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Acatoberfest energized crowds

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A line formed outside Varsity Theatre that stretched a block both east and west down Wisconsin Avenue Saturday night. Members of the crowd waited outside for nearly an hour just to get a seat on the ground level of the theater. Bright lights and smoke filled the auditorium half an hour before the show began as hundreds of students and families filed in and found seats. Backstage, six groups of students prepared for their first performances of the year.

Marquette’s third annual “Acatoberfest Invitational,” hosted by A Cappella Productions, showcased six groups from the Midwest, including the university’s three a cappella choirs: the Naturals, Gold ‘n Blues and Meladies. Also featured were University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Fundamentally Sound, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign’s No Comment and Limited Edition from Port Washington High School.

The emcees of the invitational – Krystal Morales, a senior in the College of Communication and member of the Meladies, Chloe Hurckes, a junior in the College of Communication and member of the Gold ‘n Blues and Patrick Hardie, a sophomore in the College of Communication and member of the Naturals – started the night off with a laugh when Hardie interrupted the girls’ welcome speech by entering the stage wrapped in toilet paper and appearing distraught and confused when he realized that he came to the show in costume and no one else had. 

After the introductory skit, Fundamentally Sound took the stage. The group sang three songs, including a laugh-inducing doo-wop style cover of “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil John.

Oliver Cardona, a sophomore at UW-Madison and a second-year member of the group, said he enjoyed his second performance at Acatoberfest.

“What I like about it so much is the energy that we get from the audience and all of the other groups,” Cardona said. “It’s amazing how we come together for this. I love it.”

The other groups performed arrangements from several genres and decades. Each group sang three to four songs and the show ended with No Comment’s rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” 

Daniel Tessman, a first-year School of Dentistry student, attended the event for a second year in anticipation of a great experience.

“I came tonight because I went last year and I absolutely loved it,” Tessman said. “All of the groups are really talented and they did great tonight.”

Nikhar Merchant, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences and member of the Meladies, has seen a lot of growth within her group since she auditioned just under a month ago. What was once nerves turned to excitement when she got on stage with the other women of the Meladies.

“I haven’t performed in a while and performing for this crowd was so exhilarating, especially with those girls,” Merchant said. “Over the last month so much has changed. It’s really nice to  give your all with people you love.” 

The crowd clapped and sang along to several songs and some audience members gave rowdy cheers for friends on stage throughout the performance. Approximately a thousand people showed up to watch the show.

No Comment’s Maddi Wethall said it was unlike any performance she has experienced in her three years with the group.

“This was honestly one of the coolest things because we have never had that light production and all of us thought it was so fun,” Wethall said. “The sound was great. We never have 14 individual mics, and the crowd was just absolutely incredible. It was such an amazing experience.”

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