The low, groovy beat of Childish Gambino’s song “Redbone” played as a single silhouette mid-stage was suddenly joined by individuals from both sides, stepping, swaying and singing with confidence.
The tune was performed by UT’s Soul Blend A Cappella group, which joined six other groups in the Hogg Auditorium on Friday evening for Acapalooza 2017!.
“There was a point during mic check when we were at the (peak) of ‘Redbone,’ I remember looking over at my teammates that were singing with me and just hearing everybody’s voices and hearing everything come together, it felt really good,” said Weatherly Sawyer, Soul Blend member and studio art sophomore.
In past years, proceeds from the event went to UT Voices Against Violence, but this year, donations were made to the Student Emergency Services’ Harvey relief fund.
“This year with everything that happened with all of the hurricanes, we thought that this was probably going to be most appropriate because it affected a lot of students,” said professional accounting graduate student Tasha Torres, who helped direct Acapalooza 2017!.
Torres, who is in One Note Stand, said groups stepped up their game this year with their performances, sharing songs that highlighted the diversity of each group. For math junior Batool Abbasi, who watched from the audience, the different styles stood out.
“There are so many different groups, and there is so much diversity not just in gender but in style and the culture of the songs they are performing,” Abbasi said. “I think that’s awesome.”
From Hum A Cappella’s recognizable mashup of Kanye West hits to The Ransom Notes’ closing performance that got the audience on its feet, the night was packed end to end with music.
For Texas Songhorns member Vinz DyCruz, the concert represented a chance for people to enjoy a type of music that is not always understood.
“I don’t think a capella has been appreciated in the south as much as it has been in the northeast,” engineering senior DyCruz said. “It’s a very different sound that people don’t get to hear down here.”
DyCruz said the concert showcased how a cappella groups are becoming more modern, trading in the doo-wops of barber shop music for the sounds of popular instruments.
“Now, a capella is moving towards incorporating real life instruments,” DyCruz said. “That’s where we added the beatboxer, the guitar sounds you would hear on stage. That’s the more modern version of a capella.”