VoiceMale gets in the V-Day groove
As Valentine’s Day comes around every February, we all look for songs to get us into a romantic mood. Often the songs are classical tunes — wordless, sometimes corny melodies replete with string sections. Very rarely, though, are Valentine’s Day songs lacking instruments. Brandeis’ all-male a cappella group VoiceMale sought to change that with its annual variety show “Lovapalooza,” which took place this past Saturday. “Lovapalooza,” however, delivered performances as diverse as the selection of discount candy after the holiday.
Company B kicked off the show, performing three songs, with two spotlighting soloists. The first was The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love,” with Isabella Stahler Stork ’18 soloing. Company B succeeded in its performance of Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind.” Company B’s strength is clearly performing as a group, and the mixture of beautiful harmonies and harsh dissonance in “Georgia” refreshed the group’s set. Its last song was a version of Van Morrison’s “Moondance,” with Gabi Nail ’18 soloing.
Up The Octave, one of the University’s all-female groups, performed next. The group started with an arrangement of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” with Emily Arkin ’20 soloing. The group’s next song was Rihanna’s “California King Bed,” choosing dissonance to accompany soloist Lily Bickerstaff Richard ’20.
“Lovepalooza” also featured several guest groups, the first of which was Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Chorallaries. This group showed Brandeis that the school can do more than engineering. The group started with Elvis’ “Blue Suede Shoes.” The soloist carried his performance with sass, perfectly matching the song’s attitude — he often encouraged the audience to clap along. The rest of the Chorallaries seemed to be genuinely having fun, which made for an especially engaging show. The group’s last song was Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life,” a surprising choice for a Valentine’s Day-themed event. The dissonant chords gave this arrangement an eerie feel which the original lacked.
Brandeis’ folk a cappella group, Too Cheap For Instruments performed after MIT. The group’s first two numbers, Joseph’s “Planets” and The Lumineers’ “Ophelia,” featured solos from Sophie Welch ’20 and Katie Stenhouse ’19 respectively. TCFI’s last number was a premiere performance of Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal.” Like Company B, the group’s strength is clearly when they perform together.
Rather Be Giraffes started with an Ed Sheeran medley, which was faithful to Sheeran’s originals in that it was hard to tell the difference between songs as they transitioned. RBG then performed a rendition of Ariana Grande’s “Greedy,” with a solo performance from Denise Nalibotsky ’20, supplemented by some sassy choreography.
The next guest group was Northeastern University’s Pitch Please, performing Yebba Smith’s “My Mind,” Jon Bellion’s “Waves of Loneliness” and Emeli Sandé’s “Hurt.” Pitch Please’s versions were incredibly bare, allowing the audience to clearly hear the vocals.
Starving Artists delivered the follow-up to Pitch Please, with performances of Sam Smith’s “Nirvana” and Amber Run’s “I Found.” On “Nirvana,” Isidora Filipovic ’18 and Brian Rauch ’19 dueted, with complementing harmonies from the rest of the group, often to create a wall of sound.
The last guest group, the Simmons College Sirens, performed its set next. The Sirens sang Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield,” Milck’s “Quiet” and Jess Glynne’s “Take Me Home.”
“Lovapalooza’s” host group, VoiceMale, performed a medley of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” and “Hey Jude” and Panic! At the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor.” Soloists Marek Haar ’20 and Ben Astrachan ’19 sang notes from the depths which rose to soaring falsettos.
“Lovapalooza’s” assorted performances were a great way to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit and gave Brandeis a new twist on the holiday’s classic songs.