How do you describe a night of ‘Project Runway,” cross-dressing and a cappella? Wildly entertaining.

On Saturday Nov. 15, when I arrived in Strong Auditorium at about 7:20 p.m. for the Midnight Ramblers’ fall show, scheduled to start at 8 p.m., the theater was already nearly one-third full. My friends and I were astonished at how many people had already filled the seats and overheard someone in the row behind us say that tickets sold out earlier that evening by 6 p.m. Evidently, most students anticipated just how entertaining the concert would be that night.

The theme of the evening was ‘Project Ramblers,” a take-off on the hit Bravo television show, ‘Project Runway,” featuring Heidi Klum. Incidentally, Heidi made several appearances throughout the concert, although she may have been carrying a bit more testosterone in her blood stream than usual. Video segments in between sets documented the journey of designers sophomore Andrew Polec, freshman Noah Berg and sophomore Paul Alperin being mentored by a tipsy Tim Gunn, portrayed by junior Alex Perry and both physically and verbally assaulted by Heidi (really junior Matt Myers).

The segments served to add more comedy to the event and gave the performers’ voices a rest and allowed for any set/costume changes. The continual changes in wardrobe the Ramblers made added spice to the evening and helped hold the audience’s interest. In all, there were four costume changes: first, all donned black and white; then, purple tees with the words ‘Midnight Ramblers” inscribed in gold vertically on the front and back; next, a mix of costumes from the ‘Runway” segments; and finally, the classic ‘Midnight Ramblers” baseball jerseys.

The concert commenced with an energetic opening that made fans ecstatic. Adamant admirers gave a standing ovation after nearly every segment the Ramblers did, stimulating the energy of the crowd. It was clear that the enthusiasm in the auditorium was infectious, and it certainly spread to the Ramblers as they hurtled to their last song before intermission, ‘Disturbia.”

Myers brought the meaning of this song to a whole new level with his interpretation. A few lines into the song, he removed his Heidi Klum dress to reveal a fishnet leotard and spandex that had been hidden underneath. Although it was certainly shocking and a bit alarming, I can’t say it wasn’t appropriate in accord with the song.

A few songs ensued by the Skidmore Accents, an all-female a cappella group from neighboring Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The singing was lively and the main soloist in particular was excellent, with a belt reminiscent of Beyonc. The subject was peppy, and one song particularly well-received by the audience had a soloist matter-of-fact sing ‘Let’s Talk About Sex,” making it seem suitable material for a grade-school classroom.

After an introduction by Ramblers member and senior Nick Hamlin, the world-renowned a cappella group FORK took the stage by storm. Their black leather and sequins accented the star quality of their music. With an onstage recorder and distortions made by their sound manager, FORK created immensely unique sounds that heightened the quality of their songs. Most of their repertoire included classic songs that everyone could sing along to, including ‘Thriller,” ‘Ice Ice Baby,” ‘Shot to the Heart” and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In addition to their dress and portions of distorted singing, choreographed movements greatly enhanced the effect of their performance. The group encouraged audience participation with singing along and dancing, which added to the zestful atmosphere present throughout the evening.

After intermission, there were more performances by FORK and the Ramblers. Despite FORK’s fame and talent, it was clear that the Ramblers were the audience favorite for the evening. As always, the concert closed with the Ramblers inviting any Ramblers alumni in the audience to join them onstage and sing ‘Kiss Him Goodbye.” The Ramblers sprinted offstage after their bows, which mirrored their entrance into the theater earlier and made their performance complete.

Each part of the program moved quickly, and there were no lulls. The more subdued songs in the concert were not tedious, but melodic and a nice contrast to the vigor of most of the other songs performed.

Although the concert was fairly lengthy, with intermission at 9:30 p.m. and the final song ending around 11 p.m., it was well worth the time spent.

Dickerson is a member of the class of 2012.



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