This weekend was UMBC’s 4th Annual Acapacalypse – a fun night of acapella. This year’s showcase featured UMBC’s all-girl acapella group “The Stilettos”, the Johns Hopkins “Mental Notes” and was hosted by the final group, UMBC’s super-popular “Mama’s Boys.”
The night opened with what the show’s emcee (the Mama’s Boys Director) called the “world premiere” of UMBC’s new all-girl acapella group. Called “The Stilettos”, the girls came out on stage dressed in cute black dresses and of course high heels. Though the group only did two songs to open the show, both were entertaining and well performed for the group’s first time out. They opened with “Time of a Season.” The song went pretty well, with only a few sour notes here and there, but their energy was great and they pulled the audience in to enjoy the song right along with them. Their next song was Michelle Branch’s “All You Wanted.” The nerves were definitely nowhere in sight for this performance as every note was hit well, and the soloist brought the house down with her ability to hit the high notes so clearly. With only a semester of practice under their belts, the girls definitely showed they have real potential to take on the “Mama’s Boys” as UMBC’s crowd favorite.
Next up were the Hopkins “Mental Notes.” This co-ed group came out emblazoned with wild Hawaiin print shirts and instantly brought fun to the night as they opened with a hilarious comedic song. This group intertwined their comedy numbers with some traditional pop music as the second song choice was “Hey Girl.” Sung extremely well by the soloist, the sung was a great transition into the next comedic choice of “Boob Fairy.” This song (about a girl who’s never visited by the boob fairy) left the audience in stitches – and as audience participation was requested made everyone join in and pretend they were an acacpella singer too. The group’s third song was “On The Radio” which, again, was extremely well sung by the soloist but with an extra comedic twist. The group closed their set with “Kiss the Girl,” complete with all the animal sounds that so wonderfully accompany the movie version. (Another routine that kept the audience laughing.) Overall the Mental Notes were a huge hit with the UMBC crowd, and showed off their vocal chops as they turned in a top-notch performance.
The last group of the night to perform was the host – the UMBC Mama’s Boys. An all-male acapella group that’s been around for several years, this group always draws a big crowd and is a campus favorite. Dressed in suit jackets and jeans the Mama’s Boys opened with a mash-up mix of “Complicated” and “Apologize.” Surprisingly, the two went together nicely and the boys hit every note. With a much longer set then the other groups (a perk of playing host) the Mama’s Boys showed their vocal range as well as their comedic range, throwing in a few funny songs here and there. There were a few highlights throughout the set – the first coming from a brand new member of the group as he was the featured soloist on “How to Save a Life.” This was actually the group’s overall best song and for a new guy, the soloist was amazing. (The veterans better watch out – he could be taking over.) Another good highlight was the group’s comedic performance with “Best Mix Tape.” Exploring the joy of having a great mix tape from an old girlfriend, the song was funny, but still allowed the soloist to show off his vocal chops. The only hitch in the program was the song “Sugar We’re Going Down.” The soloist did all he could, but the Boys have been trying for years to get this one right and we’re not sure why but it just doesn’t work. After the group had finished their set they made a surprise announcement and asked the Stilettos to join them onstage. What resulted was a hilarious and enthusiastic rendition of Flo Rida’s “Low.” That’s right – an acapella group took on a hip-hop song. We were surpised too – not only did they try something completely foreign to the acapella world, but they did it well! It was actually the perfect way to end the show as the audience loved the mixed group performance and everyone sounded great.
If you’ve never been to an acapella show, you have to go see one. They’re always fun and casual, and the performances might surprise you with how good they can be. Acapella is quickly becoming a college trend – so you should definitely try and make it out to a show. And with so many groups on every campus, there’s bound to be one that blows you away.