B’Nats share talent with campus

Photo courtesy of the Ursinus B'Naturals

Ursinus’s all-female a cappella group held their first-ever showcase

Tom Armstrong


Saturday, November 19th at 8 p.m., on the blackboard in Olin Auditorium in big bubble letters was “B’Naturals Showcase.” Less descript were the words above: “Welcome to the first annual…” Five-point stars and music notes floated around.

“We haven’t done this before. This is sort of a trial run.” Rachel Rhindress stood center, in front of the four chairs, music stand, and bongo. “We don’t usually get a chance to showcase our non-soloists.”

The audience was patchy but sizeable. Rhindress addressed them familiarly.

“They will be introducing themselves,” she said, referring to the several performers featured in the showcase.

Exactly one week from B’Nats’ and the Bearitones’ joint concert, “Tone Down For What,” which took place in Bomberger, the showcase took advantage of its informality. The space was intimate. Any B’Nat member could sing, and they could sing anything with any instrument, instrumental, or lack thereof. It was a showcase for and by the individual.

At “Tone Down For What,” the B’Nats performed five songs. That gave them room for only five soloists, though there are 18 members in the B’Nats. Non-soloists sang supporting melodies in the arrangements.

The selection of those five songs is predicated on the audience’s musical taste and familiarity. Naturally, the choices were pop music.

And as an a cappella group, the B’Nats require an arrangement for each song in lieu of an instrumental. The arrangement designates people with different ranges (alto 1, soprano 1, etc.) to different melodies. Often when an arrangement is unavailable, a B’Nats member must compose an arrangement.

Five songs is thus five arrangements of several voice ranges. Performing more songs in the short time they have before the concert would be difficult, and hardly possible to compose while maintaining a focus on directing and rehearsing.

That’s why the B’Nats’ showcase invites their soloists to use whatever supporting melody or instrumental they want. For instance, sophomore Anika Backelin-Harrison stomped to her deep, strong cover of “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae.

Here’s what else the audience heard at the B’Naturals’ first annual Showcase:

  • Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” – sung by Rosy Hartford, mp3 instrumental
  • Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” – sung by Erin Farrell and Indira Joell, Farrell on guitar
  • Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” – sung by Emily DiGiorgio, DiGiorgio on guitar
  • Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River” – sung by Anika Backelin-Harrison
  • Beyoncé’s “One Plus One” – sung by Rachel Rhindress, mp3 instrumental
  • Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” – sung by Anika Backelin-Harrison, Allison Rohr
  • Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s “Like I’m Going to Lose You” – sung by Lauren Turet and Laura Valastro, mp3 instrumental
  • From Les Mis: “I Dreamed a Dream” – sung by Allison Rohr, mp3 instrumental
  • Us the Duo’s “No Matter Where You Are” – sung by Clara Greskoff, Rachel Rhindress, Indira Joell on bongo, Erin Farrell on guitar

Rhindress is hoping to prepare a setlist of 9-10 songs or arrangements for the spring B’Nats concert.