For the second year in a row, the group “Tizmoret” of Queens College won the Annual Kol HaOlam National Jewish A Cappella Contest at Adas Israel.
“Kol Sasson” of University of Maryland also matched its previous year’s performance by placing second. “Jewop” of University of Wisconsin grabbed third. Ten Jewish a cappella groups in total competed.
The rankings were, in my humble opinion, spot on. My two apartment-mates and I all agreed that Tizmoret was clearly the best group this year. I also gave second place to Kol Sasson.
But while Tizmoret and Kol Sasson wowed me for the second year in a row, I’m not sure the groups — in total — lived up to last year’s performances (see all of last year’s performances here). Kol Sasson’s (UMaryland) first song from last year is still my all-time favorite from Kol HaOlam, and I think the best pop-song parody still belongs to Brandeis for last year’s “Today I am a Man” (Although I did greatly appreciate Wisconsin’s Jewish rendition of LMFAO’s “Party Rock” and Mezumenet’s Jewish parody of NSync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye”).
The audience and costumes, however, met and surpassed last year’s performance. Approximately 1,200 poured into Adas Israel’s main auditorium on Saturday night. Elie Greenberg and the rest of the staff managed the crowd with seeming ease. And I must also give a shoutout to volunteer ushers Steve Davis and Yang Ku for the part they played. As for the costumes, groups seem to have gotten the memo from last year that black shirts with matching blue or red ties and/or suspenders can look pretty awesome, especially during coordinated movement sequences.
The Adas staff also made sure we were duly entertained while waiting for the judge’s results. Jewish musician “Orthobox” treated me to the best beatboxing I’ve seen in my life (and I’ve live in New Orleans, Chicago … and Utah! … so I’ve seen some good beatboxing!) And we were also treated to a beatbox performance from one member of University of Rochester’s much-celebrated “Yellowjackets” a cappella group.
I’m afraid I didn’t tape all of the performances as I did last year. My iPhone had very little battery left, and because GTJ co-sponsored the event, we had such close seats that I wouldn’t have been able to capture the full stage as last year. I have, however, tracked down some videos that others have posted, and I will continue to look for more. Additionally, Adas Israel is going to release a more professional tape from the evening, and I will see about getting it up here. Please let me know if you know of other videos. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All in all, a really excellent night. Definitely made me put karaoke on my calendar. Who’s in?!
- Tizmoret, Queens College (song)
- Tizmoret, Queens College (song 2)
- Hooshir, Indiana University (song)
- Kol Sasson, Maryland (first song)
- Kol Sasson, Maryland (song)
- Staam, Washington University in St. Louis (song)