By Maureen Cowhey ‘19
On Saturday, Nov. 7, the a capella group, Claremont Shades, hosted the twentieth annual Southern California A cappella Music Festival (SCAMFest). Twelve different acapella groups from across California participated in the event, which coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the Claremont Shades. The Claremont Shades were responsible for putting on the show, organizing everything from the outside groups to the production.
SCAMFest 2015 was held in Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College, and over 2,000 students, family members, and community members attended the night of acapella. The lineup featured some of the best a capella groups from throughout California--including all eight groups from the Claremont Colleges and four groups from outside the consortium. The festival featured Bruin Harmony and the ScatterTones from UCLA, the Spokes from UC Davis, and four-time International Championship of Collegiate a cappella champions the SoCal VoCals from University of Southern California.
The Claremont Shades, the Claremont Colleges’ first co-ed a cappella group, opened the festival with their rendition of the song “Retrograde” by James Blake featuring soloist Sitoë Thames (HMC ‘19). The Shades, formed in 1995, have toured all over the country and have produced five albums, which are available on iTunes and Spotify.
Each proceeding group had the opportunity to perform two songs. Bringing both energy and theatrics to the stage was the 5C co-ed group Mood Swing. Dressed in their signature black and yellow, the Mood Swings riled up the crowd with a mash-up of the classic Black-Eyed Peas hits “Let’s get it Started” and “Rock that Body.” The performance peaked with a rap solo from Amit Maor (CMC ‘16). The group followed up with the pop hit “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit.
UCLA’s ScatterTones took the stage, serenading the crowd with Seal’s classic “Kiss from a Rose.” Having performed across the country and as backup for Taylor Swift, the ScatterTones knew how to please an audience. They brought the energy up again with a mashup of two of the greatest pop hits: “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and “PYT” by the great Michael Jackson.
Performing songs from some of music’s most powerful women, Women’s Blue and White stood out as one of two all-female groups. They opened with Beyonce’s “Ego” and followed up with “Nobody Love” by Tori Kelly.
The Claremont Colleges’ newest a cappella group, One Night Stanza (previously Kosher Chords or K Chords), performed Florence and the Machine’s “Shake it Out” and a mashup of “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy and “Bulletproof” by La Roux.
The Spokes, an all-female group hailing all the way from UC Davis in Northern California, thrilled the crowd with another Beyonce song “Diva,” and Marian Hill’s “One Time.” Their performance was energetic and brought a deafening round of applause from the audience.
Wearing every shade of green and hats that read “ASS,” Claremont’s own After School Special provided an exciting ending to the first half of the show. Dividing into dueling groups, the After School Specials got the crowd going with Nick Jonas’ “Levels” and James Arthur’s “Recovery.”
Bringing acrobatics to the stage as well as suggestive male dancing, Claremont’s own Men’s Blue and White surprised and pleased the audience again this year in their act. Performing Calvin Harris & Disciple’s popular hit “How Deep is your Love,” the men danced on chairs as the audience cheered increasingly louder. Halfway through their second song, “Dance for You” by Beyonce, the group surprised the crowd with a shirtless circus hoop performance by Harrison Goodall (PO ‘16). The audience erupted into applause and the men bowed as they received a standing ovation.
The 5C coed group, Midnight Echo, performed “Dancing with my Future Husband,” a mashup of Olly Murs “Dance with Me” and Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband” as well as “Run to You” by Pentatonix. According to their statement in the program, Midnight Echo identifies as a “wild pack of wolves that roams the Claremont Colleges.”
Bruin Harmony, UCLA’s all-male a capella group also pleased the crowd with their coordinated dance moves, hip thrusts, and theatrics that accompanied their rendition of Andy Grammer’s “Honey I’m Good.” Slowing down the pace, they performed a soulful delivery of the classic Michael Buble hit “Feeling Good.”
No stranger to the spotlight, the SoCal VoCals from USC brought down the house with their own rendition of “Levels” by Nick Jonas. The group, having performed on multiple television shows and for celebrities from Queen Latifah to Seth Macfarlane, looked confident in their complex choreography and harmonies. The finished off their set with the song “You Go Down Smooth” by Lake Street Dive while the lead vocalist ran off the stage and into the crowd.
The second-to-last act of the night was Claremont’s 9th Street Hooligans, performing a set of Jason Derulo songs including “Want to Want Me” and “Wiggle.” Bringing comic relief to the stage, the group harmonized to the lyrics “You know what to do with that big fat butt” while proceeding to show the crowd how to wiggle. The Hooligans succeeding in bringing both laughter and “booty back” in their performance.
Finishing off a successful night of a cappella were the hosts, the Claremont Shades. They closed with the song “Let me love you” by Mario and Lianne La Havas’ “What you don’t do.”
The annual event is one of the biggest and most anticipated a cappella festival in Southern California.