Conned out of a win: UCONN’s Conn Men win this year’s Thruway Sing-Off

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By Caitlin Williams

The crowd went wild at Proctor’s Theater on Friday as the six competing a capella groups took the stage at the Thruway Sing-Off.

Sold out within days of tabling, Thruway showcased six a cappella groups from the northeast region.

This year, the concert featured our very own Dutch Pipers, Garnet Minstrelles and Eliphalets, as well as the UConn Conn-Men, UVM ZEST and BU Aural Fixation.

Each group performed three songs from different genres and time periods in music history.

Two alumni a cappella voices, Anna Gagnon and Dylan Magida, came back to announce the show, bringing cheery exuberance to an electrifying night.

Highlights included “Uptown Funk,” “September” and “Feeling Good.”

The talent consumed the theater and had the audience cheering for an encore from the winners at the end of the show.

Johnny Covey ’17 described his mindset in the moments leading up to his solo as “incredibly nervous, but I knew once people heard ‘ooga chukka, ooga, ooga, chukka’ that (the audience) would be hooked.”

Covey continued, “I just had to perform and feed off their energy. Being in the spotlight and getting out of my comfort zone was so rewarding.”

Covey was not the only Union student to shine in the Proctor’s  signature spotlight.

Julianne Tatelbaum ’17 described her duet: “(It was) so much fun! It was my first Thruway, and it was really awesome to be able to sing a duet (‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire) with Ross Josephs ’15. (The song) is upbeat and fun, so having someone to interact with was both reassuring and exciting. The environment for not only audience, but also for the performers was exhilarating.”

One of the most fun and uplifting performances coming from the Eliphalets was Uptown Funk.

Adam Weisse ’15 won the audience over the moment he threw on the shades and busted a move to his rendition of “Uptown Funk.”

“That was one of the most fun songs that we ever sang at Thruway and I had a blast doing it,” Weisse commented.

“It’s always fun when we get to perform a song that lets us all have a great time on stage while we still sound good. It gets the audience excited, and that energy makes the groups even more excited about the performance.”

The performances from all the groups were outstanding, creating a tough decision for the judges when it was time to pick the winner.

After the amazing performances, judges Neil Burrows, Krista Hawk and Marc Christopher declared the UConn Conn-Men and Eliphalets as the finalists.

The two groups each performed one encore, which would determine the winner.

After a fierce lyrical final showdown, the Conn-Men came out on top, with the Eliphalets grabbing the runner-up position.

The Garnet Minstrelles won the “Best Dressed” award. They also received this award in 2012.

The Concordy’s own Katelyn Billings ’16 spoke highly of the winners, of which she is a member: “Deciding  what to wear to Thruway is always a challenge, but the garnet blazers were a great touch this year. Originally, I wasn’t a big fan of them, but after looking at pictures from the night, we looked stellar, if I do say so myself. Winning ‘Best Dressed’ was just the icing on the cake of a great night.”

“Best Stage Presence” was given to the Dutch Pipers, who also won the award last year.

“Best Soloist” was awarded to one of the Conn-Men, and a special shout-out was given to the bass singer.

Overall, the night was aca-mazing and a great experience

for the performers and audience.

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