By Dylan Toolajian
When was the last time someone said, “I’m so excited for Halloween music this fall?” When it comes to holiday tunes, most would probably say that Christmas music pretty much takes the cake.
However, this year, two of ’Nova’s fiercely festive a cappella groups took to the stage to show campus what Halloween music is all about. Calling their frightening festival “Spookappella,” co-ed groups Minor Problem and the Supernovas put on a killer show of some of their best performances on the steps of Corr Hall on Monday night.
Despite the cold wind at the outdoor venue, both groups put on a lively performance that helped warm up the crowd—better still, Rosie’s Mug Coffee Café supplied ample hot chocolate and apple cider for the audience to enjoy during the concert.
The Supernovas opened the show with a rendition of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive,” a dynamic powerhouse arrangement that they debuted at Acapellapalooza last March. It was a smart move for the first song—junior Maura Ricci’s soaring vocals had a stunning effect, backed by the complexities of recent alumnus David Marx’s sophisticated arrangement.
The Supernovas were quick to demonstrate their compelling vocal prowess, a quality especially evident in the haunting harmonies on Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River,” soloed by sophomore music director Rachel Rorke and arranged by senior Tommy Monks.
Minor Problem put on an equally impressive display, brightening the atmosphere with a high-energy rendition of Switchfoot’s “Stars,” featuring senior Matt Rinaldi, junior Christina Yakomin and freshman Jackson Anderson in three interweaving solo lines.
One particular highlight of their set was Christina Perri’s smash hit “Jar of Hearts,” which, powered by freshman Rachel Rivera’s crooning solo, was devastatingly sweet and passionate simultaneously. Minor Problem effortlessly played the crowd to its advantage, making good use of its naturally infectious energy to drive the concert forward.
The groups alternated their performances, each doing two sets of two songs, so that the audience could appreciate the stylistic variance between the two groups.
Things began to grind to a halt when the bells of Corr Chapel began to ring the alma mater, but sophomore Jen Buono, one of Minor Problem’s vocal percussionists, spun an impromptu beat that had the crowd cheering and clapping, rescuing the momentum of the whole concert.
I chatted with Buono for a few minutes after the concert to hear her thoughts on the night.
“I loved singing that concert,” she said. “Honestly, the a cappella community at Villanova is so supportive, and the fact that two co-ed a cappella groups were able to get that size audience, and that support around our performance, is truly a testament to a musical community at Villanova that is so strong, and underestimated.”
Buono’s honest words are a reminder that, as a community, we Villanovans have more than academia to offer to the world outside of our bubble.
Our unity is an asset that lends its strength to talents we might not realize we have. If anything is to be learned from the Supernovas and Minor Problem, it may be that we can create wonderful things as a community.
And, in the end, Halloween just might give Christmas music a run for its money.