Belen Yudess ’25
Social Media Manager
Let it be said, sung and (midnight) echoed that the a cappella groups of the Claremont Colleges lit up the stage during their one night (stanza) at Human Symphony. Human Symphony, organized by Midnight Echo, took place April 15 at Mudd’s Shan Steps and featured two performances by each of the eight groups: Midnight Echo, Blue and White, Earth Tones, Afternoon School Special (ASS), Mood Swing, One Night Stanza, Ninth Street Hooligans, and the Claremont Shades.
From the upbeat take on 5 Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect” by Ninth Street Hooligan’s Lila Feldmann PZ ’24, ASS’ Izzy Yau-Week CMC ’25 and Lucy Thompson’s CMC ’25 powerful and tear-jerking rendition of Adam Melchor and Emily Warren’s “Last Song on Earth”, and Midnight Echo’s Annemarie Gerlach’s PZ ’23 show-stopping version of Whitney’s Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody,” Human Symphony was an exuberant celebration of music and a cappella.
Midnight Echo’s music director Isha Singh ’23, whose solo performance of Sammy Rae and the Friends’ “Good Life” excelled, explained the significance of Human Symphony within the 5C a cappella community and the importance of this year’s concert.
“The last time that we did Human Symphony was in 2019 because COVID hit before we were able to do our performance,” she said. “Then in 2022, SCAMFest, which is hosted by the Claremont Shades, was moved up to the spring instead of the fall, so all the groups were not able to prepare two different sets of music. That’s why we were very excited to put Human Symphony on again.”
Singh also noted that there is a significance behind hosting Human Symphony in the spring. “The tradition for Human Symphony is that it is an outdoor concert,” she said. “Historically our group has always hosted it near the Smith Campus Center steps, but we decided to do it at the Shanahan steps at Mudd instead.”
The venue change was ideal, according to Singh. “It was a really beautiful venue and allowed for us to keep that tradition of the springtime where everyone is outside enjoying each other’s company, the weather and listening to the music that everyone is making within their groups,” she said.
Human Symphony and being a part of a cappella throughout her college career held a deeper meaning for Singh, whose brother and Midnight Echo alum Zayn Singh ’20 participated in the last Human Symphony pre-pandemic. “I remember my brother was a junior when I saw him perform at Human Symphony when I was here for Admitted Students Day, and I loved it,” she said. “I always had this beautiful memory of it, so it meant a lot for me to actually be performing in it. Also, just seeing all my friends perform in it from our group and the other groups was just a culmination [of everything].”
Mood Swing member Lucia Blumling ’25, who closed the show with an outstanding take of Paramore’s “Ain’t it Fun”, echoed Singh’s appreciation for a cappella and the bonds that are built within groups. “What I really love about Mood Swing is that when I came to the callback, I felt like they were my friends,” she said. “Everyone in the group is so passionate about music, but also about the social aspects of it all. We joke about being like a family, but we are a family.”
Blumling joined a cappella this year after realizing her desire to find a community on campus that was centered around her enjoyment for singing and performing. “I’ve always been involved in music since a young age and freshman year I found myself lacking in that,” she said. “I used to go to the dorm hall pianos to play and sing, but I was trying to find something a little more concrete.”
Although Blumling had musical experience coming into college, anyone can audition for a cappella. She encourages anyone interested to give it a try, and believes that a cappella is a supportive and empowering space for those who share a love for music.
“Don’t be afraid to audition,” Blumling encouraged. “All of the groups are very nice people and are so passionate about music and about having new members that no matter what the outcome of your audition is, you’re going to have a fun time.”
Image Source: Belen Yudess