A cappella acts hit the high notes on campus

For more photos, see the A cappella Festivella Slideshow!

David Morton said he and his a cappella group, Fermata Nowhere, get more practice outside of their four-hours-a-week rehearsal.

“You know, we’ll go to Jack-in-the-Box or something and hang out,” said Morton, a baritone.

If this group of 17 good-looking guys from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. can turn Jack-in-the-Box into a hip hang out, think about what they could do for an auditorium.

Fermata Nowhere was one of three acts that performed at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium Oct. 9 for the 11th Annual A Cappella Festivella, sponsored by UAA’s Concert Board. Local group Batteries Not Included opened the show for a crowd of over 600 people. Following Fermata Nowhere’s performance, Tonic Sol-fa, the recent winners of Best Rock Album from the Contemporary A Cappella Awards, took center stage.

Fermata Nowhere, which brought 13 members to Alaska , took some unscheduled rehearsal time in the Student Union before the show. The group serenaded Sarah Fraher, a Student Union Information Desk employee. They sang Chicago ‘s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.”

“I told them that I couldn’t go to the (show) so they sang for me here,” Fraher said. “They were incredible, holy cow.”

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The group has a smooth versatile sound. They do a little bit of everything, pop, R&B, contemporary, classical, jazz and more.

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At the concert, the group managed to pull off a happy-go-lucky rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya” and a modern choral version of the Latin classic “Ave Maria.”

“We don’t really have a style,” said Gary Lewis, whose vocal capabilities range from tenor to baritone. “We can sing anything you can give us. I sing gospel, so if we do a gospel song I can help out.”

The group also has a quirky personality. Decked out in red coveralls and black converse Chuck Taylors, they were definitely the spectacle of the evening.

“We have a lot of individual flair,” Morton said.

During the groups rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” a song that tends to be over-covered by a cappella groups but always a crowd favorite, one member jumped up on the back of another, like a monkey, and began a search for insects in his hair.

The headliners Tonic Sol-fa also covered “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” and they had their own interpretation as well. The group of four combined the hit with their favorite TV show, “The Muppet Show.”

Tonic Sol-fa also covered Van Morrison’s “Brown-eyed Girl,” along with some original tunes.

Before singing “Brown-eyed Girl,” the star of the group, Shaun Johnson, donning pin-stripe jeans and a loose tie, joked that next would be a song for all of the girls in the audience with eyes but “if you have pink-eye you better leave.”

The next Concert Board event will feature Morgan Spurlock, producer of “Super-Size Me,” a documentary of his month-long McDonald’s diet. The event will be held Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. Tickets go on sale Oct. 15 at tickets.com outlets and the Student Union Information Desk.