To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Oohs and aahs and a cappella: Acappellooza 2024 recap

On Sunday, March 3, hundreds of students, friends and family packed into Usdan’s Levin Ballroom to enjoy and jam along to Brandeis’ collection of a cappella groups. Sydney Schur ’24 and Paul Weir ’25, members of Brandeis’ Bad Grammer improv troupe, emceed the event with plenty of goofs and laughs in between.

Brandeis Starving Artists kicked off the afternoon on a high note with “Fall in Love Alone” by Stacey Ryan. Their next song “Pretender” is originally a Japanese song, which soloist Quentin Dong ’26 noted as the group’s “first time [performing] in a different language,” which the audience adored.

Following Sydney and Paul’s quest to find a great “voicemail,” Paul introduced Brandeis’ premier masculine-centered a cappella group. Brandeis VoiceMale enthralled the audience with their renditions of “Castle on the Hill,” “Pink+White” and “Doomsday,” originally by Ed Sheeran, Frank Ocean and Lizzy McAlpine, respectively.

The stage was graced with a herd of singing giraffes that found each other at Brandeis (not really) but Rather Be Giraffes (RBG) was next to take the stage. The group’s President, Morgan Collens ’26 blew the audience away with BritMed, featuring a sample of Britney Spears’ greatest hits, including “Baby One More Time,” “Oops! … I Did It Again” and “Stronger.”

They also performed “Bravado” and “For the First Time” by Lorde and MacDeMarco, respectively.

Next up was Manginah, Brandeis’ Jewish a cappella group singing both English and Hebrew songs alike with “Darashti” and “Bad Self Portraits” by Josh Warshawsky and Lake Street Dive, respectively. They also performed an original mashup of Ed Sheeran’s “Celestial” and “Castle on a Hill.” A Hebrew word meaning “melody” in English, Manginah undoubtedly lived up to its name and filled the room with beautiful songs.

We then returned to what Paul calls “a simpler time” (well, Paul wasn’t there, but it takes him there) with Brandeis’ folk a cappella group, Too Cheap For Instruments. Despite their slower timbre, the group delighted the audience with their renditions of “Welcome Home, Son,” “Not Strong Enough” and “Can’t Catch Me Now” by Radical Face, “boygenius” and Olivia Rodrigo, respectively.

Energy was strong through the end as Proscenium, Brandeis’ musical-theater-centered a cappella group, enthralled the audience with “The Ballad of Sara Berry” from 35MM.

Sydney introduced the final group of the show, which formed when a group of students were stuck on an escalator and someone started beatboxing (again, not really). Nevertheless, Up The Octave closed out the afternoon, and had the audience clapping along to the beat of their final song “The Cure” by Little Mix.

I wanted to get some first-hand perspective of the magic radiating from the stage that is Brandeis a cappella. I asked Jack Gorman ’27 of Brandeis VoiceMale and RBG’s Morgan Collens a bit of their time and experience of the event and they were excited to share their takes on the performance. “It not only lived up to my expectations, it far surpassed them,” Jack said. “The energy was incredible and the support between the groups was so motivating to see.”

Morgan’s experience was just as great. “[All] the groups sounded amazing [and] had such an incredible time!!” she says. “Last year’s Acappellooza was the first one in many years, and it was great to spend the day with all of my friends in all the other groups, and having a great time cheering them on,” she added.

Above all, Jack and Morgan highlighted “the community aspect of things. […] As a musician, [it’s] one of the coolest things to see,” Jack added. “Each group is special in their own way. [They aren’t] adversarial towards each other … [and they] all bond over the fact that they love to sing and make great music.”

Speaking a bit more of his time in VoiceMale specifically, Jack “always felt supported both in and out of rehearsal. […] I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had in this group and I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world,” he added.

As the final group left the stage, Levin Ballroom was filled with applause and love for Brandeis a cappella. While it surely won’t be the last these groups perform all together, Acappellooza gave the Brandeis community a show to remember.

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