Muhlenberg’s largest a cappella event of the year, A Cappella Fest, was held on Saturday, Apr. 13. Muhlenberg’s a cappella groups, the gospel choir and four visiting ensembles performed for an audience of students, prospective students, parents and a cappella aficionados. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming as the spring-themed balloons and streamers on stage and audience members clapped along with the music and cheered for stunning performances.
A Cappella Fest was kicked off by hosts Max Kasler ‘20 and Gwen Wilkie ‘20. Before the performance began, they passed the mic off to Susan Williams, the executive director of the Allentown School District Foundation. The Muhlenberg a cappella community founded A Cappella Fest to support local schools’ music departments through the Allentown School District Foundation. Williams said donations from last year’s A Cappella Fest bought a piano for a local school, among other things. Audience members for this year’s A Cappella Fest were each five dollars. All of the proceeds from this year’s performance will support the William Allen and Dieruff high school music programs.
“It’s so important to us that we help ensure that the students in Allentown have the same opportunities to create that we are given as Muhlenberg students,” Kasler said about the partnership.
The program for A Cappella Fest described the staple event as a “way for the community to interact with groups outside of our own ‘Muhlenbubble’.”
In the spirit of that partnership, the first group to perform was the Allentown School District Select Choir. They started one song by rubbing their hands together, snapping and clapping to create the effect of rain. When they sang the signature opening chords of “Africa” by Toto, the audience exploded into cheers. When they finished performing, the applause was even louder.
The Muhlenberg Gospel Choir brought down the house with a rendition of “Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land.” Girls Next Door performed “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish in a quiet rendition which did not feature a soloist but focused on intricacies of harmony between all the members. The AcaFellas sang “Fireflies” by Owl City which caused the audience to wave their phone flashlights and light up Empie. InAcchord, the Chaimonics, the Dynamics and Noteworthy enchanted the audience with songs that showed off their comradery and skill.
The guest groups were welcomed warmly by everyone present. “This year we are hosting Strictly Speaking from Providence College, Pitches Be Crazy from SUNY Cortland, and The Suspensions from Westchester University. I’m so excited to have them because collegiate a cappella groups are all about creating art together, and seeing what art gets created from other universities is always fun,” Kasler said. Each group brought their own unique style to the stage and was cheered by their enthusiastic audience.
The music was well done and everyone present enjoyed the show. It was a great opportunity to see the talent of the Muhlenberg community as well as that of the greater Allentown community and other colleges.
A Cappella Fest has been a staple among a cappella events since it’s founding—here’s to many more successful years!