RFA show choir to host collegiate invitational


Rome Free Academy’s Rhapsody Show Choir will host a Collegiate A Cappella Invitational on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the RFA auditorium, the Rome school district said.

Groups from six colleges will be performing, along with a guest appearance by RFA’s a cappella group, Fermata Nowhere. Tickets are $8 at the door, or $7 in advance at the Jervis Public Library or from members of Rhapsody.  

The six college groups competing are the Union College Dutch Pipers, the Skidmore Bandersnatchers, the RPI Rensselyrics, the Muhlenberg Dynamics, RIT’s Proof of Purchase, and the University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers. Competition will be through a scoring system compiled by the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella based on musical elements like intonation, dynamics, tone quality, and interpretation.

Adjudicating it will be Melissa Rashford, a 2000 RFA graduate who became musical director of the Syracuse Mandarins all-female a cappella group, and Amanda “Sky” Harris, a Syracuse University alumnus who has directed various area school and camp a cappella groups. Among participants:

• The Rensselyrics, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, are a co-ed group that primarily sings contemporary music arranged by its members. They are the oldest a cappella group at RPI, stemming from the original RPI Glee Club in 1991.

• The Union College Dutch Pipers are an all-male a cappella group that was founded in 1955 when Glee club members split off to form the new group. The Dutch Pipers have been making recordings since the 1960s.

• The Dynamics will be coming from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. They were the first a cappella group on Muhlenberg’s campus, founded in 1989.

• The Skidmore Bandersnatchers are Skidmore’s oldest and only all-male a cappella group, and a student-run organization. It formed in 1975 as a men’s underground bootlegging poetry group, and got its name from the poem “The Jabberwocky.”

• Proof of Purchase is RIT’s (Rochester Institute of Technology) original co-ed a cappella group, established in 2009. They perform a repertoire ranging from Muse to Christina Aguilera to Walk the Moon.

• The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers are an all-male group formed in 1998 in an effort to expand the boundaries of college a cappella.

The RFA groups, Rhapsody and Fermata Nowhere, will perform with the college ensembles but will not be competing. Fermata Nowhere is directed by RFA choral teacher Michelle Madonia-Rushford and was founded about eight years ago, becoming an official club in 2016. During the 2015-2016 school year, it performed frequently for the community, won the “Judges Choice Award” at a competition in Virginia and performed with Barry Manilow in March 2016 and September 2017 at the Turning Stone Casino. Members include Xander Pardee, Brandon Hensley, Jared McCullough, Derek Monahan, Jon Carissimo, Jake Carissimo, Matt Breault, David Cruz, Jerome Gordon, Miguel Hernandez, Giovanna Sudol, Miranda Camp, Jacquelyn Dixon, Darian Deeley, Gia Faraino, Gisele Faraino, and Rebecca Matte. 

Rhapsody, founded by Jake Meiss in 2010, has performed locally as well as in Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, and Florida. The group will perform mash-ups: combinations of songs with similar themes. 

Meiss is the music arranger and choreographer of Rhapsody, while Kristen Meiss, Debbie Kiefer, and Kerri Winkler are production managers. Its vocalists this year: Andrew Abreu, Jeremy Amoroso, Jacob Bruder, Jake Carissimo, Jon Carissimo, Anthony Coney, Jeremy Fargas, Zach Filer, Joe Gazzilli, Alex Guiliano, Zach Houle,

Derek Klopotek, Alex Linderman, Derek Monahan, Jon Peterson, Dillon Pfendler, Hunter Pisanneschi, David Salce, Elena Amoroso, Kayla Bush, Miranda Camp, Alessandra Ciotti, Ashlynn Dadarria, Darian Deeley, Samantha Gaffney, Taylor Griffin, Lauryn Haag, Madelynn Maiolo, Rebecca Matte, Abigail Morgan, Cynthia Moriarty, Ella Sorbello, Giovanna Sudol, Mariah Taylor, Alyssa Winberg, and Emily Worth.

Rhapsody is accompanied by a student combo of Moriah Humiston on piano, Deven Hosley on drums, Noah Hinckley on bass, and a horn section of Kenny Millson, Nick Ferretti, Dominic Sleszynski, and Alex Zappavigna.


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