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Acappalooza: Many Voices, Different Styles, One Stage


What’s your a cappella poison? Mellow alt-folk? Poppy radio songs? Tight harmonies?

Doesn’t matter. They’ll all be featured at this year’s Acappalooza, a night organized by the Emerson A Cappella Council to showcase the College’s vocal groups. This year, it will be held Friday, April 8, 7:30 pm, at the Paramount Mainstage.

“Each group has its own distinct music style, so it’s fun for us to be a community as a whole, because we…have the same goals,” said Joshua Shelor ’17, chair of the Council and member of Achoired Taste, one of Emerson’s four official a cappella groups.

Noteworthy is the oldest group on campus (it’s not really that old, explained Shelor, having formed sometime in the mid-aughts). They’re “super good at syncopation and doo wop,” he said, and are known for performing at fundraisers.

Among other songs, they’ll be doing “River Lea” from Adele’s new album. “Their newest member has the solo and I heard it at their spring concert and it’s so good,” Shelor said.

Acappellics Anonymous

Acappellics Anonymous are like the powerhouse crew. They have the most experience competing in International Championship of Collegiate Acappella competitions, he said, and they have “energy for days.”

“The energy they have in their songs is sick,” Shelor said.

They have an Earth, Wind and Fire mashup of “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” on tap, a little Killers, and a cover of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars.

Treble Makers

Treble Makers have a “soothing, alt, Lorde-esque” sound, and tend to pick songs Shelor has never heard of but knows he probably should. They’re the “epitome of Emerson hipster,” he said.

“They’re doing a song by Chvrches,” Shelor said. (“But it’s with a ‘V’ instead of a ‘U,’” he helpfully told a tragically unhip writer taking notes. They’ll also be doing their cover of “Skinny Love,” for which they filmed their own video last year.

Achoired Taste

And finally, Achoired Taste, Shelor’s own group, who competed in the ICCA this year and does more “radio songs”.

They’ll be doing Ed Sheeran’s “Give Me Love,” Coldplay’s “Fix You,” “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson, and “Actual Cannibal Shia LeBeouf,” because why not.

Achoired Taste formed in 2012-2013 when the three founding members met at a callback for another campus a cappella group and didn’t get placed.

“I found it so interesting because Emerson is one of those places where if you can’t find an opportunity, you make one,” Shelor said.

All four groups hold one audition, then students are selected by individual groups based not just on talent, but also on sound and personality, he said. The groups are so different that more often or not, it’s obvious which student will join which group, he said.

The Council officially formed during the 2014-2015 school year, in part so the groups could coordinate auditions and events, but also in order to form a supportive a cappella community – something that was lacking prior to then, Shelor said.

“In just two years now I’ve seen it do a complete 180,” he said.

To see the Emerson a cappella community come together and blow your mind, visit, call 617-824-8000, or visit any of the ArtsEmerson box offices to buy tickets. Admission is $15 for adults; $10 for students and children.

“Acappalooza is a great spirit-booster on campus, since they are toasting great music as well as honoring all four great a cappella groups and Emerson itself,” said Tom Cooper, professor in the Visual and Media Arts Department and an advisor to the A Cappella Council. “We have a lot of talent, and each group has its own niche and style. So this is a rare opportunity for aca-fans and the whole community to experience ‘full-spectrum aca-love’ at Emerson.”

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