On Saturday, Nov. 17, Strong Auditorium was jam-packed to capacity with what felt like every student on campus, along with parents, staff and friends for the Midnight Ramblers’ fall show.
“I was totally floored by the turnout at the show,” said musical director and junior Nick Hamlin. “We have such an incredible and supportive fan base here at Rochester. ”
The Ramblers are a well-known, well-liked, all-male contemporary a cappella group that was founded in 1998 by Jonathan Huang `00. Huang created the group with two crucial principles in mind which still hold true today: performance and innovation.
In the course of nine years, the Ramblers have produced six full-length studio albums and just released their seventh entitled “Manifesto!”
The Ramblers provided an assortment of entertaining pieces during Saturday’s concert, ranging from modern hits to classic oldies. Sophomore Chris Aguilar performed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song.
The group followed with “Just What I Needed” by The Cars. Shortly after, surprise guest group Premium Blend from Ithaca College lit up the stage with their original dance moves and fresh voices.
Freshman Andrew Polec provided the audience with an enthusiastic rendition of “Say Anything” by Cartel.
“Andrew was the perfect pick to sing the song by Cartel,” said freshman Claudia Marosz. “I was incredibly shocked that this was his debut, seeing as he sings like a longtime Rambler. I would have never known that he was a new member by his sense of comfort and high energy level. The audience simply loved him.”
Jeff Le performed Journey’s “Open Arms” next, which was followed by a common favorite, “What Goes Around…Comes Around” by Justin Timberlake, with a phenomenal solo by sophomore Matt Myers.
The integration of crescendos and decrescendos along with the impeccable ability of the Ramblers to sing in unison allowed for nothing less than an extraordinary performance.
Freshman Paul Alperin made a beautiful debut in “The Times They are A’ Changin” by Bob Dylan and Phil Collins, as his powerful voice echoed throughout the auditorium. And several students recognized Next Fall Out Boy’s “Golden” with soloist senior Ben Fusco-Gessick.
The smooth transitions made between such fast-paced songs to slow, melodious songs created a comfortable feeling of admiration for the a cappella group.
Right before intermission, everyone was happily stunned to hear the Ramblers’ own version of Kanye West’s “The Good Life.” This rap song, mixed with a catchy chorus, had people smiling and singing along to soloist Hamlin and accompanist senior Josh Hatcher.
Fusco-Gessick’s voice could easily be mistaken for the lead singer of Panic! At the Disco’s in the song “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” which is being featured on the nationally-acclaimed “Best of College A Capella CD.” A jazzy mood was added to the evening when Michael Buble’s “Home” was sung by Paul Alperin.
The slow, flowing feel of the piece relaxed people for the next song, in which Bobby displayed his gorgeous, sensual voice with “Wind Cries Mary” by Jamie Cullum and Jimi Hendrix. Next, sophomore Mike Hanley showed us his skills with a solo in the song “To the Woman” by Tammany Hall.
And all the Spanish majors in the audience were delightfully thrilled to hear Aguilar perform and dance to “La Camisa Negra” by Juanes.
Once again, a different yet refreshingly captivating change occurred when Josh Groban’s “You Are Loved” was performed – soloist Myers belted it out astoundingly. Le kept the energy flowing strong with his solo in the final song “Vehicle” by Ides of March.
Finally, the Ramblers invited alumni to participate on stage and left the crowd standing and clapping enthusiastically along to “Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam.
“People on campus can expect big things from the Ramblers in the near future, since we’ll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this spring,” said Hamlin. “We’ll be having a huge anniversary concert on Saturday, April 12, which will feature a ton of new songs as well as performances by Ramblers alumni, including the founding members.
We’ve been looking forward to this show for a long time, and we’re so pumped to have everyone back together again. In the meantime, we’re also in the planning stages of another event sometime in the first part of next semester, but I can’t give out any details on that because we haven’t figured them out ourselves. Whatever we come up with, I promise it’ll be an awesome time.”
Miller is a member of the class of 2011.