Voices of Soul and the Chromatones
On Saturday night at the Mandel Center for Humanities, Voices of Soul hosted an a capella concert featuring McGill University’s Chromatones. Before this performance, my only exposure to a capella was from “Pitch Perfect” and “Glee,” so I did not know what to expect. Would the event be overly dramatic and ostentatious like its fictionalized counterpart? Part of me was apprehensive as a result, but as I looked around the lecture hall, I saw dozens of eager faces waiting to listen to some hopefully high-quality a capella. Now I was expecting an insanely amazing performance. Imagine my surprise when VOS calmly walked to the front of the lecture hall and did not say a single word. Instead, they began to sing.
The performance of VOS quickly met and exceeded my expectation of high energy. The a capella group covered four soul songs that audience members could easily recognize, such as T-Pain’s “Buy U A Drank.” The songs were catchy, and I could see people in the audience bobbing their heads and tapping their feet to the beat of the a capella group’s singing. I had to fight the urge to start singing along (fortunately for the audience and everyone with ears, I was successful). Not only was the audience having fun, but it was clear to me that the singers of VOS were having a wonderful time as well. Their performances were passionate and energetic — they were smiling and moving their bodies as they sang. Overall, the set was vibrant and upbeat, despite the fact that sitting in Mandel G03 reminded me of the exams I took in that lecture hall last semester.
Halfway through the show, the Chromatones took to the stage and performed their set. While VOS sang soul songs, the Chromatones primarily sang pop songs. Besides simply singing covers of songs that the audience knew and loved and loves, the Chromatones also performed remixes and mashups. One such mashup was of two Charlie Puth songs: “Attention” and “Dangerously.” With an even more varied set, the Chromatones developed strong audience engagement. The cheering and excitement that VOS cultivated was further developed by the Chromatones’ performance. Despite performing songs in a different genre and style than VOS, the Chromatones similarly gave an energetic and crowd-pleasing performance that had the audience cheering when the singers would successfully hit higher and longer notes.
The concert was only about 45 minutes long, yet the passion of the singers radiated upon the audience, assuring that everyone would have fun and enjoy the show. The famous Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” Indeed, the performance shined brightly. Not a minute went to waste at the concert. I am thankful for VOS and the Chromatones for offering excellent performances so that I can now say that I have been to an a capella concert and enjoyed it.
—Editor’s Note: Editor Andrew Baxter is a member of Voices of Soul and did not edit or contribute to this article.