The 18th annual Southern California A Cappella Music Festival, or SCAMFest, was held Nov. 22 at Pomona College’s Bridges Auditorium, hosted by 5C a cappella group The Claremont Shades. Each year at SCAMFest, all eight of the a cappella groups at the Claremont Colleges perform, as well as four visiting groups. This year, SCAMFest welcomed Bruin Harmony and The Scattertones from University of California, Los Angeles and The SoCal Vocals and The Sirens from University of Southern California.
The festival has been known to draw a large crowd and did not disappoint this year. Bridges Auditorium seats over 2,500 people, and SCAMFest sold out completely for the sixth consecutive year.
“So many people at the 5Cs come to support us. It’s always so exciting to be able to go onto that stage and see so many people, with all of your friends and family. I love it; it’s personally my favorite event of the year,” said Aleina Wachtel HM ’16, a member of After School Specials.
SCAMFest is also a favorite event of visiting a cappella groups. Segun Oluwadele of The SoCal Vocals expressed his enthusiasm and appreciation for the event.
“SCAMfest is the coolest show we do because it’s the biggest a cappella festival, and the Claremont Colleges treat it like it’s the Grammys,” he said.
Alex Vergel, president of Bruin Harmony, agreed that the crowd at SCAMFest is one of the biggest crowds they perform for each year.
“It’s the best; it’s definitely one of our favorite events of the year,” Vergel said. “It’s amazing that [the Claremont Colleges] can bring out so many people to come and watch, because we would not be able to do that even at a school like UCLA—draw the crowds like [they] do here.”
The event showcased the diversity of the a cappella groups at the Claremont Colleges, as well as the growth of a cappella as a whole.
“The bar is set very high, particularly because previous years of SCAMFest have been awesome. It really pushes groups to get the ball rolling early in the year and improve,” said Chris Albanese CM ’14, a member of Men’s Blue and White.
The Claremont Shades began the festival with a very polished, energetic piece that started the night strong. The same was true of Mood Swing, who performed next with the first mash-up of the night: “Power” by Kanye West and “Toxic” by Britney Spears, an unlikely pairing that worked surprisingly well. The Sirens, up next, opted for a slower tempo in their choice of songs that displayed their soft, almost angelic vocals.
The After School Specials charmed the audience (and ladies everywhere) with a very smooth, natural performance of “Pusher Love Girl” by Justin Timberlake. The Kosher Chords gave a lighthearted performance of their own mash-up, and the Ninth Street Hooligans lived up to their name, receiving laughs from the audience as they gave a solemn, choir-like performance of “Like a G6” by Far East Movement. The SoCal Vocals were an impressive end to the first half of the show, wowing the audience with their powerful solos.
After a brief intermission, Men’s Blue and White delivered the standout performance of the night with “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls. While they were undoubtedly backed by great vocals, Men’s also proved to be the most entertaining. Toward the end of the number, member Harrison Goodall PO ’16 took off his shirt and hoisted himself onto a suspended fabric rope, proceeding to perform an aerial silks routine until the song’s close, drawing laughter, cheers, and applause from the crowd.
Bruin Harmony, another favorite of the night, followed Men’s by delivering an equally energetic performance. The all-male a cappella group performed a hilarious rendition of Ylvis’s “The Fox,” complete with a generous amount of pelvic thrusting. Midnight Echo gave an upbeat, enthusiastic performance as well, right before the soulful vocals of Women’s Blue and White were showcased in their choice of “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys. The Scattertones took the stage shortly afterwards with a fantastic amount of energy and several very talented soloists.
The Claremont Shades closed SCAMFest with impassioned performances of “That Girl” by Justin Timberlake and “Hometown Glory” by Adele.
Daniel LaPook PO ’14, president of the Ninth Street Hooligans, thought this year’s SCAMFest was the best so far.
“I’ve loved every single SCAMFest. I would say that this year, the Claremont groups were fantastic. I was really proud of all of the groups and everyone sounded really amazing. I think we went to a new level that in the previous years we might not have reached,” LaPook said.
Jesse Watts-Russell HM ’15 of The Claremont Shades agreed.
“I think it was better than SCAMFest last year,” Russell said. “It sold out both years but the vibe was more exciting this time around. There are always things that can be improved, but I thought we did really well.”
SCAMFest 2013 was also well received by its audience.
Khadijah Omerdin CM ’17 expressed her enthusiasm for her first SCAMFest.
“I loved it. It was spectacular,” she said. “I think it’s a great way for all of the 5Cs and other colleges to come together and share our love for music.”
Sharika Kaul SC ’16 also enjoyed the performance.
“I thought there was a wide range of talent. Some groups were outstanding—my favorite was The SoCal Vocals from USC; they were phenomenal,” Kaul said. “It’s really great that we can get so many people to come out and support a cappella because it’s a great community experience, as well.”