February 5, 2021, marked the debut of Acapalooza 2021, a virtual version of Shore’s long-running invitational festival of a cappella performance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, singing groups from Shore, the Academy at Penguin Hall, Manchester Essex Regional High School, Phillips Academy Andover, and Pingree School recorded each of their members separately, then mixed the recordings to produce completed songs. The headlining group, Mischief, a Boston-based barbershop quartet, also contributed recordings to the concert.
The performances were orchestrated and produced by Shore Upper School music teacher Jenn Boyum, who said, “COVID-19 has forced musicians to adapt in new and often challenging ways. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort, perseverance, dedication, and musicality of this group of young artists. Congratulations to all the participants of Acapalooza 2021!”
Boyum also offered special thanks to the Shore teachers who support Puellae Cantantes and Acafellas: Alex Asacker, Sarah Carlin, John Clark, Louis Frank, Sam Hamlin, and Sarah Sklarsky.
Shore’s Acafellas and Puellae Cantantes kicked off the virtual showcase with their version of the Kim Wilde song “Kids in America,” featuring members of the classes of 2021 and 2022. Boyum then introduced Soundwaves, the a cappella group from Manchester Essex Regional High School, which performed “Run to You” by Pentatonix.
Next up were Phillips Academy’s Downbeat, featuring Shore alumna Zori Warren ’20. Before their performances of Megan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancing” and the Muppets’ “Rainbow Connection,” Warren was interviewed by current ninth grader Marcela Hernandez, a member of Shore’s Puellae Cantantes. “We’ve been rehearsing over Zoom,” Warren said, “and we’ve really explored different options for mixing tracks together online. It’s been really fun.”
The Academy at Penguin Hall’s Ruby Slippers were next, performing “All Good People” by Delta Rae. They were followed by Pingree School’s Pulse Acapella, featuring Shore alumnae Kelly Blundin ’18, Catherine Card ’18, Ashley DuKatz ’20, Lizzie Kennedy ’20, Clare O’Holleran ’21, and Brooke Schatz ’19. The group performed Beyonce’s “Love on Top” and Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun.”
Jack McVeigh ’21, a member of the Acafellas, then introduced headlining group Mischief, which presented a collection of songs in the barbershop style for which the group is known.
Following Mischief’s appearance, singers from Shore, Pingree, Phillips Academy, and Manchester Essex returned to perform the finale, a version of “I’ve Got the Music in Me,” a 1974 song by the Kiki Dee Band.
“While this year’s concert may have taken a different format,” said Jenn Boyum, “the intent was still the same: offering area middle and high school an opportunity to join together to share their common interest in a cappella singing.”