The D.C. A Cappella Festival — abbreviated as DCAF and pronounced like the coffee variety — returns to campus for its 21st year this Saturday. Don’t let the name fool you: The performance will give you goosebumps and a jolt of energy. The Phantoms and the GraceNotes organize the event to showcase some of the most talented and competitive groups in the country. These widely successful groups are known to impress with truly uplifting harmonies and innovative arrangements.
DCAF occurs twice, this Saturday and next Saturday, with Georgetown groups performing on each night.
The GraceNotes, Georgetown’s oldest all-female group, has been singing for over 30 years with special performances at venues like the Kennedy Center and the White House. The co-ed Phantoms have been around for almost 25 years and have also performed at the White House as well as at the State Department and Blair House.
On their respective host nights, the GraceNotes and Phantoms will each perform a special opener and will perform five times by the night’s end. There will also be performances by groups hailing from The George Washington University, Yale University, New York University, University of Connecticut and other Georgetown a cappella groups.
Philip Dearing (SFS ’15), a member of the Phantoms, is very excited.
“The visiting groups change [from] year to year, but the point of the event stays the same: a chance to showcase the great voices of Georgetown and to bring a quality to show the student body [that they will] enjoy,” he said.
DCAF is the premier event of the fall for a cappella groups, and preparation is key leading up to it. Groups spend six to seven hours a week practicing in the days leading up to the event. Both groups prepare new songs, and when asked what musical numbers could be expected, members of both theGraceNotes and the Phantoms were reluctant to spoil the surprise. They did explain that audiences could expect songs from Beyoncé, Jessie J and some music from the ’90s. With a mix of so many different a cappella groups, audiences will hear all sorts of genres, from pop to hip hop to classic hits.
DCAF is a popular event on campus and has been known to sell out quickly. When asked about her favorite part of the event, GraceNotes Musical Director Olivia Benson (NHS ’15) noted the talent of the other performers and the audience’s reactions.
“My favorite part is the feeling you get when you look out on the crowd and can tell how much they are enjoying themselves. We are on stage doing what we love, so the audience’s reaction is always so rewarding,” Benson said.
Performance nights are Nov. 3 and 10, both at 7:30 p.m. in Gaston Hall. Tickets are $8 for Georgetown students and $10 for non-students and can be purchased the weeks of the event in Red Square or at the Davis Performing Arts Center.