Acappellafest sings strongly after two years behind a screen



Junior Jacquovia Higgs sings a solo in “Valerie,” by Amy Winehouse. Higgs is part of “Note-a-fy,” an all-female, student-run a cappella group. The group performed a variety of popular songs from across the decades.

Hearing Acappellafest would be in-person once again was, quite literally, music to my ears, and thankfully this collection of students did not disappoint.

After two years plagued by COVID-19 and its necessary safety measures, many things fell through the cracks. One of which being the annual Acappellafest, where many of the high school’s various performing arts groups displayed their talents over the course of two evenings. Although it has only been offered virtually since the emergence of the virus, its first in-person performance was nothing short of a triumph.

Perfect Pitch took the stage first, and two of their performances outshined the others: “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish and “Toxic” by Britney Spears. Senior Sofia Velinzon showcased her impressive range in a solo during “When The Party’s Over,” and, though “Toxic” seemed like a questionable song choice for an a cappella group, the girls sang it with emotion and an energy that was contagious. Overall, the group was very cohesive and kicked off the night with a youthful exuberance.

Up next was the Glee Club, who began by singing a rendition of “Line Without a Hook” by Ricky Montgomery, which, despite contradicting the a cappella theme by incorporating a piano accompaniment, was an utter success. Junior Miles Luther and Sophomore Caelum Dulla both exhibited immense talent in their solos but it was the duet they shared that had the audience in a rapt silence, listening intently to the duo’s voices interlocking with one another in perfect harmony.

The group concluded their time in the spotlight with “No Air” by Jordin Sparks which was a performance well worth their finale. I found myself hanging onto every melodic syllable as soloists Hannah Schlosberg (Senior) and Clara Van de Velde (Sophomore) took turns singing solo until finally singing in unison. The duo maintained tension and let out a mesmerizing harmony that was met with the roaring applause of the audience, myself included.

Following the Glee Club was Needs Improvment, the high school’s improv group, which was a nice change in pace and provided a brief, comical break from the singing. However, the group’s performance was rather confusing. Maybe it was because it was the last night of Acappellafest or maybe it was due to the fact that improv has an ever-changing dynamic, but the skit lacked clarity and direction. It should be said that there were some laughs for the skit about a dog-man hybrid named “Sparky” and an old woman looking for a bingo parlor, but once a drill sergeant and a bystander joined, the plot was a little more difficult to follow.

As the penultimate group of the evening, the ladies of Note-a-fy sang “Settle Down” by Kimbra, followed by “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder, and soloists Julia Price (Freshman), Katya Sacharow (Junior) and Penny Waldron (Sophomore) were just that: lovely. However, it was the group’s performance of “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse that had me entranced. Soloist and Junior Sofia Noyes’s voice was restorative and soulful; it was almost hypnotic. She passed the microphone to Junior Jacquovia Higgs, who was just as exhilarating and uplifting.

The A Cappella Choir closed out the night on a high note with the help of their bright purple shirts and invigorating performance. The group sang “Like a Prayer” by Madonna during which the soloists Evangeline Kanaris, Natalie Tulipani, and Julia Price had us praying the song would never end. Their voices were vulnerable yet stirring, and I was enraptured until the very end.

In addition to bringing their talent, almost all the groups showed up in matching attire: The A Cappella Choir dressed in purple shirts, and Glee Club donned in flannels. Perfect Pitch and Note-a-fy used their clothing to set the tone for their performances, and dressed in slumber party-esque pajamas and cheeky cowgirl costumes respectively. Their thematic dress may not have seemed significant but it added another dimension and whimsical flair to an already enjoyable night.

It’s safe to say Acappellafest this year was a success. Seeing and, more importantly, hearing the talent present in Dance Studio 1 was not only uplifting, but also just a delight. The future of a cappella in the high school looks very bright.