By Yi He
The first Aesthetic Appreciation Programme of the year started off not with a bang, but with a beatbox.
MICappella is a Singaporean a cappella group consisting of six members – Tay Kexin, Calin Wong, Goh Juni, Peter Huang, Eugene Yip and Goh Mingwei. As the guest performers of the day, they delivered a mind-blowing a cappella rendition of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, complete with a wicked beatbox and mellifluous vocals.
After the song ended, MICappella introduced to the audience the history of a cappella. A cappella, Italian for “in the manner of the chapel” apparently began as a form of choral music in churches that eventually evolved into the modern a cappella that we hear today. Performers will imitate the sounds of instruments with their voices as they are typically done with no instruments involved.
This was followed by a live demonstration from the members of MICappella, who were all too happy to share their talents with us. They imitated the sounds of the drums, synthesizer, er hu and distortion guitar so convincingly that everyone was filled with amazement. Who knew that one could actually pull off those sounds with only their voice?
The whole hall was abuzz with excitement when they continued to perform another song, All Of Me by John Legend. The students were waving their phones with flashlights on as they sang, and you could see the little lights flickering here and there in the crowd like stars. The group’s audio technician seemed to be enjoying himself quite a lot at the back too, bobbing his head to the beat and swaying his hips while he did his job. The equipment on the table quivered precariously as he did so.
MICappella also performed a mashup of two Chinese songs, Hu Xia‘s “Those Years” from You Are the Apple of My Eye and Hebe Tien‘s “A Little Happiness” from Our Times. The mashup is one of their more well-known songs on YouTube, managing to achieve the impressive feat of hitting one million views within five days.
The subsequent interactive session was the highlight of the programme – they taught us the basics of vocal percussion and had everyone to sing a doo-wop, which is a style of pop music marked by the use of close harmony vocals using nonsense phrases. The student body was split into two divisions as they lead the divisions to sing “Ching-geh, ching-geh, ching-geh, doot doot” in different pitches. Unexpectedly it turned out to be the intro to the song I’m Yours by Jason Mraz.
The programme was going to end on a high note with the song Happy by Pharrell Williams, but the students were quite enthusiastic and demanded for an encore after the song ended. Thus we were graced with a final song – One Night In Beijing.
Thank you MICappella for giving the students and teachers of NUS High such a memorable experience. It certainly made all of us appreciate music a little bit more than before.