On Friday evening, Vocal Point treated UR to its fall show, comprised of a wide variety of songs, as well as a guest performance by Elizabethtown College’s premiere all-male a cappella group, Phalanx. Both groups showcased their talents to the best of their abilities with a superior selection of songs that were well-received by the outstanding turnout.
Vocal Point opened up its initial act with two slower, laid-back songs, “Wishin’ I Was There,” by Natalie Imbruglia, and “Strength, Courage and Wisdom,” by India.Arie. The soloist for Imbruglia’s song, junior Bonnie Jarrett, and her accompanying vocalist struggled to harmonize a bit, but the background music, especially the beat-boxing, was outstanding.
Sophomore Amanda Averack performed “Strength, Courage and Wisdom” modestly; she has a very pleasant voice but seemed to lack the ability to project herself throughout the song. Her background accompaniment could have easily drowned her out, as her voice was on key, but not strong. I would have preferred a more upbeat start to the show, rather than two fairly low-key songs.
Next, the girls of VP performed a signature song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” by Marvin Gaye, featuring senior Naomi Takagi. Takagi has an amazingly strong voice; she projected herself through the entire room, capturing the audience and receiving numerous well-deserved cheers throughout her performance.
Following the opening three songs was Phalanx, an extremely talented group of men who were fun to watch and a pleasure to listen to. Their first song was Ben Harper’s “Steal My Kisses,” followed by Howie Day’s “Collide.” I absolutely love the original version of this song (and henceforth am biased to any group of men who want to sing it to me), but was slightly unimpressed with Phalanx’s rendition of it.
The lead voice was too deep and “twangy” for the song, not matching well with Day’s voice.
Phalanx’s next song, “My Ding-A-Ling,” was an enormous hit with the crowd. The song features a key chorus of “I want you to play with my ding-a-ling,” referring to a child’s toy but with obvious sexual undertones. The boys claimed that this song is usually reserved to feature their newest members, for obvious personal reasons. Needless to say, the crowd went wild. The song was absolutely hilarious and actually performed with great skill. The piece really showcased the range in voices of a number of members of the group and was topped off by a humorous striptease and woman’s lingerie costume. It was an overall great number in their act, which they concluded with Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl.” Overall, Phalanx was a fairly impressive and talented group; I enjoyed their portion of the show immensely.
Senior Kristy Doot brought Vocal Point back with the Dixie Chicks’ song “I Like It.” As always, Doot’s exceptional voice seized the audience and awed listeners; her strong singing voice was unmatched that evening. She later performed “On a Midnight Train to Georgia,” which was likewise well received by attendants to the show.
“One Fine Day” by The Shirelles was performed by Vocal Point’s “newbies,” freshmen Samantha Levine and Amanda Perlman. The girls rose to the challenge and stole the spotlight. If these two young women were at all nervous, it didn’t show in the least.
They stepped up to the mic and belted out their version of “One Fine Day” with what seemed like ease and years of practice. Their voices were strong and rich; both girls gave me the impression that they were very mature singers. I look forward to seeing how these two young ladies progress as they continue to sing with Vocal Point.
In recapping the evening at intermission, I felt that I greatly enjoyed Phalanx’s performance and was intrigued by the variety of pieces that Vocal Point was performing.
I love to hear well-known songs covered, and Vocal Point was definitely offering me just that. However, I wished that some of the songs that they had chosen were a little bit more upbeat and engaged the audience a bit more.
Following intermission, senior Martha Guenther performed “Downfall,” by Matchbox 20 with ease and emotion, filling the room with her seasoned voice, and sophomore Polly Flinch followed up with Lisa Loeb’s “Stay.” Flinch has a beautiful voice and this song was definitely a perfect choice for her to show off her talents. The only thing she could have done slightly better would have been to balance herself with her background.
One of my favorite songs of the entire show was “All You Need Is Love,” by the Beatles. The girls sounded amazing, the arrangement was fitting and it was a very cute addition to the night.
One of the last songs of the evening was Ben Fold’s “Catch My Disease,” which is one of my personal favorite songs. Vocal Point’s version was moderately successful. The background was amazing; they absolutely nailed the unique tempo and sound of the song and made it seem almost like it wasn’t even a cappella. Flinch performed outstandingly again, and junior Whitney Holmes added her own deep, rich voice to the mix.
Overall, I enjoyed attending Vocal Point’s performance. The girls obviously put a lot of their time and effort into choosing their songs and striving for perfection in the performance of each.
Their performance, supplemented by the extremely cute and talented men from Elizabethtown College was a success and I encourage the rest of campus to check Vocal Point out at their holiday concert on Dec. 8.
Nicewicz is a member of the class of 2009.