Countdown to Palooza: Meet Minor Problem



Alison Nieto Culture Editor

In the weeks leading up to A Cappella Palooza, Culture Editor Alison Nieto will be talking to each A Cappella group to discuss their hopes and aspirations for this year’s concert. A Cappella Palooza will take place on March 23, 2018. 

Minor Problem is one of two co-ed A Cappella groups on campus. It was formed in 2010 and is comprised of students from all class years and all different musical interests. The group has performed at several events this past year, including Spookapella and the Puerto Rico Benefit Concert and is beyond excited to perform at Palooza this upcoming March.

With the event rapidly approaching, the group couldn’t seem to decide what song they were most excited to perform. “I think our middle song is going to be great,” junior Adam Blais said. “I’m most excited for that because it’s a very Palooza song with a lot of Palooza moments.” 

“Compared to our other songs, it kind of takes things a step back and then shoots it forward all at once and it’s going to be spectacular,” sophomore and music director Anthony Finocchiaro said. The group agreed that for its upcoming set, their closer was the most challenge to learn. 

“I think [the closer] was the most difficult,” sophomore Daniel Bae said. “I’m personally not doing any signing in it, but I know, for me learning all the beats and stuff was really hard because it’s a fast-paced song and it’s not a typical fast paced song because it has that rap rhythm to it so it’s a hard song for me. I know for other people, when they sing it, there’s a lot of syncopation and it’s a lot of moving parts.” 

“It’s a typically very hype song and we wanted to make it more interesting as well, so having arranged it, I tried to put in a lot of extra rhythms to make it stand out and make it as good of a closer as we could possibly make it,” Finocchiaro said. “It took us a little longer to get everything together, but I think it’s going to be super hype.” The group has already finished learning all three songs for Palooza, way ahead of schedule and started choreography.

Looking back on its set from last semester, the group agreed that their ABBA medley was the hardest piece to put together. “It was six and a half minutes long and so much to learn,” said Finocchiaro. “All the transitions between them were tough because we were switching keys between songs every time and if those weren’t perfect, we could end up on the completely wrong place when we were starting the next one and it wouldn’t have been good.” 

“It also kind of shows that even though a singer has a very similar style throughout time, they still tend to change a lot,” Bae said. 

The transitions within the medley were the hardest part of the medley, as well as switching back and forth between parts. “Another interesting thing about [the ABBA medley] is that Mitch [Breitenbach] switched back and forth beatboxing, Mitch and Ryan [Henderson] switched back and forth between basses, everyone was on different parts at different times,” Finocchiaro said. The medley was new to the group but was incredibly rewarding.

When asked what the most rewarding song performed last semester was, the group could not decide. “I think it’s really tough to say,” Finocchiaro said. “What was really cool about it was after last semester’s concert, going up to so many people I knew who said ‘This song was my favorite,’ but everyone said different things! We didn’t have that one song that anyone was super crazy about and it was a really well-rounded set so it’s hard to say one was more rewarding than the other.” 

Moving forward to the preparation for Palooza, in asking the group what the best part of that process is, freshman Alec Cárdenas was very quick to respond, “Not the dancing.”  The group started its choreography last week and are excited to continue to process in the next month leading up to the event itself. 

“I think people that have done Palooza before know the feeling of that very last day before Palooza when you’ve just done all this work and you’re so prepared to just perform the next day,” Bae said. “Palooza itself is incredible. I still get chills from thinking about it. It was crazy.” 

“I would say that we just put in so much work and even though we do put in all this work, we’re still able to have fun together and goof off,” sophomore Madison Barella said. Looking back at its performance from last year, the group agreed that they wanted to keep the energy of their performance the same. 

“I’d say definitely the intensity,” Finocchiaro said. “Last year we put everything into it and we sounded the best that we ever had at Palooza and we’re just looking to constantly build on that.” On a more social note, Barella mentions the group’s pre-show prep, in which members pump each other up before getting onstage to perform. 

“We were all in a circle before the performance and we were just telling each other that we could do this and that we were going to go out there and kill it,” Barella said. 

[CONT from pg. 8] “[Breitenbach] gave us this pep talk that I never thought he was going to give, so that was really funny,” Finocchiaro said. 

With the concert so close, it’s almost impossible not to wonder what the group expects audiences to be excited for and what they themselves are most excited to see. 

“I think everyone is excited to see the color schemes because all the groups look so put together and it’s really cool,” Blais said. “That’s what I’m most excited for.” 

“I’m going to be advertising quite heavily to my friends, so I hope to bring a new demographic to the concert,” Cárdenas said. “We’re gonna get all the freshmen.” 

“I think what audiences most go for is those big moments in every song,” Finocchiaro said. “That’s what they remember. They come away from that thinking ‘Wow, I can’t believe he hit that note,’ or ‘Wow, they all sounded amazing on that chord’ and it’s those things that people really walk away with. We try to put those in our songs.” 

When asked what sets this group apart from the other co-ed A Cappella group on campus, the group immediately embraced its individuality and diversity. “We’re really free to be ourselves,” Cárdenas said. 

 “I think that really sets us apart from other groups” Bae added. “No two people are really the same and at the same time they’re all really cool people to hang out with. I think that’s the one thing that I love about this group, just because of how well we work together and how much fun we have.” The bond between this group is undeniable and completely visible to audiences in its performances. 

When asked about fun facts, the group immediately responded that sophomore Jeffrey Lieto can do a split. The group also has members from across the country, and Finocchiaro was praised highly for his dance moves [Editor’s Note: I can confirm, they are awesome]. The group is incredibly excited to perform in less than a month at this year’s Palooza.