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A Cappella review: Chorallaries Offer Fun Concert, Clever Skits Soloist Prathima Nandivada Steals the Show

By Jillian Berry


Fall Concert

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2005, 8 p.m.

Room 10-250

The Chorallaries are MIT’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, and I was fortunate enough to see their fall concert Saturday night. The group came out looking sleek and sophisticated in their matching black and red ensembles. They started the night with Benjamin M. Schwartz ’06 singing “Time is Running Out.” They began a little weak as I strained to hear the lead singer over the background, but they quickly found their voices, and the lead brought the song home.

After their first song, the group acted out a small skit, which they continued to intersperse with the music throughout the night. This skit was one of the best I’ve seen at any a cappella concert. The essential premise was that we at MIT are dorks (except, of course, for biology majors). With the help of a mind-reading machine, the Chorallaries humorously portrayed the intrinsic nerdiness we all possess. The audience loved it, and I know I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

Other highlights include the rendition of Prathima Nandivada ’06 and Andrew R. Harlan ’07 of “Total Eclipse of the Heart/ I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight.” Nandivada’s powerful voice permeated 10-250 with its soulfulness. Harlan sang well, but he could not compare to Nandivada’s amazing performance. In addition, Nandivada sang “If I Ain’t Got You” as an encore. Again, her incredible voice stole the show. In fact, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought that Alicia Keys was actually singing the song. How such a small person can produce such a big sound continues to mesmerize me.

Another piece that stuck out was Christopher M. Yang ’08 singing “New York, New York.” Chris brought some fun to the song by adding a few of his own comments during the performance. He started off somewhat stiff, but once he took his hand out of his pants pocket, he really seemed to enjoy what he was doing, and it came through in his voice.

The group also sang “White Flag,” “No Surprises,” “Cornflake Girl,” “The Engineer’s Drinking Song,” and “Drift and Die.” Overall, the songs were good, although a few were not very well known, and the vocals were excellent. The group was even prompted to sing two encores. However, the worst aspect of the performance was the mixing of the sounds. For nearly the entire show, the background music overpowered the lead, and I struggled to hear the song. I am not sure whether this was a microphone problem, I sat too close, or the leads need to sing louder, but only a few singers were able to overcome this difficulty. Additionally, the choreography to the songs was not perfect. The movements were not as smooth, nor as well timed, as some groups. But the dancing was only a minor flaw, and the music certainly compensated for their imperfect coordination. The Chorallaries put on a wonderful show.