This past Saturday, Mixed Company kicked off the a cappella jam season with a highly entertaining installment in their “Snow Job” series. Bad sex puns notwithstanding, the evening was delightful as Mixed Company brought an eclectic mix of songs, parodies and skits to a more than receptive audience. Having never attended one of their jams before, I was struck by the amount of pantomime in the production (aside from the usual skits, the group staged “Ke$ha: The Musical” and “True Life: I Have a Gay Best Friend”). Of course, a cappella shtick in itself is nothing new. The difference is that this shtick was not only funny, but also an integral part of the act — there was never the impression that the group was trying to create high art. It is for this, if nothing else, that Mixed Co. deserved their applause. Too often at Yale, we find people who take their extracurriculars too seriously – just take Model UN. Mixed Co., on the other hand, demonstrated the self-awareness necessary to recognise that a cappella at Yale is just a wee bit ridiculous, and that the best way to combat that is to laugh at it as well as with it.
This is not to say that the music was secondary (the effortless control that Anna Miller ’14 brought to her solo was particularly memorable). But more importantly, Saturday’s concert showed us that half the battle with a cappella is knowing how to perform. No, it wasn’t perfect note for note, and no, not everyone killed his or her solo, but that didn’t detract from the evening. Many groups underestimate the power of rhetoric, that how you say something can often be more powerful that what you’re saying. Mixed Co. (thankfully) did not, and in doing so showed just how much can be gained from lightening up.