Blue Notes showcase features two other CUNY a cappella groups


The Baruch College Blue Notes held their spring showcase on May 7 in the Engelman Recital Hall located in the Baruch Performing Arts Center. The showcase featured several performances from members of the a cappella group as well as the Macaulay Triplets and the Queens College iTones. The entire show was hosted by sophomore Joshua Castillo, who hyped up the crowd with jokes, visibly bopping along when they took the stage for their performances.

The night opened with the Blue Notes. All of the members started with a version of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” arranged specifically for the group by current music director Laina Tzanides.

This was followed by Pentatonix’s “Run to You.” The third song, Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” featured Tyler Chen and Rebecca Dhala as soloists. The group wrapped up their first set of performances with “La La Latch,” a Pentatonix mash-up of Sam Smith’s songs, featuring Tzanides, Aurélien Creuillenet, Petya Yankova and current Blue Notes President Stelios Giannoulis as soloists.

Castillo then took the stage to introduce the next act: the Macaulay Triplets. The Triplets are an a cappella group that features members from numerous CUNY schools.

A particular stand-out of this group was Baruch’s own Nicholas Leung, who beatboxed and jammed out to every song that the rest of the group members performed.

The Triplets began with a rendition of Elvis Crespo’s Spanish hit “Suavemente,” dancing salsa as almost every member of the group sang at least one part of the song. This was followed by Gabrielle Goubran’s performance of Ariana Grande’s “Into You,” whose vocal range was able to capture both the high and low nuances of the song. The Triplets ended their night with a mashup of Demi Lovato songs, including her current popular singles, “Tell Me You Love Me” and “Sorry Not Sorry.”

The two soloists for the mashup, Natalynn Nuñez and Lindsay Griffiths, seemed to have a little sing-off on stage as they closed out the act.

The next group to take the stage were the Queens College iTones, the largest a cappella group present and coordinated in red and black outfits.

They started with the Bobby Day classic, “Rockin’ Robin,” featuring Jeremy Kessler as a soloist with Philip Garcia adding a comical interaction with Kessler. This was followed by Rozzi Crane’s “Half the Man,” which featured Katerina Hadjipavlis as a soloist. The next solo showcased T.J. Barnes covering the Aladdin song “Friend Like Me.” The iTones finished their night with a cover of “House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals.

The rest of the night was all about the Blue Notes, as two or three of the members would come on stage to perform their solos. The first one came from the seniors of the group: Creuillenet, Giannoulis and Jordan La. With Giannoulis on guitar, Creuillenet and La did their rendition of OneRepublic’s “I Lived.”

This was followed by Ben Platt’s and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Found/Tonight,” performed by Creuillenet and Kimberly Strempel with Joy Ling, who will take over as president and music director of Blue Notes next year, on piano. Creuillenet and Strempel harmonized at the end, individually showcasing both of their voices.

The next song was a stripped-down performance by Ling and Yankova of “I Will Always Love You.” Both members put their own twists on the Whitney Houston classic. The penultimate song of the night was also from Aladdin, called “Proud of Your Boy.” It was performed by Martin Hsu and featured Robert Ge on piano.

The most sentimental duet of the night, however, was Ling and Tzanides performing “For Good” from the musical Wicked, with Tzanides’ sister Lilly, on piano. It was symbolic of Tzanides passing on her position as director onto Ling. Even when technical difficulties caused Tzanides’ microphone to stop working, the duo powered through and brought several members of the audience to tears.

After the emotional performance, Castillo changed the mood by announcing that the Blue Notes decided to have a sing-off between the boys and girls.

The first performance came from the guys, called “I Want It That Wei,” which is a play on the name of the Backstreet Boys hit because it featured beatboxer Wei Lin as one of the soloists. The comical moment of the performance came when they all threw down their blazers to the ground.

The girls performed Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” All of the performers changed their outfits and Yankova and Lin came out donning purple and blonde wigs, respectively. The girls sang an almost jazzy version of the 2000s classic while Lin beatboxed. They would all freeze and make sultry poses at key moments during the performance, inducing chuckles from the audience.

The Blue Notes then came together again to perform their arrangement of “Unsteady” by the X Ambassadors. The Blue Notes officially ended the night with “Waving Through a Window,” originally sang by the cast of the musical Dear Evan Hansen. The stand-out of this performance was soloist Giannoulis as he energetically sang to claps from the audience alongside fellow soloist Strempel.

As every member of the audience emerged from their seats to give all three acts a standing ovation, bouquets of flowers were handed out to the graduating seniors and single roses to the current e-board.

The current e-board then handed these roses to the members that would comprise next year’s e-board, positing a tender conclusion to a night that left the audience with a wide variety of emotions.