On Friday, Feb. 21, Students Helping Honduras hosted the “AcaLypmics”, a fundraising event featuring a capella performances broken up by relay races, raffle giveaways, and a fashion show in which contestants wore the newspaper you’re holding in your hand. While the convergence of a capella and Olympic games was executed as clumsily as the event’s title would suggest, we take these judgments with a grain of salt and run on the (ignorant?) assumption that Honduras, a nation with one of the highest homicide rates in the world, appreciates UR’s money-raising effort in sending over students to provide a helping hand. Thus, even when “AcaLypmics” fundraising attractions included a hamster-dance twerking contest that had half the audience clapping on the one and three beats, it’s small potatoes.
The “AcaLympics” showcased three of UR’s student acapella groups: the all-male Midnight Ramblers, the all-female Vocal Point, and a new co-ed group, Trebellious. Song choices among all groups, as expected, came from the 21st century pop songbook. This is by no means an insult, as performances nicely touched upon pockets of modern pop history. Vocal Point brought back to life the derelict Disney-pop of years past with their performances of the Jonas Brothers’ “Burning Up” and Demi Lovato’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Trebellious paid homage to workout music, performing last year’s Avicii hit “Wake Me Up” along with an impressively ambitious mash-up of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” and The Bravery’s “Believe”. The Midnight Ramblers, performing Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”, did justice to the grandiose R&B bangers that even the most ardent hipsters admit is pretty good, or at least well-produced.
The musical performances were enjoyable. A capella groups displayed a genuine excitement to perform, and the audience reciprocated that energy (certainly not hurt by the SDT sorority’s presence in the audience as Vocal Point’s groupies). The Olympic side of the “AcaLympics”, on the other hand, was a hit-or-miss affair. One game, in which MC’s picked a word and a capella groups had to think up songs with that word in it, was fun and engaging. Other challenges, like the frantic relay race involving hula-hoops and lots of newspaper, offered more confusion than thrill, and the audience was ready to call it a night by the time a tie was declared and relay race round two had begun. Still, to heavily critique the entertainment value of the “AcaLympics” games is to miss the point. The challenges, like the musical performances, brought UR students together, raising money and awareness for – to complete the phrase with a painful but appropriate cliché – “a good cause”.
If the 2014 Sochi Olympic ring faux pas is any indication, the real Olympics, in all its grossly epic glory, buckles under the weight of its own ambition. In the case of UR’s 2014 “AcaLympics”, the four (yes, there were four) plywood rings that graced the stage exposed the event for what it was: an earnest if forgivably haphazard testament to UR students and their pride for each other, their talents, and their ability to change the world.
Howard is a member of
the class of 2017.