Georgetown University a cappella groups stunned at the 28th annual D.C. A Cappella Festival, which premiered Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Gaston Hall. The resonant performances of The Georgetown Phantoms and The Georgetown Chimes were the highlights of the evening, while the Capital G’s failed to meet the high standard set by the other groups.
The two-part, student-organized event was co-hosted by the Gracenotes and the Phantoms, each of whom has been performing on campus for over 30 years. The all-female Gracenotes hosted the Nov. 3 performances, while the coed Phantoms will host the Nov. 10 event. The two groups welcomed several other Hoya-led a cappella troupes and the Johns Hopkins University Octopodes for an evening of oldies and off-the-beaten-track tunes.
The Gracenotes kicked off the festival with a medley of ’70s and ’80s rock. Flared and flowing pants helped bring the audience back a few decades, while rotating lead singers showed off the group’s talent. Gracenotes President Helena Le Picart (COL ’19) welcomed attendees before passing the mic to the other host group the Phantoms.
As the largest group to take the stage, the Phantoms impressed with their sheer size and uniformity. A black and gold dress code lent them an air of professionalism despite the eclectic music choices. By far the most memorable aspect of the group’s performance was the beatboxing, which grounded each song with a surprisingly complex rhythm.
Though the Phantoms were not necessarily the festival’s most talented performers, their efforts far outshined the Capital G’s lackluster offering. A particularly painful rendition of “Girls Like You” by Maroon 5 featuring Cardi B set the tone for a less-than-exemplary performance. The lack of performers on stage did not help their performance as they were unable to create a resonant and layered sound, especially in comparison to the crowd of Phantoms who had come before them.
Johns Hopkins University’s Octopodes were the last to take the stage before intermission and their sizeable membership, song choices and coordinating outfits were similar to those of the Phantoms. Unfortunately, the group continued to feature the same two female vocalists several times yet neither of their voices were particularly notable.
After intermission, Georgetown’s all-male group the Chimes delivered an incredible performance that elicited standing ovations from several in the audience. Though only seven members were present, their superior talent was evident. Dark khakis and matching ties gave the group a preppy, characteristically Georgetown vibe.
The festival concluded with a final performance by the Gracenotes. Before their last song, the group invited “Lovenotes,” or alumna from the group, on stage for a touching reunion. Freshmen and seniors also used the time to exchange gifts and best wishes for the future. Shortly after 9:30 p.m., the audience gave one last round of applause before heading out of Gaston Hall.
The second part of the D.C. A Cappella Festival is set for Nov. 10 in Gaston Hall at 7:30 p.m. Co-hosts Gracenotes and Phantoms will welcome an entirely new set of groups, including Resonant Essence Live, Superfood and New York University’s N’Harmonics, whose talents will no doubt be worth a watch.