On Friday, Take 5, Kenyon’s jazz a cappella group, had their annual spring concert. Take 5 is one of the most demanding and impressive vocal groups on campus, putting in five hours of rehearsal a week for two concerts a year, plus a winter break tour. Audiences can always expect precise vocal arrangements and adept performances from the group. Usually, the only wild card in their concerts is their opening act: This spring, the Whistleblowers, a group of whistling Kenyon students invited to poke fun at a cappella groups, opened the show. The Whistleblowers delivered an amusing rendition of “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, a humorous and spritely way for Take 5 to begin their concert.
One of the livelier songs was a duet by Amanda Kuo ’26 and Isabel Braun ’26. Their performance of Lawrence’s “It’s Not All About You” was sassy and bold. The song’s narrator complained about a relationship where their significant other dominated conversation by talking only about their life, and the two performers used smart inflections to deliver the witty lyrics. Take 5 not only delivered amazing solos backed by wonderful arrangements, the singers also displayed their skill in one of their group songs, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” It started off with a lullaby-like feel, but then transitioned into a beautiful, flawlessly blended melody with captivating harmonies and striking moments of dissonance. One of the members, Alana Goldstein ’25 told the Collegian it was one of her favorite songs on the setlist. “I just love it,” she said. “I think it’s so pretty, and you can work a lot on dynamics and listening to each other.”
Any jazz concert would be remiss without sentimental love songs that make one feel like lying around the fireplace with their loved ones. One such example was a rendition of “Heart-Shaped Box” by Maddie Vandeberg ’25. Vandeberg showcased quick and controlled runs for an emotional and moving performance. The concert was multilingual; the whole group performed “L’eau à la bouche,” a French song, and Mia Huerta ’25, the soloist for “Tu Falta De Querer,” showcased an impassioned, mixed-voice suited to the song.
The group was not impervious to feeling the emotions of the performance. The senior song was “There Will Never Be Another You” by Chet Baker, performed by the current members graduating this year: Casdin, Newhart and Stephanie Kaufman ’23. After the song, the three seniors were all given loving hugs from the other group members. The final song, “Misty” by Ella Fitzgerald, is a jazz standard. Kaufman was the soloist for this final emotional performance. Not only were her high notes crisp, she sang the vocal lines with incredible dexterity. At the closing of the song, some of the singers were in tears.Their traditional closer, an up-tempo version of “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” was its usual whimsical and comedic performance. It had beatboxing, snapping, choreography and a final big hug from the group. In an interview with the Collegian, Newhart said that the closer has gotten funnier with each passing year: “It’s kinda gotten a little bit more unhinged since we started doing it.” The many hours put into practice were apparent during the Take 5 concert. The singers’ rewards were their stellar performances and the standing ovation from the crowd.
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