Over this frightfully cold weekend, one of UR’s all-male a cappella groups, the Midnight Ramblers, hosted another dynamic show featuring Transit, a professional five-man vocal band.
On Saturday, at 15 minutes to 8 p.m., I trekked the snow clad sidewalks of the River Campus to my destination: Strong Auditorium. I was going to attend my first Midnight Ramblers concert, which to some may seem shocking since I am a second semester senior.
But to the credit of the Midnight Ramblers, they lured me to their show through a creative PR tactic they call “Dorm Storming.” This event usually takes place in the various freshmen dorms and sorority floors.
Several days before the show, the men of the Midnight Ramblers crowded my lounge on Wilder 6, to sing a revue for 20 sorority girls who welcomed them with open arms.
“The Midnight Ramblers were so fun and lively,” sophomore Alicia Graser said. “Having them come to our floor made them that much more personable.” Impressed, I finally decided to schedule the Midnight Ramblers into my Saturday night.
The auditorium was packed. I could not believe the turnout. In my experience, UR students aren’t the most engaged when it comes to on-campus activities, but this show certainly shattered my preconceived notions.
The lights finally dimmed and the show was on its way. I heard loud shouting and wondered where it was coming from before noticing the Ramblers running down the aisles of the auditorium and the jubilant cheering from the audience.
After a somewhat shaky start, the Midnight Ramblers finally got into their groove. The auditorium was overflowing with people who were locked in a trance-like gaze, many of them devoted fans, chanting the name of their favorite Rambler. I had no idea that they had such a cult following.
“I love the Midnight Ramblers; they are definitely my favorite group on the UR campus and they’re fun to look at too,” sophmore Bridgitte Mott said.
Their humorous interpretive dancing and audience interaction kept the crowd going. I thoroughly enjoyed the solo performances from senior Kenny Lotito and freshman Matt Myers. They showed the amazing vocal talents that compose this performing group.
The last song for the Midnight Ramblers was my personal favorite rendition of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” performed by senior Matt Roe. I sat amazed, wondering how Roe managed to pull off those high notes and grooving dance moves.
The concert also featured Transit, an all-male a cappella group made up of Joseph Bates, Nick Lyons, Dave Sperandio, Brent Stephens and James Wallace. They have been performing for about a year and half and are highly acclaimed in the a cappella world.
These five guys certainly brought the house down. Their performances of John Legend’s “Used to Love You” and KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree” appealed to the mainstream pop and R&B loving UR students.
This was a first for the Midnight Ramblers to pay for a professional group to perform with them. Part of the package included workshops with Transit earlier in the day.
“Transit was amazing,” Roe said. “They taught us new and creative vocal techniques and really energized us before the show.”
Not only did they give a powerful performance, but Transit was extremely amusing and funny- the audience was continuously laughing along with their slightly sexist jokes, which were mainly directed at their attractive, young percussionist, James Wallace.
The finale featured both performing groups on stage singing in harmony and genuinely enjoying themselves. My overall reaction to the show was that despite it being a tad bit too long for my taste, it was great to see the Midnight Ramblers showcased and supported. The amazing turnout from the devoted fans only reiterated how beloved the Midnight Ramblers are at UR.
The Midnight Ramblers will soon be embarking on an International Tour to London, England. Their tour will include several high school gigs and plenty of street performances at various London hot spots such as Covent Garden and Portobella Market. As representatives of UR and American musical talent in general, we bid them good luck and cheers!
Han is a member ofthe class of 2007.