Section: Arts

A cappella groups open semester with captivating cabaret

A cappella groups open semester with captivating cabaret

PHOTO: On August 25th, The Ransom Notes performed at the cabaret. | BRITTANY LIN

On Friday afternoon, shortly before the annual Community Feast, students streamed into Rosse Hall to watch Kenyon’s many a cappella groups come together to perform a cabaret. A cappella is one of Kenyon’s most popular extracurriculars: There are ten separate groups on campus, each with a unique musical style ranging from folk to classical to jazz. In addition to being a fun musical event, the cabaret served as an opportunity for each group to advertise themselves to potential recruits, especially the incoming first-years.

The show began with a performance from Kenyon’s oldest a cappella group, the Chasers, who were founded in 1964. The Chasers are multi-genre and gender inclusive, giving them a versatility that was reflected in their moving renditions of “Midnight in Harlem” and “Amazing Grace.”

Next up were the tenor-bass Kokosingers, known affectionately on campus as the “Kokes.” Several of their members graduated last spring, so there were only five performers on stage, but their powerful voices more than made up for their diminished size when they sang Big Star’s “Thirteen” and The Tallest Man on Earth’s “The Gardener.”

The following two ensembles took a humorous approach. Classical tenor-bass group Männerchor sang a whimsical sea shanty about grog and tobacco, and the Ransom Notes donned funny hats while singing Pitbull. The audience laughed especially hard at the expert trumpet impression given by Ransom Notes member Sylvan Maney ’24.

The jazz-focused Take Five were next, followed by the soprano-alto Owl Creeks, whose sweet but spirited arrangement of Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” was one of the show’s highlights.

After the Owl Creeks, musical theatre group the Broken Legs took the stage, performing a skillful rendition of “Rainbow Connection” starring Soren Roeser ’26 as the voice of Kermit the Frog.

The next group, POCapella, Kenyon’s newest a cappella ensemble, features students of color performing songs written by artists of color. They sang Joji’s “Slow Dancing in the Dark” and CeeLo Green’s “Forget You.”

Afterwards came soprano-alto group Colla Voce, whose genres of choice are classical and folk. They performed one song on their own before collaborating with Männerchor on the entertaining folk song “Chicken on a Raft,” written by Cyril Tawney.

The final act to perform was the folk ensemble the Stairwells, whose use of acoustic instruments makes them technically not an a cappella group but certainly doesn’t take away from the joy of watching them. Their closing song, “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles, was a perfect closing number for the show.

The various performances highlighted each group’s distinctive qualities, and many of the students in attendance came away from the show with plans to try out for one or more of the groups. The groups all held their auditions over the next few days and have since welcomed new members into their ranks. Whether you’re a soprano or a baritone, a theater geek or a classically trained opera singer, Kenyon’s expansive a cappella scene has something for you.


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