By Jennifer Somers
It’s not always exciting to begin a new school year, but nothing puts people in a better mood than some good music, which is what students got to hear at the Trentones’ “Bellas, Fellas, & A cappella” event on Aug. 26 at the Kendall Hall Mainstage.
The Trentones, the College’s only competing co-ed a cappella group that was established in 2002, regularly compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella (ICCA) and have made to the semifinals the past two years.
To start off the night, the Trentones performed a passionate rendition of “Best Part” by Daniel Caesar.
Sophomore music major Terrence Odonkor, a member of Trentones, then gave a warm welcome to the audience, which included a definition of a cappella by showing the audience a beatboxing demo and bass.
“Our love of music is something that connects us all and we are glad to be able to do what we do,” Odonkor said.
Up next was the Voice of Hope, a Christian a cappella group and the first to be established on the College’s campus.
“We’re a little different from the other a cappella groups … We love Jesus!” said Rebecca Kim, a senior elementary education and mathematics dual major, the president of Voice of Hope.
Voice of Hope’s performance performed uplifting and spiritual songs with a touch of pop. The group performed “Joy” by For King & Country, which was filled with clapping, foot stomping and enthusiasm. The group also sang “Out of Hiding” by Steffany Gretzinger with a slower, laid-back feel and ended with “Flashlight” by Jessie J.
“You may be thinking, ‘I don’t believe in this’ and we respect that,” Kim said. “We’re not just for Christians — our music speaks to everyone no matter the season or situation that they’re going through. So, we ask that you have an open heart and we hope our music speaks to you.”
The i-Tunes a cappella graced the stage next to perform. Founded by Pooja Shah and Reka Magge in 2007, the i-Tunes are the College’s only international a cappella group, performing on and off campus to showcase their message — there is strength in diversity. Often putting international artists in the spotlight, the co-ed group specializes in a wide range of genres and cultures.
Following their first song, “Past Lives” by Børns, they surprised the audience with a little bit of groove by performing “Feeling Good” by Michael Bublé. Eventually, they slowed things down with “Settle Down” by Kimbra and, for their finale, they sang the legendary “Applause” by Lady Gaga.
Bringing some women empowerment to the stage were the TCNJ Treblemakers, an all-female a cappella group. The group performs at on-campus events, but also collaborates with other universities.
Their performance included “No Roots” by Alice Merton and “Lovely” by Billie Ellish and Khalidn, as well as a medley of songs by Ariana Grande, such as “Breathin” and “God is a Woman”.
To end the night, the Trentones took the stage again to perform “Limbo” by Lawrence, followed by “Goodbye to a World” by Porter Robinson and “STYX Medley” by Styx.
Throughout the night, there was not a silent moment in the audience, which constantly cheered for each group in awe of the outpouring talent throughout the night. After the show, the lobby was packed with people supporting their friends, as well as new and new students who were curious about getting involved in a cappella.
Brianna Szienczi, a junior elementary education and English dual major, was filled with so many emotions when congratulating her friends after the performance.
“It was really good,” Szienczi said. “I have been to many performances and they’re always so much fun.”
Kayleigh Soucy, a junior mathematics major and a transfer student, was ecstatic to be at her first a capella concert and was blown away by the performances.
“It was amazing how much talent and fellowship there was tonight,” Soucy said. “It was really cool to see something from ‘Pitch Perfect’ in real life.”
Returning alumni attended the event in support of their friends and some even performed once again with their fellow a capella groups.
“Being back for the concert is super meaningful, because I was introduced to acappella and i-Tunes through this same event four years ago,” said Madhav Patel (’19), a returning alumnus of i-Tunes.
“Coming back and performing for an audience of future members of i-Tunes sitting in it feels like a great full circle moment,” Patel continued. “It feels really good inside and has made me reflect on my four years of i-Tunes and my four years at TCNJ all over again, even three whole months after graduation.”