Julian Brenman ’20
The big competition of Sunday, February 5th–though the first thing that may pop into your mind is the recent super bowl, we singers of the Spicetones, Gracenotes, and Foxtones, our school-organized a-capella groups, beg to differ. We were involved in our own competition–the fifth annual Main Line, A-Cappella Festival! The event held at the Haverford School, consisted of the following area-high school a-cappella groups: Baldwin B-Flats, Cheltenham Sons Of Pitch, Harriton Pitch Please, Haverford School Notables, Cheltenham Up The Octave, Upper Darby Encore Singers, and the Agnes Irwin Bel Cantos, in addition to our three groups from F.C.S. The festival provided a stage for high school a-cappella groups to perform, compete, and enjoy each other’s music. Each participating school was generously awarded $200 to their charity of choice–Our charity was the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Mr. Christian C. Hoyt, the fellowship committee chairperson, and former president of the Ardmore Rotary, gives the gist of what rotary associations are about. “Rotary’s motto is ‘Service above Self.’ Rotary was started in 1905 by Paul Harris from Chicago. His goal was to meet with his business friends and help the community. Rotary grew quickly and now it is represented in more countries than are represented by the UN. Currently, Rotary clubs all over the world aim to assist locally, nationally, and internationally through donations and works.”
Mr. Hoyt shares the origins of the festival. “The 1st A Cappella contest was held at Conestoga High School in the Spring of 2013 with 1 group from Conestoga, 2 from Radnor, and The Haverford School. The president of Ardmore Rotary in 2013 had the idea for a fundraising concert.” Though it’s a lot of work to coordinate, he say’s it’s a labor of love. “I love experiencing the different ways songs can be arranged, hearing the amazing voices of the next generation, and introducing the students to Rotary and philanthropy.”
Though he relishes the musical aspect, Christian shares the underlying reason the competition formed, to help others THROUGH music. “We want to impress upon the next generation that while it is very difficult to control politics, there is a lot that one person or one group can do to immediately affect the local community through ‘service above self.’ By rewarding all of the groups, [by giving to their selected charities] everyone wins and that is really the message we want to relay.” A reward for Mr. Hoyt, along with other audience members, was getting to hear our group sing. “My favorite part of the FCS performance was when all the separate groups joined and sang “Man in the Mirror.” The whole skit was spectacular and inspiring.” As far as his own vocal ability, Mr. Hoyt confesses “I sing very poorly and only in the shower… I am an avid listener!”
It was also a treat to hear from my own mother, Susan Brenman, about her thoughts on the event. She raves “I had the pleasure of attending the ‘A Cappella Sing-Off’ last weekend. It was wonderful to watch so many musical, talented, local students in the same room competing against each other at this special venue. The singers were so delighted to be singing and they inspired each other to sing at their best. The positive energy emanating from the stage was palpable by those in the audience. It was truly a treat to be there on an otherwise cold, gloomy, winter Sunday afternoon. I encourage all from the FCS community to attend next year — it will bring music to your ears!”
So, if you regret not attending the festival, have no fear! You don’t have to wait until next year to hear our fabulous vocal groups. Come to the spring vocal concert at F.C.S, and/or, order a singing valentine from either the Foxtones or the Spicetones!