The Cat’s Meow, GC’s acappella vocal ensemble, held its annual concert, “Milly Melodies,” on Friday, April 5, in Peabody Auditorium. The Mercer Bearitones also made a surprise guest appearance. Featured songs spanned over multiple genres and decades.
The Cat’s Meow is comprised of 11 vocalists, both men and women, who participate in group singing without instrumental accompaniment. Vocal percussion, instrument mimicry and beatboxing are some examples of technique implemented by the group. Members rehearse every Monday and Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. in Porter Hall.
“I get joy in watching the audience and how they react to each song in our performance,” said Adrian Fisher, a music major and vocal percussionist “It shows that the finished product was well worth all the preparation.”
The Cat’s Meow ignited the stage with an engaging 2017 pop classic, “I Like Me Better” by Lauv. Next, in a somber twist, the Bearitones took the stage in their performance of the rock alternative “The Ballad of Mona Lisa.”
Some other songs included in the Bearitone’s concert collection were “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae and “Some Nights” by indie pop band Fun.
At about halfway through the show, the Cat’s Meow made its way back on stage for the much anticipated, crowd-thriller “Feel it Still.” Following this stunning number, the Cats showcased their diverse range of melodic voices in a sophisticated ambiance, performing “Desperado,” “Wake Me Up,” “Golden Slumbers” and the crowd favorite classic finale, “Africa.”
“Being a part of an acapella group is different than being in other ensembles because we have to really rely on listening to each other and make sure all the voices blend correctly,” said sophomore Megan Ostrat. “So it’s challenging, but it’s a lot more fun once you get used to it and learn the music.”
She described how the group teams up and vibes off of each other for success in the college’s only non-classical ensemble.
As far as skills needed to be in The Cat’s Meow, Ostrat said, “A good sense of aural skills [being able to hear pitch quality, rhythm and chords] and musicianship definitely help, as well as a genuine passion and love for performing.”
Director of the Cat’s Meow, Stephen Hutchings arranges all of the music for the ensemble and was a music major at GC. Hutchings has a vast background in choral arranging and reconceptualization.
“There is this feeling I get in my chest when we all hit the notes right, have the timing right and the beat, and everyone is in sync,” said freshman Jessica Hodgdon, an English major. “It’s a deep sense of completion. When I first joined The Cat’s Meow I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but it really is like the movie “Pitch Perfect,” where we dance around and bop to the beat.”
Each member of the Cat’s Meow gets to showcase his or her vocal talent, whether it’s soprano, alto, tenor, baritone or bass.
“High intensity pop and songs like ‘Feel it Still’ give me the opportunity to showcase my speed and technicality of my beatboxing, while the slower songs portray emotion and feeling,” Fisher said.
Photo by Maggie Barnhardt | Staff Photographer