by JESSICA HOLLAN
Question: What was an internationally acclaimed a cappella group doing in rural Tiffin, Ohio? Answer: Slaying.
Accent, an international a cappella group birthed from YouTube, performed for the Tiffin community Thursday, March 9, in Tiffin University’s Marion Center. Under the soft aesthetic of precariously hung fairy lights, Accent performed a diverse set that featured everything from Frank Sinatra to Ariana Grande.
Opening for Accent were Tiffin University’s own a cappella groups Higher Ground and Up in the Air. The all-female Higher Ground opened the show with raw rendition of “Hold Up” by Beyoncé. If you did not know any better, you would have sworn that Queen Bey was there herself, with soloist Ashley Uzomba’s vocal similarity ringing uncannily close with the queen who served us Lemonade.
Before handing it off to Up in the Air, Higher Ground performed once last song, “Hump de Bump” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Adrion Stanford on the solo. Full of high energy and a fierce attitude from the leading lady, “Hump de Bump” had the audience grinning from ear to ear.
Taking a cue from Higher Ground, Up in the Air also slowed it down for their first performance. The group started out with an original song by Professor Alex Manfredo that featured both Sarah Giles and Madison Torio. Hauntingly beautiful, it captured the audience in a spell. By the end of the performance you could have heard a pin drop right before the entirety of the Marion Center busted into a roaring applause.
CJ Thompson closed the group’s performance with a riveting performance of “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars. Thompson wowed the crowd, earning plenty of shrieks from multiple fangirls.
As it turns out the members of Accent were also fans. Multiple times throughout their set, the group praised Tiffin University’s two small groups for their dedication and high performance capabilities. Members of all groups were captivated by Accent and were honored to have been able to perform with them.
“Opening for Accent as a member of Up in the Air was a great opportunity,” said soloist Sarah Giles. “More than anything, it was a phenomenal learning experience to workshop with them in the afternoon beforehand. They critiqued and tweaked our two songs, and applying their master tips in performance took us as a group to the next level.”
Fellow Up in the Air member Daniel Drockton agrees.
“Opening up for Accent was a blessing and a privilege that very few people can say they have done here in the United States,” said Drockton. ”They are a charismatic group of brilliant musicians. Overall, they are both very humble and awe-inspiring, you will never want the show to end.”
The members of Accents have performed together live only 12 times, but they showed no signs of that fact. With beautiful harmonies and a wide range of vocal capabilities, they gave the impression that they had been singing together their entire lives.
The group kept it interesting, matching the young vibe of their audience. Cracking jokes between songs, mostly about their ranging nationalities, Accent performed classic favorites by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole, with songs from modern pop artists in between. Near the end of their set, Accent toyed with numerous cartoon theme songs, which delighted multiple people in the audience, including choir member Brandon Utley.
“They mixed comedy with their performance, and they never missed a beat,” said Utley. “I honestly did not know how much I was going to enjoy this performance since I had never heard of Accent until this year, but it turned out to be one of the greatest performances I’ve ever experienced.”
If you missed the performance or want to hear more of Accent, follow them on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @AccentVocal. Be sure to follow us here at The Tystenac on Twitter and Facebook @TUTystenac, as well, for more information on the special performances put on by Tiffin University’s music department. Stay tuned for more, because rumor has it that Accent will be returning for another performance next year!