Loyola’s competitive coed acapella group, Counterpoint, put on an energetic and passionate fall concert in Mundelein’s Palm Court last week.
Complete with a lively crowd, multi-color lights and killer harmonies, the Nov. 4 concert filled the small space on Mundelein’s fourth floor with music and cheers. It was Counterpoint’s first concert of the school year and a great start to the group’s 2017-18 season.
45 Kings, Loyola’s premiere improv team, opened for the acapella group with a few scenes to get the audience laughing and warmed up. The acclaimed comedy troupe, spearheaded by president Stuart Hicar (‘18), performed for about 15 minutes with a short prompt suggested by an audience member.
Following 45 Kings’ entertaining act, an array of colorful lights projected against Palm Court’s windows announced the beginning of Counterpoint’s show. Their first song, a mashup of “Greedy” by Ariana Grande and “Tears” by Clean Bandit, set the tone for the rest of their performance. The soloists, Reese Bailey (‘21) and president Daria Derda (‘19), showed off their impressive vocals with ease, singing in perfect union with senior Malcolm Charles’ vocal percussion. Derda, who arranged five of the songs performed during the show, gave a particularly impressive performance — her voice sounded incredibly mature for one so young.
Throughout each song, Counterpoint’s eight members managed to make themselves sound like a much larger group. Their harmonies were flawless and their clear voices soared over the heads of the enthusiastic audience, evoking the popular acapella group Pentatonix. The camaraderie between the members was also clear as they performed — banter was common between songs and soloists would often smile and sing to each other.
Each member of the group had at least one solo during the show, but a few stood out. Charles laid down catchy beats and supported the group with strong bass vocals in most songs, but with his solo during the “Human” by Rag’n’Bone Man arrangement, he proved himself as a soulful singer with exceptional range. Additionally, first-year theology major Rachel Groth had solos on two songs, but her cover of “Devil’s Backbone” by The Civil Wars was particularly haunting and beautifully showcased her emotional, resonant voice.
This show was Groth’s first time performing with Counterpoint, and The PHOENIX talked to her about her experience with the group thus far.
“I just love how comfortable this group is with each other and the energy everyone brings to the table,” Groth said. “Being able to create sound like [the songs we sing] is nothing I’ve ever experienced, even in my high school [acapella] ensemble.”
Groth said the group’s next competition will be sometime in February, and she’s optimistic about their chances. She likens the tournament to the one in the popular 2012 film, “Pitch Perfect,” which chronicles the successes of a college acapella team.
“I’m so excited,” Groth said. “It’s literally just like ‘Pitch Perfect.’ It’s so funny.”
Counterpoint will have a winter concert at the end of this semester and a spring concert sometime next semester. To learn more about the group or support through a donation, visit their website, counterpointluc.wixsite.com.