Amid the smell of brewing espresso and the murmur of conversation, eight girls — together representing every class — played this month’s Cap House.
The second act, senior Cecilia Lang and junior Bethany Berry, decided to perform at a Cap House on New Year’s Eve when they realized not only that a Cap House performance was on both of their pre-graduation bucket lists, but also that they wanted to perform the same songs, a repertoire that included everything from jazz to Disney.
The opening performers, sophomores Mary Kate Elfelt and Liz Lyons, have been playing together since freshman year. Emma Strain, who also performed with them freshman year at events like dorm open mics, joined them for two songs. The duo also played with freshman Monica Ryland, whom they met at Groundhog, where they invited her to join their act when they excitedly discovered that she could sing.
“She has the range that we needed to sing,” Elfelt said. “It worked out really well.”
Ryland wasn’t the only guest performer of the night. Elfelt’s two sisters, Meghan and Annie, also joined for a sister song, and the sole males to take the stage that night, Andrew Lane and Marcos Carmona, came on to play instruments for one song, but then, as Elfelt said, the girls kicked them out.
“One thing that’s really different about an all-girls cap house is we have a lot of things that the guys don’t normally do. Often the guys perform by themselves — I can’t remember one when guys [did] harmony or anything like that,” Elfet said, pointing out that many girls also play ukulele, which “isn’t your typical manly instrument.”
The girls’ instruments aren’t your typical concert choices either, with vocals being the primary emphasis. Lang and Berry described their instrumentation, which included shakers, a pot, and wooden spoon, as “very minimal.”
The instruments’ wide range fits the range of music being performed. Their set included songs like “They All Laughed,” older numbers and even one from Hercules.
In contrast to Lang and Berry, Lyons and Elfelt played songs of a different genre, including “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and some Mumford and Sons songs, which Lyons defends by saying that she knows that everyone is tired of them, but it was a song that was not released on an album.
Some songs Elfelt even composed herself.
“Composed is a strong word, but two [songs] I put together. One I wrote over the summer, and it really came together in Rome,” Elfelt said. “Both of these songs have a focus on death … one of them I’ve never shared with anyone before, except for Lizzie, so I’m kind of excited to share that one. I think a lot of people can interpret it in different ways. The second one I’m going to play … I think it’s the only song I’ve written for someone else. I actually wrote it after Andrew Esherick’s funeral, so I wrote it for him and for my grandpa because there are some similarities between that.”
Elfelt also sang with her siblings, Meghan and Annie, making their mother proud of her performing children.
“I think it would make her really happy for us to work together on a project and share it with other people, even though she can’t be here with us to experience that, she’d be excited to know,” Elfelt said. “Both my sisters are really excited to do it.”
Plan on performing at a Cap House to cross it off your bucket list?
“They fill up fast,” Berry said.
But each girl agrees that it is a performance worth the challenge.