Pitch-Perfect Nostalgia

Photo by David Khorassani.

What do collegiate a cappella and “The Amanda Show” have in common? Here’s a hint: both took center stage at The Sexy Pitches’ a cappella invitational last weekend.

New Paltz’s resident all-female a cappella team invited other a cappella groups from New Paltz, SUNY Purchase and SUNY Fredonia to share the stage at Studley Theatre on Saturday, April 2. The theme of the evening was a major source of nostalgia for college-age guests: “The Amanda Show,” a children’s comedy program from the late ‘90s and early 2000s starring comedienne Amanda Bynes.

The event opened with a pre-recorded comedy sketch starring the ladies of The Sexy Pitches. The sketch depicted the group selecting the “Amanda Show” revival theme for the event and, perhaps most hilariously, Byne’s number one fan emerging from an “Amanda Show”-induced stupor to meet the comedienne herself. Channeling popular recurring skits from the show, the Pitches had the audience roaring with laughter.

The Pitches opened the show with a fun set of two songs: “Lady Marmalade” by Patti LaBelle and “Settle Down” by Kimbra. The group then gave the floor to Absolut A Cappella, a co-ed New Paltz a cappella team, who performed a three-song set of “Parachute” by Cheryl Cole, “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics and “Sanctuary” by Alex Clare. Absolut’s performance of “Sanctuary” was the standout of the evening, with the group’s arrangement capturing the heart of the song.

Next up was Some Like It Hot, an a cappella group from SUNY Fredonia. The group performed Selena Gomez’s “Same Old Love,” Sara Bareilles’ “I Choose You” and a mashup of Bill Wither’s “Lean On Me” and Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” The Pitches then took the stage once more, performing an original arrangement of “Blackbird” by The Beatles.

New Paltz’s Male Call, an all-male a cappella group, performed next. The boys began their set with an intro song that borrowed lyrics and melodies from “The Nightman Cometh,” a cult favorite from AMC’s “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” and soon transitioned into Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.” Male Call performed two more songs: “Coney Island” by Good Old War and “Pusher Love Girl” by Justin Timberlake.

Choral Pleasure from SUNY Purchase was next in the lineup. The group performed a fabulous set, including The Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s Get It Started,” R Kelly’s “Ignition” and a mashup of five or six Taylor Swift hits.

The Pitches then closed the show with a set of “Retrograde” by James Blake, “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone and “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child. Club president Gabby Frometa, a third-year double major in digital media production and jazz voice performance, invited Pitches alumni to join the group onstage for the Destiny’s Child hit.

According to Frometa, the Pitches voted on their setlists for the performance. As the hosts of the evening, the group wanted to feature some new songs alongside hits they knew the audience would enjoy.

In regards to the night’s unforgettable theme, Frometa said the decision was almost unanimous. The group pitched ideas for a nostalgic ‘90s TV show theme, and after one member suggested “The Amanda Show,” the team went bonkers.

The Pitches only rehearsed four hours per week, so the week leading up to the event was crunch time, Frometa said. The group needed an extra rehearsal before the event, so they gathered in the common room of a suite that six Pitches call home.

“We ran through the entire set list in a circle in the common room,” Frometa said. “We sounded unbelievable! We were amazed by the sound quality and impressed by how much of our hard work paid off.”

Frometa was incredibly proud of The Sexy Pitches’ work toward making the invitational a success. She commended third-year music therapy major and fellow Sexy Pitch Theresa Orr, who arranged the group’s complicated performance of “Feeling Good.” Frometa also extended her thanks to the current ladies of The Sexy Pitches and club alumni, many of whom came out to support the group on Saturday.

A cappella enthusiasts can follow the Pitches on Instagram (@thesexypitches) and like their page on Facebook.