The Daily Gamecock

Jingle Jam closes out holiday festivities

The harmonic sounds of an elaborate holiday musical production echoed from the Russell House ballroom on Thursday. When heard, the music appeared to include percussive instruments, a keyboard and even bells. However, upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the sounds came not from instruments, but solely from the voices of those performing.

In its final event of the holiday season, Carolina Productions held a voice-only showcase to display the talents of USC’s various a capella groups. A capella music relies only on the voices of singers to create an entertaining musical atmosphere, so all of the night’s music came straight from the lips, tongues, and voice boxes of those performing. The show, aptly named ‘Jingle Jam,’ featured a smorgasbord of performances from the groups Resonance, Cockapella, The Cocktails, and the Carolina Gentlemen.

Jingle Jam is a tradition that Carolina Productions’ concert committee organizes annually. Each ensemble performed two songs, and while the show was mainly tuned towards a holiday theme, the set list also featured a smattering of unexpected songs such as Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” performed by Resonance. 

Hope Manninen, a first-year sports management major, is a member of Resonance. When asked about the choice to include “Valerie,” she said, “We chose the Amy Winehouse song because of the vibe and energy it contributed," and added that the group thought it would be something different instead of just Christmas songs.

The concert also included a headlining act by professional a capella group Voiceplay. Based out of Orlando, Florida, the group rose to stardom after their appearance on season four of the NBC program “The Sing Off.” Voiceplay included a wide variety of musical performances throughout their set. Along with the expected assortment of Christmas songs, the group of five included Broadway musical pieces, comedic skits and even an interactive performance with the audience members. The crowd reacted favorably to the group, and as Voiceplay finished their last song, an amalgam of whoops, hollers and joyous cheers filled the ballroom.

Kenneth Johnson, a first-year computer science student, was among those impressed by the showcase. With a nod to the popular movie "Pitch Perfect," Johnson said that the concert was “Aca-mazing, really." Johnson continued, "You know the talent we have here at USC is incredible, but they are just college students. When you see professionals out there on stage, you realize just how amazing we all can be. There was a lot of special stuff up there, and I’m really glad I witnessed it myself.”

Be on the lookout for future performances from USC’s a capella groups, and you can listen to Voiceplay’s Christmas album, titled “Peppermint Winter," on iTunes, Google Play and other music services.


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