SCAMFest Successes: A Showcase of the 5Cs’ Superb Singers


Belén Yudess ’25

Copy Editor Intern


On Nov. 18, the Southern California A Cappella Music Festival (SCAMFest) was hosted at Big Bridges Auditorium by the 5Cs’ oldest group, The Claremont Shades. Special performances filled this year’s event, succeeding in setting a vibrant mood for a night of epic power anthems and soulful ballads.

The showcase featured performances by the eight 5C groups: Midnight Echo, The Claremont Shades, One Night Stanza, After School Specials (ASS), Earth Tones, Ninth-Street Hooligans, Blue and White, and Mood Swing. Each group performed two songs and were joined by Groove Nation Dance Crew for a hip-hop tribute during the intermission. 

SCAMFest is one of the most popular events of the fall semester due to its ability to bring together 5C students, members of the Claremont community, and students from other universities under a shared appreciation for music. The event’s line-up included award-winning a cappella groups from across California: The Spokes from the University of California, Davis, the University of Southern California’s (USC) SoCal Vocals, and the University of California Los Angeles’ (UCLA’s) Scatter Tones performed alongside the resident groups. 

“There’s this element of excitement when you see groups from UCLA or USC because its people that you’ve never met and now also get to see perform,” said ASS soprano Esther Goldberg ’26. “It’s also the fact that it’s not a competition, but just a bunch of people coming together to sing; it’s so beautiful.”

The night included Mood Swing’s heartfelt take on Joji’s “Slow Dancing in the Dark” soloed by Avery Chen PO ’24, The Claremont Shade’s remarkable rendition of Hozier’s “Movement” soloed by Nithya Kumar PZ ’24, Midnight Echo’s chilling version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” headlined by Jadin Porter PO ’26 and Dominic Feder Di Toro PZ ’26, and ASS’ tear-jerking tribute to boygenius’ “Not Strong Enough” led by Izzy Gustitus ’26, Monty Ellwanger PO ’24, and Ben Baraga PO ’24. 

High-energy performances included Blue and White’s dynamic cover of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” dueted by Tara Zhang ’24 and Catie Cryan ’25, Earth Tones’ soothing version of Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” soloed by Uma Kaler PO ’25, and Ninth Street Hooligans’ amusing and lively production of The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men” led by Elsie Dank ’23 and Rowan Norenberg PO ’27. 

For members of these a cappella groups, opportunities to perform reinforce strong relationships within their own groups. “These people are my friends, but it’s also been really nice to see that I can hold this really profound respect for these people because we make this really cool music together,” Goldberg said. 

Gustitus echoed Goldberg’s love for ASS and described the immense passion she has for the group’s approach to musicality and spirit. “I think our flexibility to execute songs of different styles with so much energy and love is just so powerful and fun,” she said. 

Gustitus noted that a lot of work is required while preparing for SCAMFest aside from learning the music itself. “The intensity picked up [in the last three weeks before SCAMFest] because that’s when you move out of the cozy space of learning the music and into the dance studio,” she said.  

For many of these groups, choreography introduces a new challenge that requires more time and support. While approaching this aspect of the showcase, however, Gustitus acknowledged the importance of creating a supportive environment for all members. “It’s all out of love and bringing people up to make us better,” she said. 

Although rehearsals can be overwhelming, Gustitus believes that an optimistic and growth-oriented perspective ensures that everyone gets the most out of the process.   

“We have the talent and the sound to make beautiful music and we just have to forgive ourselves for maybe falling short for a second,” she said. 

Gustitus encourages anyone whose interest was piqued by SCAMFest to audition for a cappella in the future. Her experiences with the a cappella community have been extremely fulfilling and impactful on her college experience so far. 

“These people will become your best friends,” she said. “It’s awesome and so special that you get to go and put your energy into something you just love. If younger me could’ve seen what I’m doing right now, she’d be floored!”

Don’t forget to follow the 5C a cappella groups: @moodswing.acappella, @theninthstreethooligans, @theclaremontshades, @stanza.gram, @earthtonesblaremont, @mignightechoacappella, @blueandwhiteaca, and @assacappella for updates about their upcoming holiday concerts! 


Image Source: Midnight Echo

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