By Anna Jennison
On Friday 1st December, the forces united. In the spirit of Pitch Perfect, the Durham Dynamics and Northern Lights, two breathtaking acapella groups from Durham University, came together in a stunning display of vocal talent and collaborative spirit. Not only has this left an indelible mark on Durham University’s musical landscape, it also – as Northern Lights member Nick stated – “provided a nice opportunity to showcase acapella talent in Durham.”
Unlike the acapella rivalry in the Pitch Perfect films, this event united the fronts and left the audience in awe of their raw talent. This collaboration began in 2019 and has continued annually (with the exception of Covid years). With the backdrop of castle’s great hall, the audience were submerged in a rich space where vocal vibrations rippled under the skin. The mesmerising harmonies had a transcendent power, which was completely captivating.
Kicking off the night were the Durham Dynamics. The group established themselves in 2015 and can be recognised by their distinct burgundy colour.
The mixed acapella group covered an exciting range of genres, playing classics such as Treasure by Bruno Mars and impressing with the All Star-Year 3000 mashup. Their energy was contagious, and their performance was exuberant. The Durham Dynamics demonstrated that acapella is an art form that anyone can be part of. Their cohesion and enthusiasm could be felt by everyone.
Recognisable by their teal-coloured accessories, Northern Lights complemented the Dynamics, who provided the foundations for the Pool Mash-Up. Embarking on their 11th year as a group, the multi-award-winning group showcased their extraordinary ability to harmonise. This harmony was not only felt through their performance, but also through their cohesion, which is central to their ethos: “One entity, one voice.” This shows that as well as being driven by the quality of their sound, they are also simply a tight-knit group of friends.
Performing songs including All Night Long by Lionel Richie and Vogue by Madonna, the combination of the soloists’ performances and the accompanying musical dimensions of the group elevated the audience to a higher level of joy. The installed breaks in the songs, which were filled with their own artistic input, constantly kept the audience on their toes, eager to hear more.
To conclude the event, the two groups performed Angels We Have Heard on High by the Pentatonix, an acapella group that, according to Durham Dynamics’ co-president Dilly, inspires many people to pursue acapella. Their unity was represented through the blend of burgundy and teal, signifying that music is a social glue. This ending beautifully encapsulated the resplendence of the event.
The echoes of Pitch Durfect’s final harmonies linger in the great hall and the event stands as a shining example of the unifying power of music. It was not just a display of vocal talent, but a celebration of collaboration, creativity, and community spirit. We are already excited to see when the next collaboration is due to take place.
Image credit: Lucille Richards