Akfest Action

Akfest was worth every penny that I may or may not have paid for it. Group leader senior Ryan Joyce made his sweeping hand gestures with equal parts rigor and precision, leading the group in familiar songs such as “Soul to Squeeze” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Ants Marching” by The Dave Matthews Band and “Two Coins” by Dispatch, as well as a few new arrangements, including “Faith” by George Michael (I would like to personally thank whoever added this), “Us” by Regina Spektor and “Thinking of You” by Katy Perry.

“I’m mainly the one in charge of picking songs for the show,” Joyce said. “I sort through all the songs that are already in our repertoire and then people arrange new songs and I go through those with the exec board.”

Soloists included Joyce, senior Chris Nulty, junior Liysa Mendels, senior Mike Goltzman, junior Tim Burkly and freshman Chloe Nwangwu, whose rendition of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” was nothing short of divine, even if I was sitting behind the speakers. While performing a solo in front of such a large audience is undoubtedly a bit jarring, the first two rows of the chapel seemed to be filled with people who were more than happy to cheer loud enough to fend off stage fright.

“Those are our alumni,” Joyce said. “They come back every year for Akfest, so we always block off the first two rows for them. A lot of them actually graduated before we were freshmen, but we know them all through their continued involvement with the Resos.”

The concert also featured a skit in which Resos “newbie” Tim Burkly began to serenade fellow newbie first-year Fatima Sowe with a questionable love song while accompanying himself on an equally questionable acoustic guitar. Sowe stopped him midway, grabbed the guitar and very deliberately smashed it on the chair behind him. “What are you doing?” Sowe yelled, holding the broken guitar in her hand. “This is a capella!” For a moment, I thought violence was about to break out, and I started to cry a little bit. That was the end of the skit, though, and no one got hurt. Joyce laughed when I mention the skit to him. “That was probably the high point of the show for me,” he said.

“The concert’s actually kind of a big blur,” Joyce said. “I get so intent on keeping time that I wind up having really patchy memories of the whole thing.”

That’s okay, though, Joyce informed me, because Akfest gets recorded every year by Ed Volmer and everyone in the group gets a copy. For those of you that aren’t in the know, Ed Volmer is Hamilton’s leading sound-man and, more importantly, my next-door neighbor.

“It was great to be onstage with so many talented singers,” junior Emily Busch said. “Both the current Resos and the alumni in the audience gave the performance a lot of energy.”

“I totally remembered all my lines,” senior Jon Miller-Meeks said. “Which is always a plus.”

Well, I had a grand time at the concert and look forward to seeing the Resos again during graduation weekend.

“That concert might already be sold out,” Joyce laughed, when I mentioned it. “I’m not sure, though.”