Harmony for Hope concert raises money while bringing down the house

Eager listeners sloshed their way through the snow to Wadsworth Auditorium on Friday evening to hear Geneseo's a cappella groups come together for Circle K International's ninth annual Harmony for Hope concert.

The benefit performance, which cost a mere $5 per ticket and ran for two hours, donated all proceeds to AIDS Care of Rochester, the leading provider of HIV and AIDS services in Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

"It is really great to be able to help others through doing what you love. We get to sing, which we love, and that helps people," said senior Sara Barton, Hips 'n Harmony president.  "Pretty good deal I would say."

The a cappella prowess of South Side Boys, Hips 'n Harmony, Between the Lines and Exit 8 filled the night with both talent and altruism.

"The event is a phenomenal way for the student body to get together behind a good cause," said sophomore Cory Young, secretary of South Side Boys. "South Side Boys will continue to volunteer so long as the opportunity remains available."

Each group contributed roughly six songs across the show's two acts, producing a musical medley that ran the gambit from pop to rhythm and blues to powerful ballads to one pretty spectacular Disney cover. Considering this vivacious variety and the usual fun and vocal finesse displayed by each group, choosing one musical highlight is a difficult task.

Would it be the South Side Boys' entertaining foray into the astronomically high falsettos found in Mika's "Grace Kelly?" Or would best in show fall to Hips 'n Harmony's junior Becky Hoffman for telling off all the deadbeats with her sassy rendition of TLC's "No Scrubs?"

That's without even mentioning a dozen or so other memorable performances. Between the Lines showcased freshman soloist Shea Najuch and striking voice control as a group with U2's "MLK," and Exit 8 brought emotion, power, stage presence and some sweet dance moves to Sara Bareilles' "Gravity" and Jason Derülo's "Whatcha Say." As far as dancing goes, a shout out goes to the South Side Boys' Macarena, performed at the end of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream."

Of course, the evening wouldn't have been complete without an impressive finale; the concert culminated with Hips 'n Harmony's distinctive and surprisingly appropriate mashup of Taylor Swift's "Love Story" and Justin Bieber's "Baby."

With so many great performances, why choose one?

"It was just awesome seeing all the musical groups together," said junior Amy Schmitt.

The harmonies were hopeful and the concert was equal parts entertaining and stunning.

Thanks to contributions from students, faculty and local residents, Circle K was able to present an impressive total of $1,040 to the organization.