Villanova A Cappella Stuns at Palooza 2018



By: Alison Nieto Culture Editor

March 23 was not only exciting because of the Wildcats’ victory over West Virginia. The biggest a cappella event of the year also took place in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. All seven of Villanova’s a cappella groups came out to put their semester long work on display and anyone who was not in attendance seriously missed out.

A Cappella Palooza opened with all the Villanova seniors singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone,” in the style of the hit 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect.” It was a lovely send-off to the students who dedicated so much time and energy to the organization. Each senior got the chance to sing a line in the song, either on his or her own or with another student. It was a warm way to open the show and prepare the audiences for the rousing performances of the University’s premier a cappella groups. 

The Villanova Sirens followed the senior song with a rousing rendition of “Earned It,” originally recorded by The Weekend. Freshman Julia Mustaro and sophomore Taylor Lange were the featured soloists. The newest all-female group showcased their strengths through its set-list, featuring songs hit songs like Bruno Mars’ 2012 hit “Locked Out of Heaven,” and “Don’t Blame Me,” off Taylor Swift’s latest album. The Sirens delivered an electrifying performance that showcased their dynamics as well as the complexity of their arrangements. The group’s choreography reflected their personality and complimented their set-list immensely. The Sirens are definitely a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

Minor Problem followed with an exciting set-list. It opened with an arrangement of Dua Lipa’s “Bad Together,” where freshman Kristen Chou delivered a powerful performance that set the tone for the rest of the group’s set. The choreography flowed with the music without distracting from the overall talent of the group. They followed with an arrangement of “Iridescent,” originally recorded by Linkin Park. The choreography told a story, with soloists Anthony Finocchiaro and Mitch Breitenbach standing apart from the rest of the group, as they circled around Breitenbach, giving the illusion of a much larger crowd. The group was controlled in their movements and it completely complimented the vibe of the song without overshadowing the message with an overabundance of choreography. Minor Problem closed its set with “Wild Ones,” originally recorded by Sia and David Guetta. The song was fun and showcased the group’s “wild” side. Overall, their performance was engaging and left nothing to be desired. The group was really put together in their entire performance and all the hard work that went into preparing was really put on display.

Following Minor Problem came the Haveners, the University’s first all-female a cappella group. The Haveners started its set with Jocelyn Alice’s “Bound to You,” performed by senior Sammy Chiarello. The Haveners moved through their emotionally charged set, with senior Victoria Mobilio performing the solo in “River of Tears,” originally recorded by Alessia Cara. The Haveners showcased their vocal acrobatics and intricate arrangements with a set that completely encapsulated their personality and work ethic. They ended their set with an exciting rendition of the Spice Girl’s hit song “Wannabe,” featuring Jenna Evans, Mary Collitan, Kelly Maguire, Kyu Jin Jang and Megan Galioto. 

After a brief intermission, the Supernovas opened the second act with a powerful vocal performance of Ansel Elgort’s hit single “Thief.” The song perfectly set up the group’s set list, with commanding solos and awe-inspiring arrangements. The group, which is known for its vocally tight performances and demanding work ethic left little to be desired in their set. Powerhouse vocalist Allie Leblanc wowed, alongside junior Kalvary Hawkins, in the group’s second song of the night, “Let It All Go,” originally recorded by indie singer-songwriter Birdy. Finally, the group ended their set with an arrangement of Rihanna’s hit “Diamonds” that left chills long after the group left the stage. 

Good times and good music. That is what the next performer is all about. Vocal Minority opened with an electrifying performance of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” featuring sophomore Stephen McDonnell and graduate student Thomas Palazzolo on the solo. The group showcased their fun side while delivering a formidably put-together performance to an eclectic song. Next, the group brought the room together with an emotional rendition of “Silhouette,” originally recorded by British duo Aquilo. The arrangement featured sophomore Liam McCaffrey and flowed beautifully with the other two songs in their set while offering a brief reprieve from the upbeat tempos. The group really mastered the emotional makeup of its set-list, first exciting the audiences, then evoking an emotional response with their middle song and finally bringing the mood back up with their arrangement of AJR’s “Weak,” featuring sophomore Kyle Garino. The group showcased their vocal diversity as well as staying true to their motto: good times and good music.

Nothing But Treble, a powerful group of girls who featured a powerful girl-power set, followed Vocal Minority. The group opened with an arrangement of Ariana Grande’s “Greedy,” featuring Genny Dixon as the soloist. They followed with a mash-up of Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” and Beyoncé’s “Halo,” featuring freshman Azzeiza Beadle and senior Lee Curcio. The group ended its powerful set with an exciting finale in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” featuring senior Maria Roscoe on the solo. The group’s choreography reflected its overall vibe and enhanced their performance immensely. 

Finally, the event drew to a close with a performance from the Villanova Spires. The group opened with an exciting and engaging performance of Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry,” featuring senior Anish Vora on the solo. The group moved on to an emotional rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Happier,” performed by junior Tom Sangiorgio, with harmonies performed by junior Brooks Jaibert and senior Athul Rajesh. The group’s choreography flowed nicely with the overall vibe of its set-list, slowly building up to the energy of their final song. The group formed a triangle and as they started to sing the opening chords to their finale, “Writing on the Wall,” the entire group descended until their soloist, senior Athul Rajesh, stood above the rest as he sang the opening lyrics. The choreography perfectly enhanced their performance by giving the song a theatrical flair without overdoing it. It was the perfect finale to a wonderful concert.

After the event had concluded, an air of satisfaction settled over the building. A cappella members wove through the crowds, finding friends and family to celebrate their semester’s worth of hard work. Smiles were stretched from ear to ear as the biggest night for Villanova A cappella finally drew to a close. 

If you missed out on this incredible night, there are other chances to catch Villanova’s a cappella this semester. Check the music activities calendar for the dates of their end of semester concerts as well as performances at other events such as CAT’s Spring Out on April 28.