This year's annual fall A Cappella Fest brought several A Cappella groups from around the state and New York. The bill included Winchester High School's Octets and the Winchester High School Chamber Singers. Joining the local musical talent were the Skidmore Drastic Measures from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs New York, Harvard's Opportunes and Berklee's Pitch-Slapped.
The ensembles joined together in the Winchester Town Hall Auditorium bringing musical entertainment and harmony to a nearly sold out audience.
This show was organized and brought together under the leadership of Winchester High School Music Director Christopher Nickleson.
"It's a great event for the community. It showcases the music department and students get to perform with guest groups," stated Nickelson. "We have had professional adult groups in the past. This year [A Capella Fest] features all colleges."
Performing with the Drastic Measures is Winchester High School Alumni Sam Szabo, class of 2007. Szabo is remembered for his many high school performances. He was active in the choir, played the saxophone in band, was in every musical production each of his four years at the high school and he was a singer with the Octets.
"A Capella Fest was a favorite event every year. I knew I wanted to sing A Capella in college. I wanted to join a group and bring them back to Winchester," said Szabo. "This is the third time we have been here. It is one of our favorite gigs to do. It's a good opportunity to go on a road trip as a team and to sing in such a large venue. The audience here appreciates A Cappella. That means a lot to us."
Szabo has been a member of Drastic Measures since his first college semester. He is hoping that following his 2011 graduation he will find a career in theater and arts.
The Drastic Measures performed five tunes, including Shark in the Water by V.V. Brown and Chicago by Sufjian Stevens.
Following Drastic Measures musical expose was the Harvard Opportunes. This group featured Winchester High School and Octet Alumni Lilla Cosgrove. Along with other songs, The Opportunes sang a Michael Jackson medley complete with dance routine.
"The great thing about Octets is they graduate and join college A Cappella groups and then they come back to perform," said Nickelson.
Lilla Cosgrove's younger sister Martha is a member of the Octets and she sang the chorus for Drive by Incubus.
"It's great being up there with an audience," Martha Cosgrove said.
Also performing with Octets this year is new member and sophomore Ruby Sands. She took lead vocals on a rendition of Animal by Neon Trees. This performance brought awe and amazement from not only the crowd but also other A Cappella group members.
Nickelson was very pleased by the student's performances.
"They worked very hard for tonight," stated Nickelson.
There are two A Cappella Fests held each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Both showcase pop music and the talents of the Octets. Also held annually is the Madrigal Fest which is a performance of classical music.
The Octets can be found on Facebook.