Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Feb 2002, 13:43 p.m.

I invited down-feeling Steve to the a cappella concert, but…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I invited down-feeling Steve to the a cappella concert, but I never expected that Jeana would actually take my recommendation and come to it as well. I got to re-meet her roommate Cheryl, who offered me Scripture Mints but did not have any SacraMints, and her sister Samantha, whom I had met a year back (oh, the time a year ago when I was teaching Politics of Modern Science Fiction! I miss performing twice a week) and who does indeed resemble Jeana in external appearance. Hmm, I bet Jeana would be a cool older sister for a girl to have.

I'm quite glad I went, and I only have a few things to add to Jeana's comprehensive account of the event.

  • The Golden Overtones made my jaw drop with every number. It started its set with a phenomenal arrangement of "Play" by Moby. Oh, and Jeana, it was the Overtones who did the award-winning rendition of "Either Way" by Guster. And yet, not even third place! The hell?
  • The Stanford Mendicants did a song entitled "Shambala." Shambala is an FTP utility for Windows.
  • Hey, Stanford groups! Not every song should be properly interpreted as though it were a Backstreet Boys number! Especially "Insomniac"! (I still don't know exactly who wrote that song and originally performed it. The Mendicants' web site requires Flash. What for?!) I've heard good Stanford a cappella before, and this wasn't it. My notes state, "[Stanford] Mendicants = N'SYNC". And all the pretty boys! I felt as though I had been transported back to the mid-eighties and New Kids On The Block was onstage and all the rage.

    In addition, why is it that groups from Cal and U of Oregon and College of the Sequoias are, say, eight people each, and the Stanford Mendicants and Harmonics are fifteen people each? Stanford has at least four a cappella groups (Counterpoint, Everyday People, Mendicants, and Harmonics), so it's not for scarcity of opportunities. Why? Does this somehow correlate with the greater separation between soloists and backup singers in the Stanford groups? Aha, Stanford is an elitist, hierarchical school! Just kidding. I know Stanford is a fine institution. I just wonder why these differences occur.

  • The College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA sent us USDA Approved. (I've been to Visalia once, for a spelling bee. I think I won.) USDA Approved only did barbershop quartet, and I enjoyed it, especially a neat tune entitled "All I Want is Love to Stay."
  • On the Rocks, quite simply, rocks. They got the most standing-ovation-like response of any group last night. I should buy one of their CDs. Oh, and a fella in that group sort of resembles Matt Weinstein.
  • The Stanford Harmonics started out its set with a patriotic medley ("America, America," "God Bless America," that sort of thing, no Woody Guthrie). I don't think any of the Berkeleyans were quite ready for it. We have many reservations re: the concepts of God and America. As I put it to Steve, " 'God' 'Bless' 'America' 'on' 'DVD'."
  • The judging was rather, shall I say, Olympic. The Overtones put on a fantastic performance. Did they run overtime or something? I may never know.

Hugs, as well, for Jeana. She led me to the Durant Food Court and facilitated my purchase and consumption of a pearl milk tea at Mandarin House, something I haven't done in a year. And so, caffeinated, I stayed up far too long conversing with Steve. An enriching evening!