On Wednesday evening, Soulfully Versed, one of Suffolk University’s men’s and women’s a capella groups, hosted “Soul Night,” a showcase of the group’s work over the year. It was their first performance since 2019.
The event featured group and solo performances by members of Soulfully Versed, as well as performances by Tip Tap Toe, Fusion Dhamaka, and Rampage Show Choir.
Soulfully Versed is made up of Suffolk students: President Cheryl Akins, Vice President Haley Solomito, Treasurer Amethyst Kettrell, Secretary Laurel Frisbee, Public Relations Officer Akhila John, Year Two Kassidy Planas and Year One Linh Dinh.
The band opened with a performance of “Valerie”, originally performed by Amy Winehouse. Each member had their moment to shine during the song, and their voices complemented each other perfectly.
Akins, a junior, then delivered a heartbreaking performance of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Her voice carried the intense emotion of the song beautifully.
The Soulfully Versed ensemble returned to the stage to perform Billie Eilish and Khalid’s “lovely” and later Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, with Planas and Solomito as soloists.
It was clear during every song that the band enjoyed every second they were on stage together, smiling and cheering each member on when they had their moment in the spotlight.
Solomito said the group’s closeness is what sets them apart and is their greatest strength.
“If you’re not friends with the people you play with, it really affects the quality of your performance,” she said.
This was evident during the members’ solo performances when the rest of the band sat in the audience and cheered on each soloist.
Soulfully Versed is unique in that they don’t have a musical director. The band arranges all their songs themselves, spending months perfecting every note and harmony by ear. “Lovely” was their first arrangement, as well as their longest.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Soulfully Versed had a musical director and a choreographer. However, after the students returned to campus for the fall 2021 semester, Akins, Solomito, and Kettrell decided to take the band in a different direction, one where their vision was what came to fruition on stage.
Akins said that although the band had difficulty maintaining a consistent rehearsal schedule due to academic and work responsibilities as well as the ongoing pandemic, this show was the best she had performed as a member of Soulfully. Versed.
“I’m so proud of [us]“, said Akins.
Six of Soulfully Versed’s seven members performed solos. Planas sang a great rendition of Rhianna’s “Take a Bow,” Frisbee had Bruno Mars’ “Grenade,” and Kettrell sang Adele’s “Turning Tables.”
After a short intermission, Solomito opened the second act with a chilling rendition of “Paris” from Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. His powerful voice and raspy tone were perfect for the song.
Dinh performed “Won’t Say I’m In Love” from Disney’s “Hercules,” with the other members singing the muse parts. In the film, Megara sings about her past experiences with love, which culminated in her deal with Hades, the god of the dead. Although she says she won’t love anymore, she can’t resist Hercules and the muses try to make her aware of this throughout the song.
The group closed the show with “Don’t Let Go (Love)” originally by En Vogue.
In a traditional acapella group, members are usually assigned a specific vocal part to always sing. However, Soulfully Versed is anything but traditional. Each member’s part changes depending on the song and their individual vocal abilities.
The band credits this as another of its strengths.
“We do what makes us feel good, and that’s what’s great,” Planas said. “I think the difficulty with choral music is that you try to fit your voice into parts, but what’s cool about us is that we don’t adapt to anything. We just let out what we have.
Soulfully Versed is looking for new members for the coming year. Although there is no date set for the auditions yet, they encourage anyone who is interested and open-minded to audition. For updates on future performances and auditions, follow Soulfully Versed on Instagram @soulfully_versed.
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