Close-knit Agnes A Capella delivers years first concert

On Nov. 8, St. Olaf’s Agnes A Cappella sang their hearts out at their first concert of the year in the Lion’s Pause. The nine melodious ladies and two beat-boxing lads overcame a lackluster audience and some roughly-tuned patches to deliver some crowd-pleasing favorites during their hour-long concert.

Highlights of the event included Sara Bareilles’ empowering summer single “Brave,” Duffy’s sassy “Mercy,” Ingrid Michaelson’s crooning “The Chain” and Alicia Keys’ ballad “If I Ain’t Got You.” Soloists Maria Coyne ’15, ­ Sheridan Blanford ’15, Emily Haller ’14 and Annie Weinheimer ’15 brought expert musicality to their respective songs placed perfectly within their range.

The concert was not without misses though. Lorde’s “Royals” got off to a rough start, but soloist Hannah Bundrick ’14 eventually settled into its cavalier attitude to end on a high note. The audience’s low energy and Agnes’ medium volume did nothing to help the singers power through Mumford and Son’s “I Will Wait” or Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” which both sank in without much of a climax.

Despite the awkwardness, Agnes’ charm shone through the crowd’s silence. They broke their formal attire routine and wore individual, unique fall outfits and joked during breaks, grabbing water and doing their best to rouse a laugh out of the audience. Intermission trivia managed to keep attention for a bit, revealing quirks about each of the members as they streamed back on stage.

There were other surprises as well, such as an interesting new take on Johnny Cash’s country classic “Ring of Fire,” featuring Rose Dennis ’15. A climatic appearance by soloist Zach Jackson ’14 during Kelly Montoya’s ’15 solo in “Almost is Never Enough” by Ariana Grande added a dramatic edge.

Overall, Agnes’ members banded together, overcame some vocal obstacles and produced a lyrical show despite a dull crowd. “We’ve been really working on our stage presence, and I think it really showed,” said Weinheimmer, responding to criticism that Agnes could have had better energy. “I think there were places for improvement, but we did a good job,” Montoya added.

This satisfaction reflects Agnes’ dedicated spirit and close-knit feeling. In speaking with four of the members, it is clear they have worked diligently to put together a quality performance – they called themselves a family.

“You know it’s a close-knit group when you constantly have to say, ‘Okay guys, we need to stay on task,'” Dennis said.

“What we look for [in potential members] is not [singers] trying to showcase themselves; we want people who want to work together,” Montoya said.

Agnes is using this diligence to create a new album set to be released this spring. It has been two years since their last album was released, and they are currently raising funds for the new recording. It will include their favorites, a few select new tracks and a solo song for each member. Artists being considered include Whitney Houston and Ellie Goulding, and the group says they welcome more suggestions from fans.

This summer, the group was also contacted by a casting director putting together a TV show for MTV. This TV show was described as a “real life ‘Pitch Perfect'” by Coyne, who laughed at the idea of Agnes doing reality TV. “We don’t have enough drama to be on a TV show,” Coyne said.

These four members mentioned that Agnes is grateful for their dedicated beat-boxers and their fans.

“We worked really hard, and we thought it paid off,” Weinheimer said. “We want to thank everyone for supporting Agnes because we work hard to put a good show together for you guys,” Dennis added.

You can follow Agnes A Cappella on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Look for their concert with the Limestones in December, as well as a new album and auditions for new members in the spring.