March 29, 2020

A capella groups unite at Pitchfest

A capella groups from local colleges bond over music. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)
A capella groups from local colleges bond over music. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)

By Julia Dzurillay
Staff Writer

Aaliyah Jordan, the musical director of a capella group the Monmouth Seasharps, felt a mixture of nervousness and excitement as she waited offstage. Her group was missing a few singers, but they had rehearsed these songs for hours beforehand. When the moment came, she marched up to the front of the makeshift stage in the Brower Student Center and smiled at a room packed full of people.

This was not Jordan’s first time at the College, but it was her first time performing here. She adjusted the microphones for her a capella group as shades of blue and purple bounced across a handmade banner behind them reading, “Pitchfest: Presented by The Trentones.”

The College’s first ever “Pitchfest,” an a capella music festival, was held on Saturday, Feb. 24, and featured a capella groups from colleges such as Rutgers University, Rowan University, Monmouth University and West Chester University.

“We just wanted to thank the Trentones for inviting us, it’s such an honor hearing other groups sing,” Jordan said as she introduced her group to the audience.

A few “awws” escaped from members of the Trentones, seated off to the side.

“(The Trentones) are so talented,” Jordan said. “We all have such a deep appreciation for them as musicians and it’s just nice to know that we’re friends first and competitors second.”

The Trentones opened the show with an arrangement of “Ain’t Got Far to Go” by Jess Glynne, featuring soloist Irene Yoon, a sophomore deaf education and biology major. Her smooth vocals captivated the audience with the first few notes. When asked how she prepares to sing solo, Yoon laughed.

“I feel like if I practice too much, I psych myself out,” Yoon said. “I listen to the original sometimes, to grab a piece of inspiration.”

The standout soloists from the evening, however, came from Deep Treble, Rutgers University’s self-described “premier co-ed a cappella group.”

Kathryna Caparino shined during the group’s rendition of “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce, then Jannae Johnson’s powerful vocals came through clean and clear during the group’s cover of “I Want You Back” by The Jackson Five. Johnny Ferreira followed up Johnson’s effortless recital with a fantastic performance of “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen that would have made Freddie Mercury proud.

Junior music education major Joseph Ahn hosted a beatbox battle during the event. Ahn has been the beatboxer for the Trentones since his freshman year.

West Chester University’s co-ed acapella group, Under a Rest, delivered a spirited performance before the Trentones stepped up to their home stage to perform the last few songs of the evening.

The Trentones performed their brand new International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella setlist, complete with smooth transitions and stunning choreography.

“My favorite (song to perform) is probably ‘Walk on Water.’ It’s just so dynamic and in your face and it’s fun to let everything go at the end of our set,” Ahn said.“We’ve known RoVo and the Seasharps from the ICCA competition two years ago and we’ve had a constant back and forth of wanting to visit each other since, so it’s nice to finally have them here for Pitchfest.”

“We’re so glad that we’re starting this tradition this year,” said Madelyn Curtin, a senior music education major and the music director of the Trentones.

After the Trentones finished, they were given a standing ovation from the other a capella groups, as well as the audience.

“Thanks so much for having us, Trentones,” said Cristina Espinosa, president of Monmouth University’s Seasharps. “You’re perfect, you’re beautiful!”

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