Multimedia Acapellooza

“Thank you for taking the first steps to improve the lives of the a cappella deprived,” senior Marisa Monroe deadpanned in the opening scene of a video about the Cappella Corps that began Acappellooza 2008 last Friday. Even though the movie was a parody, the Colgate Dischords’ multi-media performance in front of a packed audience in the Persson Auditorium did indeed improve the lives of the a cappella deprived, as the singers brought their love of singing to the masses.

Between the nine songs the Dischords performed throughout the night, the co-ed a cappella troupe showed segments of a video advertising the (fake) Cappella Corps. Just like the Peace Corps, the Cappella Corps is dedicated to helping the underprivileged. In this case, however, instead of traveling to Thailand or Armenia, the Cappella singers visit the library, the Coop and the downtown Subway to spread their gift of song to unsuspecting bystanders, Candid Camera–style.

Showing off the Dischords’ acting chops as well as their sense of humor, the Cappella Corps video provided a glimpse into how the singers train (by running stairs until someone pulls a vocal chord), commune with nature (by chasing Adam and Eve near Taylor Lake) and conduct exhaustive interviews (by brutally criticizing a potential member’s shoe choice). The video kept the audience laughing, particularly when the Cappella Corps’ call from across the campus pulled one singer away from her own marriage proposal. The clips not only set the tone for the light and fun atmosphere of the night, but also served as a testament to how much the Dischords enjoy singing and performing.

Senior Laura Kavanaugh explained that after seeing an improvisation group in Binghamton create a spoof on DARE last fall, the Dischords were inspired to try their hand at the same type of humor. She said that while Monroe created the script for the film, most of the scenes were improvisation, involving roommates, friends and of course, random people around the Colgate campus. Kavanaugh highlighted senior Ryan Dunbar’s comedic timing as a key part of the video.

“He’s our go-to theater guy,” Kavanaugh said.

Decked out in suits and formal black dresses, the Dischord singers received cat calls as they took the stage to sing in between clips of the Cappella Corps video. As the Dischords sang, a PowerPoint slide shone behind them, listing the theme of the song, the song name and artist, as well as name the student soloist. The 17-member troupe harmonized and performed choreographed dance moves, ensuring that the singing portions of the night were just as entertaining as the video clips.

Drawing on songs from the ’70s-“Carry On” by Crosby, Stills, and Nash-to the 2000s-“Either Way” by Guster-the Dischords showcased their range across a variety of styles. The beat in the background of Savage Garden’s ’90s classic “I Want You,” with a solo by junior Winnie Hu, got the audience moving in their seats, and first-year Annie Smola’s solo on Mika’s “Happy Ending” received a huge ovation. Sophomore Kevin Gillard’s solo on the Verve Pipe’s tear-jerker “Freshman” was accompanied by photos of the Dischord singers when they were merely first-years, eliciting a round of awws from the audience.

“The idea behind mixing the two different types of media was creative, and it was really entertaining to get to see video clips and hear a cappella all in one show,” sophomore Madeleine MacNeil said.

Living up to its billing as an event that would “take a cappella to the next level,” Acappellooza 2008 presented comedy and music, images and sound, certainly offering something for everyone.