With the end of the semester approaching, acapella season is in full swing as Maryland’s top performance groups all prepare to put on their big fall shows. The “Pandas” of UMD’s self-described “most eclectic co-ed acapella group” on campus, PandemoniUM, were no exception, as they hosted their fall performance at the Memorial Chapel this past Friday night. The group takes pride in their unique, diverse choices in musical selections and arrangements, a feature they certainly showcased this week.
The set list for the night consisted of 13 songs, split by a brief intermission, all originally arranged by several different group members. The Pandas kicked off the night with a powerful arrangement of the song “MLTMDTTRTSM” by the group Little Green Cars, a song the majority of the audience was undoubtedly unfamiliar with. However, despite the song’s obscurity, it proved to be a crowd favorite as soloist Emma Weber showed off her immense vocal talent with strong back-up from the rest of the group.
The majority of the set consisted of songs like the first, featuring titles such as “Sun & Moon,” “Find You,” “Medicine,” and “Another Love,” all by artists largely unknown by listeners. Nevertheless, they balanced their program by including a few more recognizable songs; most notably “Rather Be,” by Clean Bandit, “Parachute,” by Ingrid Michaelson, and “What Now,” by Rihanna, whose soloist Valen Gordon truly rocked the crowd with her massive and passionate vocals. Also included was a charming rendition of the Christmas classic “Baby It’s Cold,” featuring soloists Danny Mackey and Kiara Manosalvas, as the rest of the group provided supplementary harmonies while sporting classically ugly holiday sweaters.
Outside of the set list, the Pandas also featured some surprises of their own – prior to intermission, for example, the girls of the group joined together to serenade the guys in a mash-up of popular love songs. And at the end of the program, following the impressively arranged Simon & Garfunkel medley, the group came together to bring forward both alumni and current semester graduates in an eclectic medley which incorporated all styles from jazz to indie to pop.
Directly following the end of the set list, group members came forward to make closing remarks. Sophomore Gordy Scofield stepped up to tell a knock-knock joke, while music director Danny Mackey also came forward to congratulate his successor to the position, Seamus McKenna, after he announced he would be studying in Spain for the upcoming semester. The night then ended with overwhelming hugs, smiles and cheers from the crowd – audiences even stood give PandemoniUM a proper standing ovation.