'Harmony' strikes chord with campus crowd

The sixth annual "Harmony for Hope" a cappella concert took place this past Friday, Feb. 15, with profits benefiting AIDS Rochester, a nonprofit organization serving the Finger Lakes region. $1,000 was raised during the two-hour show, sponsored by Circle K.

N.A.R.D., Hips 'n Harmony, Southside Boys and Exit 8 performed to a large crowd in Wadsworth auditorium. Except for N.A.R.D., who appeared on stage sporadically throughout the concert, each group performed two sets.

N.A.R.D., a goofy barbershop quartet made up of seniors Nick Moran, Alex MacDonald, Rob Line and Dave Gordon, opened the concert with a skit in which they played a group of stereotypical German men. While wearing pantaloons and eating schnitzel, they sang "Zipadeedoodah" from Disney's Song of the South.

Later in the night, N.A.R.D. performed "Weird Al" Yankovic's "One More Minute" and a medley from Disney's The Jungle Book. As usual, the quartet was both funny and musically solid.

Hips 'n Harmony, a women's choir whose songs ranged from bouncy classic pop songs to sad, contemplative ballads, also gave a strong performance. Their strongest song was certainly Sarah Slean's "Sweet Ones." Like all of their other songs, it featured one talented soloist, senior Beth Carcich. However, it also contained a beautifully slow, harmonic full choir section. In this refrain, the group's aptitude as an ensemble was evident.

The third group to perform was Southside Boys, a larger, all men's choir. They opened, as is their custom, with an energetic rendition of "Good Ol' A Cappella." They then transitioned to a more serious piece: a medley of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Find the Cost of Freedom" and "Southern Cross." Sophomore Mike Radi led the group through this hauntingly beautiful piece with outstanding solo work.

Southside Boys' second set was slightly less impressive than their first; while their last two songs did contain several great moments, on the whole they sounded under-rehearsed. Perhaps the group's next performance will see some improvement on these selections.

Exit 8, the fourth group, had the advantage of being co-ed; they featured male-female duets and can easily perform the work of a broad range of artists. Therefore, it was disappointing that they exclusively featured female soloists. Nonetheless, the group's performance was excellent. Their arrangement of Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am" combined impressive solo work by senior Lydia Sherrie and strong back-up vocals in the best performance of the night.

After Exit 8's final set, all four groups came together to sing Bill Withers' "Lean on Me." This song, an energetic volley between the men and women of the groups, was a heartwarming end to another successful Harmony for Hope concert.