|Rockapella lends their voices to kick off Homecoming|
|Written by Nathan Staller, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Sunday, 09 October 2011 21:20|
Lights dimmed and a hush fell upon the crowd as the musical group Acafellaz began their opening act for the international a cappella group Rockapella, Saturday night in Bloomington.
The event, which was held in conjunction with ISU, began Homecoming celebrations with a bang. The concert was held at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts and drew a large crowd of students and community members.
“It’s great to have a partnership with Illinois Association and ISU, especially during Homecoming Week. We have an event at the beginning and the end [of Homecoming Week]. This not only gets the information out to the alumni and students, but to the community as well,” Steve Fast, marketing manager of parks, recreation and cultural arts of Bloomington, said.
The BCPA has brought Rockapella to Bloomington before, but this year, the timing of the event coincided with the celebrations at ISU.
“We were invited to perform at the end of last spring semester. We got an email from the BCPA director Joel Aalberts and we accepted it without any questions,” Mitch Belusko, member of Acafellaz and senior music education major, said.
As a veteran member of the group, Belusko was involved in setting up the group’s participation.
Acafellaz is composed of ISU students of various majors, but last year the group took quite a hit. With a majority of the members graduating, the group had to find six new members, all of whom are freshman this year.
“Since it was pretty much a new group, we kept a lot of stuff we’d already done … The old members were kind of guides for us, so the process was much smoother,” Paul Cho, freshman member of Acafellaz and mathematics major, said.
Like the rest of the group, the chance to perform before Rockapella was a dream come true for Cho.
“It was really humbling to watch them performing. It was amazing to see how talented they were and hear them sing,” Cho said.
After their performance, the Acafellaz were given free tickets to see the performance, and as they took their seats in the auditorium, the audience cheered.
“My jaw dropped at the first note [Rockapella sang] and it never came back up off the ground,” Belusko said.
Similar reactions were shared by the entire crowd as the main attraction took the stage and began a set of harmonious and entertaining music. The group, which has been together since the late 1980s, has changed members, but its ability to entertain and amaze audiences hasn’t.
“I think [the concert] is an opportunity to see just how amazing Rockapella is at transforming songs … when you get a few hundred people in the crowd you can feel the energy and the excitement in the room,” Fast said.
Although Fast wasn’t working with the BCPA when Rockapella last performed in Bloomington, he understood their wide appeal.
“It’s a show that appeals to all ages … you’ll have people bring kids, as well as college kids because vocal music is very big right now thanks to shows like ‘Glee,’” Fast said.
Like Fast, Rockapella appreciates how the a cappella movement is growing with the help of college groups like the Acafellaz.
“It’s good to give groups like the Acafellaz the opportunity to perform in the same space as an internationally famous group like Rockapella,” Fast said.
The men of Acafellaz couldn’t agree more.
“Yesterday, it didn’t hit me that we were performing for Rockapella, and today I woke up and it just hit me. Wow, we are performing before Rockapella,” Matt Koehlinger, sophomore music education major and second year member of the group, said.
As the show ended, the crowd gave a standing ovation to the internationally known singing group.
With the warm reception by the audience, the concert began ISU’s Homecoming Week in harmony and paved the way for more to come.