that the soloist, Julia P. Patriarco ’05, was holding back -- the song lacked the requisite edginess.

Between the first two songs and second two songs, there was the skit about the inflatable cactus you read about in Resonance’s ad in The Tech. Quite frankly, skits at a capella concerts have always puzzled me -- it’s not a variety show -- and in my experience, they have their ups and downs. This skit, which featured an inflatable cactus as a contestant in various reality TV shows, goes in the “ups” category. One highlight: “Survivor: Mojave Desert,” where the host challenged the cactus and two guys to go without water for the longest period of time.

Resonance’s third song was my favorite, “Ghost” by the Indigo Girls. It blew me away. I’d heard the Indigo Girls’ version of the song before and didn’t like it. I think it’s much better suited to a capella (sorry, Indigo Girls). The song had great harmonies, and was much richer in sound than the actual song -- I can’t wait until Resonance records this song for their next CD. I especially liked how the voices of the soloist, Caroline A. Niziolek ’05, and her partner for the duets, Stephanie R. Silberstein ’06, meshed.

The next song, “Here is Gone” by the Goo Goo Dolls, was my second-favorite song of the evening. The soloist, Solomon M. Bisker ’06, was well-chosen for the song, and he settled into the song confidently as it progressed. It was in this song, and “Ghost,” that I thought that Resonance really sang with everything they had. The percussion throughout the entire concert was excellent, but was especially strong on this song.

Resonance took a break at this point, presenting their second guest group, WPI’s Simple Harmonic Motion. SHM has performed at previous Resonance concerts, and seemed stronger than they were last year. Their opening song was “Sweet Adeline,” which had great harmonies. The second song, Toto’s “Africa,” was solid, but uninspiring; it seemed like the range of the soloist’s voice was slightly too high for the song. The third song, “Pinball Wizard,” by The Who, was the best. While a few lines were undistinguishable because of the chorus drowning out the soloist, this song was the most dynamic, and had the most energy.

The second part of Resonance’s performance began with “Why Can’t I” by Liz Phair. The soloist for this song, Sara M. Tenenbein ’04, had the right voice for the song, and was heartfelt. This is nitpicky, but I thought that the ending sounded like it was cut short.

The next two songs were songs by departing members of the group, Charlene A. St. Pierre ’03 with “Tainted Love,” and Jamie Clark ’99 with “Breaking Up.” “Breaking Up,” an arrangement combining two different songs by Neil Sedaka and 2ge+her, is one of Resonance’s best songs, and is also on their CD. The song was better than the CD recording, because of the added depth that Resonance has this year, though the rap segment towards the end is always too soft for the hard of hearing.

Andrew M. Iannaccone G soloed in the next song, “Shimmer” by Fuel, which was technically Resonance’s last song. However, no audience lets an a capella group go without an encore. Resonance’s encore was “Maria” by Blondie, with a solo by Patriarco. This is a song that she sings well, but the song that she does best is “Always Getting Over You” by Angela Ammons.

After more profuse applause, Resonance came back for one more encore, “Steal My Kisses” by Ben Harper. The voice of Stephen S. Lee ’05 was stronger than it was the last time I heard the song, and there was a new percussion interlude in the middle of the song that was, quite frankly, amazing. The song was lively and full of energy: an excellent end to the concert.

This year, Resonance is especially good, with consistently solid songs and several excellent songs. Since their last concert, they’ve added a lot of depth to their group, and have a well-balanced, robust sound, as well as a lot of personality, both required qualities for a truly good a capella group.

The only problem I see now is that sometimes their soloists hold back, even though you can tell that they can really sing it the way it’s meant to be sung. Having seen them progress over the past few years, I’m excited to see what Resonance does with their next concert -- I’m sure it’ll be even better than this one was.