Though many clubs and activities have struggled recently to hold large events, Drew’s a cappella groups were back in aca-action after 36 Madison Avenue hosted their Back to Classes concert, managing to run an entire concert with a packed house.
Closing out the week before heading into fall break, Friday night was full of performances from all three of Drew’s a cappella groups: All of the Above, On A Different Note and 36 Madison Avenue.
After an opening number and introduction from Mad Ave, OADN performed first with songs including Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” and Phoebe Bridgers’ “Motion Sickness.”
Following them, AOTA performed three numbers that included plenty of throwbacks, opening with “Animal” by Neon Trees as well as their rendition of the 2011 hit “Sail” by AWOLNATION.
Mad Ave came on and performed the longest set, featuring “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 and a Justin Timberlake medley with songs like “Cry Me a River” and “LoveStoned / I Think She Knows.” The group also performed notable songs from their Blue Album, which was released last semester, including “Strangers Like Me” by Phil Collins and “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen.
Before transitioning to their last song, Mad Ave president Dylan McCormick (‘24) was suddenly ambushed as his microphone was stolen. The whole room, in true music kid fashion, erupted into song, wishing him a happy birthday before letting him resume his speech.
As is traditional, McCormick proceeded to welcome several Mad Ave alumni to the stage. The concert wrapped up with the Mad Ave classic “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles, which was performed by current and past members.
The a cappella events earn a significant amount of attention, and the large number of students in attendance attest to the a cappella groups’ widespread success as clubs on campus.
When asked her advice for other clubs considering holding events, AOTA president Brynn McCarthy (‘25) said, “Go for it! I say go for it. I think that if you have an idea and you want to accomplish something, do it! I think it is a lot of work but I think it’s definitely worth it in the end.”
As OADN president Faith Sirdashney (‘24) put it, “The a cappella concerts, it’s not as much [work] because you have the other two groups supporting you. So you’re kind of working together. I guess the biggest thing is, like, if you’re hosting, you do more music.”
However, the classic skits were notably missing from the Back to Classes concert. Skits, for those unaware, are small, lighthearted comedy performances that the groups give at the beginning of or throughout their sets. Sirdashney hinted that the skits may be back for Jamnation on Nov. 3.
McCarthy also teased the possible return of skits: “We took a break for this concert…but there will be skits in the next one.” She added, “Skits are coming back, we’re just adjusting. It should go back to normal.”
Ultimately, a cappella is a leading example of what clubs can look like as Drew transitions into a post-lockdown world. The groups serve as an inspiration and prove that a return to normalcy is possible to do both safely and successfully without compromising any of the fun.
Make sure to catch Jamnation at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Concert Hall to see Mad Ave, OADN and AOTA perform again. Skits may make a possible return at this event as well.
Shannon Thoma is a senior majoring in English literature and political science.