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Singin’ in the Snow: A Cappella Jam Entertains

Sophie Harrington, Contributing Writer

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On the snowy evening of Saturday, December 9th, the Fitzgerald Theatre was packed for the annual CRLS Winter A Cappella Jam at 7:00 PM. The stage was graced with singers from all six of CRLS’ a cappella groups, the “Pitch Pipes” from Arlington High School, and the “Vocal Suspects” from UMASS Amherst.

To kick off the night, students, faculty, and parents alike were welcomed to the show by two of CRLS’ senior track stars, Pilli Cruz-deJesus and Jeffrey Chen. After a few jokes, the pair welcomed CRLS’ “Girls Next Door” to the stage. GND kicked off the night with soloists Hanna Norris ‘18 and Honor O’Shaughnessy ‘19 singing Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.”

Both Norris and O’Shaughnessy performed with grace, adding charm to the neo-soul hit. The group then performed “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna, with senior Maggie LaMaster taking a commanding solo, and they concluded their set with a Jason Derulo medley. As senior Lila Lifton said on stage, “Who doesn’t love Jason Derulo?”

Following the GND were the “Pitch Pipes,” an all-male group. They sang a Mumford and Sons medley, medley and then “Black and Gold” by Sam Sparro. The audience ate the group up with whooping and cheering after their two songs. The group truly had perfect pitch, and their tonal range was amazing. It’s too bad they don’t perform Singing Valentines.

Junior Harry MacArthur watched the show and said that although he enjoyed the Pitch Pipes’s performance, “Only one kid had his pants cuffed, so that took away from the entire experience.”

“Falcon Fortes,” Dr. Stefanov’s fourth period a cappella class, performed next. The group surprised the audience with their liveliness when freshman Victoria Heitzmann jumped off the stage at the end of the first song to sing to people sitting in the front row. For their second song, the group paid tribute to former boy band One Direction, singing “Drag Me Down.”

This year CRLS added two new a cappella groups to the program, including “Transpositions.” Both freshman Blue Rowe and sophomore Zoe Haber soloed for the Transpositions in “Heaven” by the infamous Youtube star Troye Sivan, and they captivated the audience with their second song, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. Audience members clapped along and the choreography was refreshing, adding a bit of theatricality that was fun to watch.

Jasper Duval ‘19, one of the founders of “Transpositions,” created the group “as a way for transgender students to have their own space. [Project 10 East] is a space for everyone, and while that’s really nice as a place, generally, there is a lack of exclusionary safe spaces.” Duval continued, “I’m really proud of my group; I think we did fantastic.”

The last group to perform before intermission was CRLS’ very own “Sassafrass.” They sang “Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes and Alicia Keys’s “Fallin.” The song choices showcased the group’s widespread talent, from the challenging 60s rhythms to the powerful and moving vocals. The group truly lived up to its name with its performance of CeeLo Green’s hit “Forget You,” which was full of  humor, charisma, and—of course—sass.  Seniors Kyla Frieden, Jahnavi Zondervan, and Caroline Workman soloed, as well as sophomores Teesa Manandhar, Zara Gounden, and Claire Wright.

After a quick intermission, the show continued with CRLS’ “Pitches and Dos.” The group walked on stage sporting a warm color scheme of reds and yellows. To start off the set, juniors (and cousins) Vera Targoff and Harry Greenblatt eased us into Imagine Dragons’s “Believer,” which was followed by the solid, steady vocals of sophomore Max Hunter in “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers. Finally, they performed a mashup of Lil Wayne’s “How to Love” and Queen B’s “Love on Top,” which the group creatively named “How to Love on Top.” The mashup featured CRLS’ new senior Elvira Horvei from Norway and senior James Kubicek.

To spice up the show, there was a brief pause on the singing for a beatbox competition between members of the various groups. Although no winner was announced, it was clear senior Nat Ruiz owned the stage. “Tonal Eclipse,” the second of Rindge’s new groups, was the last CRLS group to go on. The majority of the group were underclassmen, and their bravery to perform in front of a large audience was commendable.

To top off the night, UMASS Amherst’s “Vocal Suspects” strutted onto the stage to perform several songs, including an original hit. The powerhouse vocals in the first song drew audience members in, and dynamic backing vocals carried the song. There was not a moment of boredom during their set. One of the members of Vocal Suspects was none other than CRLS alumna Liz Kubicek ’15. Her solo in the group’s last song was flawless—the Fitzgerald Theatre has missed her presence.

All in all, the show was a success, according to Kyla Freiden, the senior a cappella program leader. On the importance of a cappella, Freiden commented, “There’s something about creating all the sound from scratch that really brings a group together. A cappella is so much about connecting with one another, and I think the program offers singers a great way to come together.”

This piece also appears in our December print edition.

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Singin’ in the Snow: A Cappella Jam Entertains