The one and only Acatober concert displaying all 320 voices of the choral department and more than seven different singing groups will take place on October 20 and 21.  

Acatober is a solely a cappella concert featuring special performances by WHS Song Sisters, Brooks Brothers, Concert Choir, and the Rice Street and Keynote singers. The four WHS a cappella groups will also perform alongside this year’s special guest, the all-male Boston University Dear Abbeys.

There are three parts to the concert,” said Dr. Kevin MacDonald, director of the Choral department.

The concert starts off with a cappella performances from Song Sisters, Brooks Brothers, Concert Choir, Rice Street, and Keynote singers. It then shifts to the a cappella groups.

There are four a cappella groups. Renegade wears purple, A Cappella Anonymous wears cobalt blue, and Inchordination wears red. There is also an all girls a cappella group, Ladies First, who wear black. The concert will close with this year’s guest group, the Boston University Dear Abbeys.

“The first set of groups are directed by Dr. MacDonald, and he brings a unique and enthusiastic approach to teaching that is evident in the performances,” said Liliana Sydorenko ’19, a member of Rice Street and A Cappella Anonymous, “He challenges his students until they have achieved a mastery of the pieces they wish to perform, and you can tell that he put a lot of time and meticulous care into working all the pieces.”

This concert is unique, as it is mainly student run.

“You audition in front of all the students, then you get picked [for a] group,” said Elizabeth Robbins-Cole ’19, a member of Keynotes and A Cappella Anonymous. This is the third year Robbins-Cole has sung at Acatober.

“I feel exceptionally proud of our a cappella groups, we instituted this program to open up more solo opportunities for students and to allow students to perform more contemporary music,” said Dr. Mac. “They say that the highest level of learning is when students take what they have been taught and independently apply and interact with the subject area, the fact that our students have learned about student leadership, music directing, arranging, rehearsing, and performing is amazing to see on stage and in action as they communicate their music to the Wellesley community.”

Acatober is also unique in that there is no accompaniment, meaning there are no instruments in the background to go alongside the voices of the singers.

Acatober is a party on stage from start to finish,” said Sydorenko, “There is no accompaniment for any of the pieces, which makes everything that much cooler. The entire choral department puts its talent on display in a 2-hour concert of fun and great music.”

“The early date of this concert jumpstarts the pace of learning and the overall quality of our program,” said Dr. Mac. “While I admit that I feel a bit of stress trying to prepare this concert, it is an overall positive for our department, school, and community.”

“When I speak to my choral colleagues across the state, they always think that I am absolutely crazy to put on a concert of this size and scope so early in the year,” said Dr. Mac. “They are right, however, our students and our ensembles are exceptionally talented and enthusiastic and this concert is always a smashing success.”

Acatober was my first concert as a part of the WHS choral department and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” said Sydorenko. “There’s something about standing up with more than 300 other kids who are crazy passionate about the same thing you are, and singing your heart out to a song you love. The experience of being completely inundated by the huge sound of the whole department is one that you can only get if you attend!”

Acatober anticipates celebration of singing and a sellout crowd


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