Drew’s a capella groups greeted the new semester with a joint performance on Friday, entertaining the audience with comic skits and covers of popular songs. On a Different Note, Drew’s alto-soprano a cappella group, hosted Back to Classes 2023, a concert marking their 30th anniversary. The concert also featured 36 Madison Avenue, Drew’s tenor-baritone-bass group, and All of the Above, Drew’s all-voices group.
On a Different Note opened with a “Pitch Perfect”-inspired skit in which four members of the group auditioned for the AcaBellas (based on the Barden Bellas). The “audition” consisted of a medley of segments from “Let it Be” by The Beatles, “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift, “Honeybee” by The Head and the Heart and “Say You Love Me” by Jessie Ware.
All of the Above performed a skit inspired by the new “Puss in Boots,” featuring iconic characters such as Puss in Boots and the Gingerbread Man. Their covers consisted of “Road to Nowhere” by the Talking Heads, with soloist Michael Indovina (‘25); “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers, with soloists Seth Okumura (‘25) and Laya Ranganathan (‘26); and “Paradise” by Coldplay, with Christina Rodden (‘24) and Wesley Ahn (‘23).
36 Madison Avenue’s skit centered on a group of hippies attempting to save the trees from a diabolical company. The hippies enlisted the help of the Treedles (a parody of the Beatles) and the Lorax. 36 Madison Avenue’s musical performances consisted of “Kiss from a Rose” by Seal, with soloist Jordan Weisblatt (‘25); “United” by Cory Wong and Antwaun Stanley, with a senior solo by Lucas Shearson (‘23); and “Still into You” by Paramore, with a senior solo by Ellyes Baghouli (‘23).
On a Different Note then returned to the stage and resumed their skit. As the AcaBellas, they placed second in an a cappella competition with a performance of “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall, with soloist Pippa Gerber-Stroh (‘23). On a Different Note also delivered an arrangement of “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eillish, with a senior solo by Nicole Verga (‘23), and a cover of Lizzo’s upbeat song “Good as Hell,” with soloist Erisdania Martinez (‘23).
On a Different Note ended the concert by inviting alumni of the group on stage to sing “Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor. After the concert, On a Different Note hosted a 30th anniversary celebration in Crawford Hall.
“I really liked the concert. My favorite part was probably Pippa’s solo. It was really powerful. I thought all the singers did a really great job,” said Grace Solomon (‘24).
“I also really enjoyed the whole concert. I think a cappella concerts have a great atmosphere to them. They’re always really fun to attend. I thought tonight was extra powerful and extra energetic,” added Ange Wunderle (‘24).
Describing the process of preparing for the concert, Avelyn Simons (‘23), the president of On a Different Note, said, “The first day, we start talking about themes and we go through our set list, which is assigned by our music director and our assistant music directors. We vote on a theme together, and we suggest things. From that point on, we just keep practicing the music. The final week, we run through the skit after we’ve written it. We have a few designated people who really love to write and write our scripts for us. And then we get it all up on its feet, and then boom, it’s concert time. It’s usually a quick turnaround, it’s usually two to three weeks, sometimes four if we’re lucky, so we’ll take as much time as we can get.”
When asked what she loves most about a capella, Simons said, “[On a Different Note is] like my family. That is probably my favorite part of the rehearsal process, just being part of this group and a part of the a capella community at Drew. It’s such a great group of people, fun, energetic, and really talented as well.”
As a whole, Back to Classes 2023 showcased the hard work and immense talent of the a cappella groups on campus. Make sure to follow On a Different Note, 36 Madison Avenue and All of the Above on Instagram for updates on future a capella concerts and events.
Abigail Goldman is a first-year student majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology.