Ten minutes past eight, the After Hours a capella group was on stage, clad in galaxy leggings and look-alike outfits to iconic Star Wars characters as they sang the series’ famed theme song. This, however, was the biggest connection they made to the Star Wars brand the whole night, making me wonder why it was the album release show’s namesake. The diverse song selection, senior speeches, and guest performance by The Royal Pitches from SUNY Buffalo could have stood on its own.

The first act—featuring new songs, new members, and the team’s ICCA competition set— provided a variety of songs, from CHVRCHES’ “Leave a Trace” to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.” The latter recalled a YellowJackets video that surfaced last week, which, unfortunately, did not flatter After Hours. The rendition of Sara Bareilles’ “One Sweet Love,” however, highlighted the strengths of the team as a whole.

Concerning stage presence, After Hours’ first act was accompanied by the general feeling that the team was unfamiliar with their formations. Most songs began with team members looking at one another for a few moments before starting, and the choreography at first was minimal, though it became more complex by the second act. Lighting was strong as well, though it would have better highlighted Cassidy Thompson’s solo moment while singing in the audience, had there been a light on her. Additionally, the Royal Pitches seemed uninformed on the evening’s plans as they were introduced, but then followed After Hours backstage with a “be right back” gesture, leaving the audience to wonder what was next.

The second act started with After Hours performing “Samson” by Regina Spector, which included more diverse formations and choreography. The song itself seemed to highlight many of the team members’ strengths, as well as the advantages of having a co-ed a cappella group (of which After Hours is the first on campus). However, the formation chosen was a little unsettling. While After Hours was engaging with their fans by standing in the audience and surrounding the center seating area, it also meant that they had their backs to the rest of the crowd during the song.

Overall, though, the mood between the audience and the performers was very friendly and interactive. Members onstage often responded to calls from the seats with a wink or head nod, giving the night a comfortable and fun feeling. After Hours themselves clearly had a special performance, as senior solos and speeches were given throughout the night. There were approximately nine hugs on stage, most of which involved the group as a whole, and all of which were genuinely sincere and touching.

Particularly impressive performances were given by junior Cassidy Thompson, the team’s alleged “belter,” and junior Kimberly Rouse, who sang “One Last Time” and truly elicited an impressed reaction from the crowd. The alumni song brought many past members onstage, again proving the tight-knit hold over the self-proclaimed “fAHmily.”

As a whole, the night was enjoyable. By the time After Hours was running through the Imperial March to close the show, it was clear that the members onstage had enjoyed creating the show with one another for their friends and family.

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