The A Cappella Winter Jam Hits A High Note

Dania Rustom, Opinion Editor

Here’s what preparing a captivating a cappella performance includes: picking three to four songs to arrange; creating different harmonies, dynamics, and choreography; rehearsing extensively; carefully balancing unique voices to create the perfect performance.

For almost four long months, CRLS a cappella groups Sassafras, Fermata Nowhere, Pitches and Do’s, and Note to Self did exactly that. With almost daily 7:00 AM rehearsals and weekend practices, each group practiced their setlist to perfection. Pitches and Do’s member Alaan Clarke ’25 briefly emphasized this extensive effort to the Register Forum: “Even though I barely get through each semester, a cappella is so worth it!” This hard work certainly paid off as the groups amazed the audience at the Fitzgerald Theatre during the December 17th A Cappella Jam.

The groups amazed the audience at the Fitzgerald Theatre.

Sassafras, the only all-treble group, opened the show with their renditions of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, “When We Were Young” by Adele, and “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, implementing seamless transitions between each song. Soloist Faye Burke ’23 recounted her experience as a new member to the Register Forum : “Right before going on, we did a group huddle and chanted to hype ourselves up which gave me the perfect boost of adrenaline to carry me through the performance.”

A similar sentiment surrounding the supportive backstage environment was shared by emcee Emile Sater ’23. He recalled to the Register Forum, “The friendliness of the environment surrounding the different groups, especially how everyone was singing and dancing along backstage, felt very comforting and definitely relieved a lot of my anxiety.”

Fermata Nowhere performed next in their third ever winter jam. They excited the audience with Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Taylor Swift’s “Champagne Problems.” Ending with One Direction’s “Drag Me Down,” they cleared the stage for the next group.

Pitches and Do’s had an especially engaging and theatrical performance, with many members participating in the theater department. Starting with the already lively “Bubble Pop Electric” by Gwen Stefani, Pitches and Do’s continuously immersed the audience with memorable renditions of “Right Back Where We Started From” by Maxine Nightingale, “Archie Marry Me” by Flyte, and popular favorite “Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean.

For the first time since 2019, the A Cappella Winter Jam reintroduced guest performers.

Note to Self started off strong with “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd ft. Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift’s “Delicate.” Known for their exciting mashups, they impressed with a mix of “Raindrops (an angel cried)” by Ariana Grande and “An Angel Cried” by The Four Seasons. Note to Self member Catalina Lozada ’25 explained her experience to the Register Forum: “I took a chance and tried something new … The jam helped me step out of my comfort zone while having so much fun doing something I love.”

For the first time since 2019, the A Cappella Winter Jam reintroduced guest performers. This year, Lexington High School’s Noteworthy performed an excellent rendition of “Line Without a Hook” by Ricky Montgomery and “No Time to Die” by Billie Eilish, which the audience was excited to see.

 Just as everyone thought the show was over, the four groups emerged together for their final program song, “Blame it on the Boogie” by the Jacksons. With the help of emcees Sater and Hailey McLaughlin ’23, and an exhilarating beatboxing battle halfway through the show, the a cappella program’s winter jam was yet again an incredibly successful and memorable night.

This article also appears in our January 2023 print edition.