A capella holiday concert a festive undertaking

This past Saturday, the Holiday a Cappella concert, hosted by the sisters of Alpha Kappa Phi (AGO) with proceeds going to the Livingston CARES, filled concertgoers' ears with festive cheer and joy in Wadsworth Auditorium.

Senior Clarisse Baluyot and sophomore Jeffrey Zeitler, dressed as Buddy the Elf from Elf, took the stage to introduce the concert. An unexpected appearance from Santa, debuted by senior Joey Sinchak, got the crowd chuckling as Zeitler exclaimed that Santa smelled like "beef and cheese."

Between the Lines opened the concert, and although it was their first big performance with other a capella groups, they provided a nice lead-in. Muse's "Starlight" opened the show with senior Vanessa Kahen's talented but slightly overpowering solo.

The group, however, found a way to balance their gifted voices with their next selection: "Barbara Ann" with sophomore Joshua Carney soloing. With his impressive high notes and lively performance, and the equally energetic group behind him, their performance was definitely well-received by the crowd. The group closed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Snow."

Southside Boys took the stage next, opening with their comical rendition of "Stacy's Mom" which riled the crowd when junior Forrest Smith whispered into the microphone that the soloist's private parts were "really, really long." A well-put-together rendition of the Eagles' "No More Walks in the Woods" was sung by all.

Exit 8 was the next group to rock the stage, opening with Chumbawamba's

"I Get Knocked Down" featuring the comic solos of senior Paul Kaleka and sophomore Kristen Eckert. Fiona Apple's "Criminal" followed, with Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to cap it off - sung by seniors Michael Radi and Chantel Helbig, who collaborated nicely.

Hips n' Harmony opened their set with sophomore Kerry Heffernan soloing Carole King's "Where You Lead." Next, the group incorporated a little Christmas cheer into the auditorium as seniors Brooke Meckler and Shannon McDermott sang in "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

John Finn, everybody's favorite beat-boxer and Southside Boys alumnus, assisted the group after being summoned on stage to an engaging rendition of Cher's "Believe," which was received with a standing ovation from Southside Boys.

Following intermission, Hips n' Harmony took the stage anew, opening with "Can't Hurry Love," followed by a gripping performance of Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" sung by sophomore Skylar Jameson. Junior Minji Lee's natural talent displayed in her solo of "Thinking of You."

As Hips n' Harmony descended from stage, junior Sara Barton thanked Finn but was interrupted by Exit 8's sunglasses-clad Kaleka who said, "Listen Sara, Imma let you finish but … Exit 8 is the best of all time," which led into "Knock You Down." With several talented voices, the song was definitely a success for Exit 8. The group also performed a heartwarming rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside."

Finn was summoned back on stage for the second time that evening by Southside Boys, informing the audience that the song they were about to sing was "named after the emotion we all get" when they see Finn. They performed Guster's "Happier," which was definitely a crowd-pleaser on all levels.

Closing with a comic rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas," the members battled it out with interludes of festive songs like "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "Deck the Halls" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with junior Daniel Hart interjecting lyrics from "The Dreidel Song" throughout.