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Ernest I. Park ’12, with the MIT Logarhythms, sings “Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd at the Greater Boston Invitational Songfest on Saturday night.
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Greater Boston Invitational Sing

Kresge Auditorium, Cambridge, MA

October 10, 2009

Last weekend had a lot to offer to MIT students, as the wide variety of student groups on campus showcased their love of everything but math and science to the visiting families. One of the weekend’s highlights was the Saturday night a cappella concert, dubbed the “Greater Boston Invitational Songfest.” The lineup included all nine campus a cappella groups, each performing two numbers of their choice.

First up were the Chorallaries, MIT’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, known for their impressive arrangements and an eclectic range of performances. Their opening number, “Zombie” by the Cranberries, gripped the audience with its haunting harmonies, stunning vocals by soloist Minmin Yen ’11, and zombie-esque choreography. Their enthusiastic and beautifully composed second selection, “High” by the Lighthouse Family, got everyone clapping along.

Up next were the MIT Muses, displaying their signature girlish flare and sweetheart style as the campus’ only all women’s a cappella group. A perky rendition of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love” got the audience giggling in a good way, while their vocals really shone in “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor.

The pace changed with the MIT/Wellesley Toons’ funky rendition of Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down.” The Toons’ contagious beats and unique choreography — including the formation of a human airplane veering to the rhythm of their music — wrought fervent applause. They kept it playful with The Orion Experience’s “Obsessed With You,” which again showcased their incredible vocals and supercool style.

In contrast to the intensity of some of the other groups, the Asymptones’ lighthearted approach to music let their more low-key performance of Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Finite Simple group” speak for itself. Catchy harmonies and comic touches (like beginning their set with the Warner Brother’s theme song) effectively got the whole room smiling and nodding along.

The next three groups, the Cross Products, Techiya, and Syncopasian, each brought a little of something different to the table. The Cross Products’ inspiring songs of faith and hope had the unique flavor of MIT’s only co-ed Christian a cappella group — and a “wow” factor that listeners of all religious backgrounds could appreciate. MIT’s Jewish, Hebrew, and Israeli a cappella group, Techiya, impressed with a rap and Hebrew twist to “New Soul” by Yael Naim. The newest group on campus, Syncopasian, soulfully performed in a mix of Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and English. They also performed some of the best beat boxing of the night.

Second to last, the all-male Logarhythms knew how to work a crowd. Rushing onto the stage in a variety of crazy costumes — featuring Harry Potter, Zorro, and a talented soloist clad head to toe as Ernie from Sesame Street — the Logs’ explosive versions of “You Give Me Something” (James Morrison) and “Knock on Wood” elicited the loudest and longest applause of the night. Their awe-inducing harmonies and modern flare provided a great lead into the last performance of the night by Resonance. Resonance’s trendy “Crush” (by David Archuleta) and highly charged “Untouched” (the Veronicas) brought an energetic end to the hour and a half long concert, and left the audience begging for more.

There’s plenty more to come from the a cappella groups this year, so be sure to check out your favorite group’s performance schedule.