Hips ‘n Harmony holds charitable a cappella invitational

Geneseo’s Hip ‘n Harmony hosted an invitational a cappella concert for charity on March 7. The show featured performances by Hips ‘n Harmony, The Enchords of University at Buffalo, The Riveters of SUNY Fredonia and Geneseo’s Exit 8. The show was held in Newton 202 and featured arrangements of songs from a variety of genres and styles. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the nonprofit organization Give Kids The World, which hosts children with life-threatening illnesses in a theme park and resort for five days, free of charge.

The setting was casual and friendly as students and parents filled the seats of the lecture hall. The show started off with the all-female group Hips ‘n Harmony. The group’s performance began with a cover of Ella Henderson’s “Ghost,” featuring a soulful performance from soloist junior Julia Shea.

Co-ed group The Enchords took the stage next with a captivating arrangement of Gavin Degraw’s “Not Over You” which featured layers of complex harmonies while still maintaining a very clean sound. Their second song—a mash-up of Sara Bareilles’ “Kaleidoscope Heart” and “Bluebird”—was equally enchanting. Soloist senior Elisabeth Grueniger stunned the audience with crystal clear vocals that made the piece feel like something from a fairytale.

Exit 8 was next, performing one of the best arrangements of the afternoon. Their combination of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and MKTO’s “Classic” was filled with energy. The performers radiated enthusiasm as they bounced to the melody.

After a brief intermission that featured a beat boxing competition among members from each group, the show continued. Every group performed two more songs, starting with The Enchords’ rendition of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church.” The arrangement was more intriguing as a result of their incorporation of the opening guitar riff from Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.” This added a layer of complexity to the piece and the sounds worked together surprisingly well.

The Riveters’ final song was a Pat Benatar medley that was clearly a favorite among group members. Each singer was dancing and jumping while belting Benatar’s most popular songs, including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” Exit 8 followed, ending with a cover of Florence and the Machine’s “Drumming Song” that featured intense beat boxing and a solo from senior Jenna Cecchini that sounded impressively reminiscent of Florence Welch’s huge, gospel-esque voice.

Ending the show was Hips ‘n Harmony. Soloist senior Emily Rittenhouse led the group in a cover of Etta James’ “At Last,” with appropriately jazzy vocals. Their final song was ZZ Ward’s “Put the Gun Down.” The stomping beat and powerful lyrics made for a strong, fun finale.

Overall, the invitational was an entertaining way to support a great cause. The audience was engaged from start to finish, singing and clapping to match the enthusiasm of each group of performers.