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Concert review: A Cappella Groups Make Some Noise at GBIS

Logs Steal the Show With Smiles and Costumes

Jillian Berry
ARTS EDITOR

Greater Boston Invitational Songfest (GBIS)

Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006

Kresge Auditorium, 8 p.m.

As is tradition, the Greater Boston Invitational Songfest (GBIS) took place last Saturday night in Kresge Auditorium. With family and students packed into the seats, six of MIT’s a cappella groups took to the stage. Each group sang three songs and talked a little about who they are.

The only all-female group, the Muses, started off the show with a rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” sung by Valerie A. Yorgan ’08. Yorgan certainly showed the power in her voice with this pop song, but she had a few problems with pitch, and the song sounded rushed. The Muses followed up with Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” sung by Stephanie H. Cho ’06, and Morgan C. Scully’s ’09 rendition of Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten.” The songs were good choices; all of the singers, however, were a little out of sync with each other.

Next up were the Cross Products, MIT’s Christian co-ed a cappella group. Daniel J. Wendel G began their set with “This Is Your Life.” There was an almost suspenseful lead-in to the lyrics, and the audience appeared to really enjoy it. Wendel’s voice was soothing, and he hit all the notes. Although he ended with strength, Wendel was somewhat overpowered by the background vocalists through most of the song. Prior to beginning the second piece, “Getting Into You,” Esther Chung ’09 explained the meaning behind the song, which added to its appeal. Chung’s high voice was sweet and beautiful in this slow and emotional song, though there was one odd note by a male member of the group, and the duet singer was a bit stiff. Eleojo E. Ocholi ’08 completed their set with “He Is the Way.” As in all of their songs, the choreography was simple but in time with the songs, and everyone looked like they were having fun.

The Chorallaries, MIT’s oldest co-ed group, came out next, dressed in their traditional black and red. Hao Ding ’10 and Holly R. Johnson ’07 sang “Hands Down” by Dashboard Confessional. While the singers were good, especially Johnson, their chemistry was even better, and it made this unconventionally romantic song work. For the second song, YeeKwan (Anna) Lo ’08 performed Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day.” Lo’s voice was rich and powerful, and she conveyed more emotion than I would have expected from a pop song. Her rendition was amazing, and I may even like it better than the original. Finally, Benjamin M. Schwartz ’06 would have made Frank Sinatra proud with “New York, New York.”

MIT’s all-male a cappella group, The Logarhythms (Logs), were the fourth group to perform. Unlike all of the other groups, who were dressed in coordinated ensembles and came on stage from the side, the Logs were all dressed in different crazy costumes — including a robot, Shrek, and a pirate — and came onstage by running through the aisles. Matthew A. Robertson ’08 started the group off with “Stay With You” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Robertson looked effortless as he belted out the song. His song preceded a very funny description of the Logs by Michael J. Fitzgerald ’07 (as Sacha Baron-Cohen’s Borat Sagdiyev). To follow, Matthew S. Schoeneck ’07 performed the Fray’s “Over My Head (Cable Car),” and he sounded just like the original. The final performer was Michael R. Miller ’09, who sang “Feel Good, Inc.” by the Gorillaz. Miller’s intense performance was accompanied by Stephen B. Nicholson ’08 and Fitzgerald’s attempted (and hilarious) rapping in the middle of the piece. Throughout the performance, the music was technically sound, but perhaps more importantly, you could see that they were having fun. They were arguably the best group of the night.

The Logs were a tough act to follow, but Resonance was strong as they opened with Michael Borohovski’s ’09 performance of “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down. Ted A. Fernandez ’09 then sang Third Eye Blind’s “Deep Inside of You.” Although his voice was robust and melodic, I felt the song was a little slow, and there was not enough variation to grab my attention. Resonance finished with Koyel Bhattacharyya ’09 singing Christina Aguilera’s “Fighting.” Bhattacharyya was amazing with her unbelievably strong voice and confidence. Although she could not hit some of the highest notes, her performance was incredibly powerful.

The final group of the night was the MIT/Wellesley Toons. Alison Wheeler started with Kelly Clarkson’s “Gone.” Her voice was strong and expressive, but became a little screechy at the end. Next, Jennifer D. Lobo ’07 performed Lynn Miles’s “I Know It was Love.” Although Lobo had a wonderfully deep and emotional voice, the lyrics were difficult to understand and the song was rather slow. For the last song of the evening, Ron Ron Cheng ’07 sang Ben Folds’ “Army,” with the help of the audience. While the audience participation was a nice thought, it took a long time to set up, and when the audience finally sang the song, Cheng was lost in the noise. However, the song was funny and a nice way to end the show.

Overall, GBIS was a fun night that showed the wide variety of talent at MIT.