A cappella concert engages audience with bold arrangements, surprising conclusion

The fall a cappella concert on Saturday Oct. 13 ended with an unexpected bang: the engagement of Geneseo alumnus Keith Walters ‘12 and senior Joanna Duell.

First, some background: At 7 p.m., a full audience packed Newton 202 to hear all four on-campus a cappella groups – Between the Lines, Southside Boys, Exit 8 and Hips n’ Harmony – perform. Each group has an established presence on campus, and each brought a significant number of fans. Though Newton 202 is a large lecture hall, latecomers had a difficult time finding any seat but the aisle.

The four singing groups consist of traditional soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections, with a percussion section as well. Competition to join one of these four groups is tough; nearly 70 people auditioned for Geneseo’s newest group Between the Lines this year for 20 voice parts.

At Saturday’s concert, each ensemble performed twice, separated by a brief intermission. For $5, audience members listened to selections of songs that were both serious, like Southside Boys’ rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” and fun and silly, like BTL’s rendition of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song.

Other musical highlights included Exit 8’s “Titanium,” by David Guetta and Sia, with soloists junior Allie Niemiec and senior Jonathan Mushock, Southside Boys’ monophonic and energetic “Some Nights,” by fun., and Between the Lines’ emphatic “Too Close,” by Alex Clare, with a fierce solo by sophomore Liam Enright.

In the last song of BTL’s event-closing set, Walters, a former BTL member, found his moment. He sat patiently with other alumni through the concert, jumping onstage only for the group’s last piece.

Only a few people in the room and a small portion of BTL seemed to be aware of what was going to happen, which fueled their excitement. He then sang a few bars of a love song – the singers backing him up – before pulling a ring out of his pocket. The entire room erupted into cheers and riotous applause.

Despite all the great performances, the proposal was all anyone could talk about on the way out of the building. But no one would consider this a bad thing; the moment had earned it.