Pomona College welcomes the 17th annual Southern California A Cappella Music Festival (SCAMFest) at Bridges Auditorium tonight at 7:30 p.m. This year’s lineup features eight groups from the Claremont Colleges, including the hosts, the Claremont Shades, along with After School Specials, Kosher Chords, Men’s Blue and White, Midnight Echo, Mood Swing, Women’s Blue and White and the 9th Street Hooligans. Also performing are Bruin Harmony and Scattertones from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as the SoCal VoCals and Reverse Osmosis from the University of Southern California.
This is an elite lineup composed of the twelve premiere collegiate a cappella groups in Southern California.
“I’ve had to turn down several groups’ requests to perform at SCAMFest in order to keep the length to a minimum,” said Joshua Propp PO ’13, Public Relations manager for the Claremont Shades. “These are great award-winning groups, and they relish the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd of 2,000 or more in Big Bridges.”
While Snack concert audiences have dwindled, a fact Propp attributed to the changes to Snack resulting from Pomona’s budget cuts, this year’s Claremont Shades performances have drawn larger crowds than ever.
“Increasing the usage of social media and our new website at claremontshades.com have made getting the word out about performances much easier,” Propp said.
The recent film Pitch Perfect, following in the steps of Glee, has brought a cappella into pop culture. Earlier in the year, the Claremont Shades collaborated with Midnight Echo to bring a preview showing of the film to Pomona’s campus.
While he admitted that the 5C a cappella community probably enjoyed Pitch Perfect as much as everyone else, Propp also said that “it’s largely not realistic” in its portrayal of a cappella. The movie does not take into account that “collegiate a cappella singers are also taking four or five classes, or participating in sports,” according to Propp.
A cappella means different things to different singers. After School Specials’ Daniel Choi PO ’15 said that “with such a large a cappella community, students can really find their place by finding a group that they vibe with. Each group has unique characteristics, from what genre of songs they sing to the way they arrange their music.”
Choi is performing for his second year with the After School Specials, and he said they are “experimenting with more organic and spontaneous ways to come up with arrangement ideas.”
Daniel La Pook PO ’14 of the 9th Street Hooligans said, “I have so much fun with my fellow Hooligans. The group atmosphere is amazing because we really are a close-knit family like the Duggars, minus two or three … and we unfortunately have no first names that start with J.”
Describing the group’s sound, La Pook said, “We have very eclectic tastes in music to say the least, from Willow Smith to The Postal Service.”
Chris Albanese CM ’14 of Men’s Blue and White anticipates a “killer” set list, including Bob Marley and Clay Aiken.
“We are confident that we will win SCAMFest. Almost as confident as I am that Romney will win the U.S. presidential election,” Albanese said.
SCAMFest, unlike the presidential election, is not a competition. Nonetheless, Choi admitted that “it’s definitely a little intimidating sharing the stage with groups like the SoCal VoCals,” who draw from a much larger base of students and hold connections to the entertainment industry. Mostly, though, the 5C a cappella community looks forward to the energy and talent that Southern California groups will bring Friday evening.