A Capella Overboard at QU

By on May 1, 2013

With all of the shenanigans of May Weekend, it’s easy for on-campus events to be overshadowed, but those who decided to stick around last Friday night were given a musical treat with Boston-based a cappella group Overboard. The five singers put on a personal and soulful performance with a mix of modern day tunes and classic favorites that brought audience members to their feet.

“I feel like we’re in a living room with you guys in your comfy leather chairs while we sing!” Overboard member Caleb Whelden said. The rest of the members, Nick Girard, Johanna Vinson, Donovan Davis and Eric Morrissey all agreed.

The show was hosted by Quinnipiac University After Dark (QUAD), and organized by Performance Chair Cassie Klatskin. With a lot of planning in advance, the Carl Hansen Student Center Piazza was able to provide a relaxing and cozy atmosphere that was perfect for a late-night performance. There were cookies, candy, refreshments and other small souvenirs for the audience and performers to enjoy.

“They were amazing,” QUAD member Neliana Ferraro said. “The small audience size helped them interact with the crowd.”

The group itself emerged in 2006, going from a weekend side project to a full time commitment. While some former members were not able to keep up with the rapid progression due to other jobs, outside singers filled in the spots. Currently, the newest member is Eric Morrissey who joined this past December.

“We are perpetually on tour,” explained Johanna Vinson, who is the first female vocalist to ever join Overboard.

The bulk of their tour locations are colleges and universities as well as a cappella festivals all over the country. Soon Overboard will be traveling overseas to South Korea for a two-week tour. They have already been a featured entertainment for the likes of American Idol, PUMA and Mitsubishi, as well as on The CBS Early Show, and have caught the attention of the global a cappella community.

Overboard currently has six albums out, their most recent being “Help!,” released in 2009. It is a 23 track collection of Beatles songs, featuring “Come together,” and “Help!” both of which they performed at Quinnipiac. They also performed many modern songs, such as Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” and “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. According to Vinson, some of the group’s favorite songs to perform are “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi and “Skullcrusher Mountain” by Jonathan Coulton.

“My personal favorite is ‘25 or 6 to 4’ by Chicago,” Vinson said. “It is very challenging so it takes a lot of ‘musical nerdiness’ to sing.”

No matter what the group is singing, the energy is always high and their notes are always perfectly in pitch. They are able to show their versatility in style and musical genre with their 50 plus song repertoire. From classic rock to contemporary hip-hop, Overboard was able to blow the crowd away and fill the Piazza with music. From a far, one would think someone was blasting songs from a stereo; when in reality every sound you hear is coming from the member’s mouths.

“We are always learning new music,” bassist Donovan Davis said.

Davis sang bass with a range so low it is hard to believe that a bassist isn’t hiding behind the stage making the same sounds. His rare voice quality brings something special to Overboard, as does the group’s beat-boxer Nick Girard. The sounds he makes perfectly resemble the percussion heard from a drum set. During the show, he taught the audience how to make those sounds and put them in a pattern. Some audience members were also able to come up to the stage with him and show off their newly learned skills.

With every show they do, as Davis so keenly put it, “we keep everything fun and fresh.”

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