SCAMFest Promises a Night of Vocals-Only Fun

The 16th Southern California A Cappella Music Festival (SCAMFest) tonight, Nov. 4, promises to be “electric,” according to Anna Brill CM ’13 of the 9th Street Hooligans, one of the Claremont Colleges’ eight a cappella groups who will be performing at the annual show.

Twelve a cappella groups are scheduled to perform at Big Bridges Friday night as part of SCAMFest, including the Hooligans, After School Specials, The Claremont Shades, Kosher Chords, Men’s Blue & White, Midnight Echo, Mood Swing, Women’s Blue & White, USC’s SoCal VoCals, and UCLA’s Scattertones and Bruin Harmony. Special guests The Backbeats, who placed third during the second season of NBC’s “The Singoff,” will also make an appearance at the festival. Brill said she is particularly excited to hear this final group, having watched “all their videos on YouTube.”

Josh Propp PO ’13 and Rachel Davidowitz PZ ’13 are vice president and president, respectively, of the Claremont Shades, which organizes SCAMFest each year. Both noted that the number of groups in the program is increasing.

“It’s the most we’ve ever had,” Propp and Davidowitz wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “The Claremont a cappella community has grown over the past couple of years, which is great because it shows how much the 5C community likes a cappella.”

“But it also means making a lot of adjustments for SCAMFest,” they added.

This year, the Shades set a time limit on each group’s performance. The restriction, however, has had little effect on the amount of preparation the groups have put into their sets. The Shades have been rehearsing over seven hours a week, in addition to making sure “beautiful Bridges is all set to go,” according to the Shades president and vice president.

Erin Phelps PO ’12, president of Women’s Blue & White, said that her group started going into “intense SCAMFest mode about two weeks ago.”

“It’s a much more formal performance for us, so it demands a different degree of polish and performance quality. The large space is a challenge for us—as an all women’s group, we have to work extra hard to keep our sound rich and full on such a large stage,” Phelps said. “It just generally feels like a higher-pressure performance environment because we are on stage with a lot of really experienced and professional-level groups.”

“The final week before the performance, we rehearse wearing our high heels and holding hairbrushes for microphones in front of the mirror,” Phelps said. The 9th Street Hooligans have also been rehearsing daily and incorporating more choreography into their similarly rigorous rehearsals, according to Brill.

Brill suggested that the presence of outside groups also serves as an important source of support.

“We’re always passing them on the way to the dressing room, and they give us a lot of ideas and inspiration,” Brill said.

“It is interesting to see what a cappella is like at other campuses and [it] gives us the chance to interact with students who share our love for singing,” said Daniel LaPook PO ’14, another member of the Hooligans.

The “adrenaline rush” on the SCAMFest stage helps alleviate the feelings of anxiety and nervousness that accompany Friday’s performance, Phelps said.

Brill said her group hopes to “make a splash” with their performance, the details of which she said were a surprise.

“Be there to see it,” Brill added.

SCAMFest will be held Friday evening, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. This morning, ticket sales will move to the Bridges Auditorium Box Office, and prices will remain at $5 until 5 p.m., after which time any remaining tickets will sell for $8 each (cash or check only).

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