By Cassidy DeStefano, news correspondent
Northeastern’s Pitch, Please! performers stepped up to the microphone sporting 4-inch gold stilettos, their heels clomping on Faneuil Hall’s trademark cobblestone walkways before they settled to perform on Saturday, Oct. 17.
“We harness our femininity and turn it into something that works to our advantage,” group president Casey Matsumoto, a third-year communication studies major, said.
Pitch, Please! was one of three Northeastern a cappella groups that participated in the 19th Annual A Cappella Competition in front of Quincy Market last weekend, battling 29 other groups from the New England area.
“The competition started as a means to honor the various a cappella groups in and around Boston,” Quincy Market Marketing Coordinator Edward Hurley said. “Since Boston is a college town, we wanted to do something that would involve the schools in the area, plus provide entertainment for our guests.”
The girls of Pitch, Please!, dressed in black, went on to perform a rendition of Bruno Mars’ upbeat “Locked Out of Heaven,” Bon Iver’s mellow “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and a punchy arrangement of ZZ Ward’s “Put the Gun Down” for a crowd of a few hundred.
Northeastern’s all-male a cappella group, The UniSons, and female group, Treble on Huntington, also performed during the festival’s Sunday lineup. None of NU’s groups placed this year.
Sophomore environmental science major and Treble on Huntington President Josie Daniel had high expectations.
“Northeastern is known as a school with a really awesome a cappella scene and, on one hand, it’s very intimidating, but on the other hand, it’s very inspiring,” Daniel said. “We are so lucky to have a network of groups that is really collaborative and supportive of each other.”
Come spring semester, these groups will opt to attend larger competitions, including Boston Sings and the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA).
However, Matsumoto sees value in singing at grassroots community sites, as the groups have the potential to snag local audience attention.
“Faneuil Hall is a great venue, and on the weekend especially, it’s so busy,” Matsumoto said.
Julia Magnani, Pitch, Please! secretary and a sophomore double majoring in communications and psychology, savored the chance to perform at Boston’s local landmark.
“We love performing like this, and it’s definitely a dream for me to perform here at Faneuil Hall since it’s a place I’ve loved since I was little,” Magnani said.
Event judges Maria Murray and Sophie Bell, both Emerson alumna, gave Pitch, Please!’s performance high acclaim.
“I know the setting is not your friend but your sound was so, so cool and not just in female-only vocal standards, just across the board,” Murray said, addressing the group for a live critique. “Dynamics were excellent. ‘Put the Gun Down’… you killed it and it’s not the first time we’ve heard it today. You guys owned the hell out of it.”
Faneuil Hall marketing director Jessica Feroli released the names of the winning groups Sunday night, not including any Northeastern participants. The Dear Abbeys of Boston University, The Charlie Chords of Berklee College of Music and independent group Similar Jones took first, second and third place, respectively.
“It was definitely a welcome surprise to see that we won,” Boston University senior and Dear Abbeys Business Manager Benji Hadar said. “We’ve been putting a lot more on the line this year in terms of putting it all together. For us, it’s really about achieving that blend and working to have everyone really connect on those harmonies.”
The group’s winning setlist began with Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” followed by Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Delta Ray’s “Chasing Twisters”.
“I don’t know if I’m ever going to have anything like this ever again,” Hadar said. “The bond that you form by just putting in the work and even after that – it really is something special.
Photo by Cassidy DeStefano