Photo Credit: Paul Reitano Photography
On Saturday night, October 3rd, Bryn Mawr College’s very own Extreme Keys hosted the 2nd Annual Bryn Mawr A Cappella Festival: A Key to Change with great success! The festival boasted eighteen singing groups from across the Tri-State Area. The teams hailed from The Tri-Co (the name for Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore College’s consortium) to as far away as Princeton University, all together to share in one night of good singing and good spirits.
The doors opened at Thomas Great Hall at 6:00 PM to audience members from Bryn Mawr as well as supporters from participating schools and plenty of community members. Tickets to the charity-oriented event were $5 each, with much of the profit from the show going to the Keys’ chosen charity: The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. One of the most memorable parts of the night was when a representative from JDRF explained the Foundation’s background and goals. As a person living with T1D herself, the representative gave the audience a heartfelt perspective on the reason for the event: to benefit an organization focused on helping real people suffering from an (as of yet) incurable disease. She gave descriptions of the projects that JDRF helps to fund such as a wildly cool method of making sure that diabetes patients don’t have to constantly inject insulin, which is how they regulate their blood sugar since their body cannot produce insulin on its own. The particular method she brought up, encapsulation, involves implanting a device full of healthy beta cells (cells that produce insulin) right into a patient so that those cells can produce insulin when it is needed for months before the cells die off. For patients living with T1D, this sounds really good since it takes away the need to inject insulin when they need it. No more needles (for a while, at least)!
The Keys chose JDRF as their charity for this year’s event partially because some of the Keys themselves struggle with T1D. Helping to fund research relevant to the team this year really helped to capture the audience’s attention and interest in contributing to the charity. Not only did the Keys contribute ticket sales to JDRF, but they also set up a donation page (linked at the end of the feature) so that those who were interested in the festival, as well as those who could not make it, also had a chance to contribute to the cause of type 1 diabetes research.
Save for a few dead microphones and one slightly overzealous parody group, the content of whose performance centered on both sexual and religious humor unfortunately caused a good amount of discomfort across the audience, the festival went off without a hitch. The Keys themselves gave a sizzling performance of Janelle Monáe’s “Electric Lady” following an equally skillful performance of “How to Be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds. It was a good night overall for Bi-Co (Haverford and Bryn Mawr) performances with Bryn Mawr’s the Night Owls at the top of their game and two Bi-Co groups (Counterpoint and the Looney Tunes) each bringing their own flavor and skill to the festival.
There was laughter, there were tears, and just about everything in between from the audience that night. A big thanks overall to the Extreme Keys for hosting this great event for Bryn Mawr and the community. Though this year’s will be hard to beat, we cannot wait for next year’s festival!