Last Friday, 10 a cappella groups from four different universities, including VCU’s RAMifications and Notochords, gathered at the Singleton Center on the Monroe Park campus for the second Richmond Rhythm Invitational. The groups gathered to perform songs from artists like Muse, John Legend, Sara Bareilles and many more in the spirit of collaboration and community through vocal harmony.
“It took months and months of preparation,” said event organizer and RAMifications president Amy Girardi. “There are just so many details.”
The event began with an introduction by Riley Reed, a former RAMifications member and the emcee of the invitational. First to perform was James Madison University’s Overtones, an eight-member group that has been featured in the reputable CD “Best of College A Cappella (BOCA)” several times. Their performance included a version of Katy Perry’s “Firework,” which began slowly and soothingly before becoming as energetic and upbeat as the original.
University of Mary Washington’s Symfonics came next, a 20-year-strong a cappella group which sang Muse’s “Feeling Good” and Mumford and Sons’ “Timshel.” They were followed by George Mason’s all-male group GMUnit, who pleased the female members of the crowd with a mashup of Bruno Mars’s “Grenade” and “Just the Way You Are” before the lead singer and beatboxer jumped into the orchestra pit and performed in the aisles.
UMW’s all-female group BellACappella was next with a performance of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name,” with the singers posing and dancing to the rhythm of the song. JMU’s all-male group Exit 245 amazed the audience with a medley of songs from Bruno Mars, the Black Eyed Peas and Taio Cruz.
After several additional visiting groups, including JMU’s Low Key and UMW’s One Note Stand, the final groups to perform were VCU’s own. The first to perform were the Notochords, who were originally formed in 1992 as an outlet for MCV students and now include students from both campuses. They showcased alto singer and associate director Elise Patterson, who sang the lead in Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and “Love the Way you Lie” by Eminem and Rihanna while sporting her dreadlocks in pigtails tied with yellow ribbons.
“We love Lady Gaga,” Patterson said. “We sing Lady Gaga every semester, and ‘Telephone’ is one of the few Lady Gaga songs with a duet.”
RAMifications performed last. Being the final act, they performed three songs, singing Ben Folds’ “Not the Same,” Christina Perri’s “Distance” and Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4”. This was preceded by the presentation of banners to each of the schools that participated with the years they performed at Richmond Rhythm.
“Everyone was so amazing, and everyone who participated was so talented,” Girardi said. “It was beyond what we could have even hoped for.”