BNS celebrates 15 years of a cappella

On April 25, at 7 p.m., I attended the Bare Naked Statues’ “The Golden Statues Awards” concert. This was my first BNS concert, so I was interested to see if they would live up to their lofty reputation. Well, I have one and only word for this concert: phenomenal. The Bare Naked Statues were an absolute joy to watch.

To start off, it was their 15th anniversary as a group on campus, so they decided to have an Oscar-themed concert. This not only an a cappella concert, but a show complete with hilarious pre-recorded reenactments of scenes from Oscar-nominated films. Some of the video clips had me in tears from laughter. BNS’ version of Cinderella took home the Oscar by popular vote.

More important, though, was the song selection. BNS began their concert with Justin Timberlake’s “That Girl” (arranged by Will Higgins and Jim Kane). Sophomore Tim Skelly started the concert off right with taking the lead on the song. Then, after the ladies of Beyond All Reason performed, Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (arranged by Zach Scherzer) was up. This was a stand-out song. Scherzer and Jeff Allison were the lead vocalists for “Blank Space”; it could not be more apparent how opposite the two were. Scherzer had the serious tortured artist look when he was singing, which completely worked for him and was perfect for the parts he sang. Allison, on the other hand, acted and looked absolutely crazy – in a good way – and perfectly portrayed the other Taylor Swift, who goes absolutely crazy in the song’s music video. The juxtaposition of these two characters was as clear as day and made watching them so much more exciting.

After Walk the Moon’s “Iscariot” (arranged by Joe Colarelli and sung by Ahish Nathani), we got to my favorite song from the entire concert, Twenty One Pilots’ “Holding on to You” (arranged by John Holland). BNS did this song justice. Tim Skelly was the perfect choice to match the voice of Twenty One Pilots lead singer Tyler Joseph. I cannot put into words how amazing this was to watch. Skelly and BNS were just as good – maybe even better – than the original.

This concert was also heartfelt and meaningful. These 13 members (12 present at the concert) care so much about each other, and it was especially evident when they said goodbye to senior John Holland. According to fellow members, Holland is the heart of BNS and how they stay motivated. Sophomore Alex Tadevich called him the “human pitch pipe.” Holland then performed his senior solo, “Da Jazz Medley,” which he arranged on his own. He has a Broadway-style voice, and I hope he continues to share his gift with others for a long time.

Finally, after Washington University’s The Amateurs performed, BNS ended their concert with their ICCA competition set. Emotion was strong onstage, and it was clear by the looks on the singers’ faces how much that set means to them. BNS received third place at the ICCAs with this set. After their final number, they came back out for an encore and did an awesome arrangement of “Uptown Funk.”

Here is to many, many more years of BNS’ wonderful musical talent.

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