By Hana Skoblow and India John
Contributor and Editor-in-Chief
What impresses me the most about a capella goups is that they sometimes sound better than traditional bands — and their only instruments are their bodies. On Friday, Jan. 28, the professional a capella ensemble Chapter 6 came to Beloit to wow us with their harmonizing prowess. The group consisted of six (surprise!) men (one — Luke Menard — made it to the top 8 of American Idol: Season 7) who met while attending Millikin University in Decatur, IL. Between each song, a different member of the group would take the microphone for his delegated speech: introductions, a CD and DVD give-away, or just comic value. They were funny and charming, but what I liked the most was their music.
Each member of the group played a different role with their vocal chords, actions and general personalities, playing off one another in a wonderfully choreographed show that bordered on stand-up comedy. Their chemistry together clearly demonstrates the close bonds they’ve created throughout their years together. They each adopted a role that they played throughout the performance, ranging from the overly animated to the sarcastic and sulky. Though they took on these characteristics during the performance, however, moments between songs allowed a glimpse into their actual relationships, joshing and cracking jokes to one another on stage. They all, also, clearly love what they do.
Chapter 6 sang a variety of songs from arrangements meant demonstrate their a capella talents, such as a James Bond/Sugarplum Fairy Mash-up, to famous songs such as Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.” They consistently sounded good, which I think is a testament to how well rounded their group is; their melodies, harmonies, and percussion were equally matched and none overpowered another. During one of the group’s love songs, two female audience members were asked to sit onstage while each singer took turns trying to dramatically seduce the women to the laugher of the audience. One was a student, and the other was a middle-aged woman from Janesville, who was clearly smitten with group fawning over her, making other women in the audience swoon with jealousy. They were charismatic, entertaining, and, above all, great vocal performers.