Latest PALS Event Welcomes “Backtrack” A Capella Group

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Scarlett Chu, Campus Reporter

Kent School’s latest PALS event welcomed the premier a cappella vocal group Backtrack on January 15, 2020. Backtrack is a five-person pop vocal group based in New York City. They transform familiar tunes into voice-only performances, showcasing the top-notch vocal and beatboxing abilities of all of the members. The talented group includes soprano Mallory Moser, alto Melissa Jordano, tenor Mike Hinkle, bass Jojo Otseidu, and beatboxer Johnny Buffalo. Starting off on YouTube in 2013, Backtrack gained a large following through their talent, opening the door for them to perform live, “which is really what we love and do full-time,” soprano Mallory says. 

“PALS,” which stands for “Performance-And-Lecture-Series,” is a program that invites off-campus lecturers and artists to come to campus to perform. In this instance, Backtrack visited Kent a second time at Mrs. Kovacs’ invitation. 

Backtrack opened the concert with Ariana Grande’s mega-hit “No Tears Left to Cry,” and followed up with The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” They then performed “Free Your Mind,” an original song about trusting yourself and taking what life throws at you in stride. The group then gave a “crash course” on how they build an a cappella song. They start with a rhythm from beatboxing, then add a bassline, and then finish with vocals and backups before the solo part. 

Earlier in the day, the Kentones and Kenettes had already met up with Backtrack to learn basic beatboxing and a simple dance to the classic “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” so during the second half of the show, they, along with eager audience members, were invited on stage to perform along with Backtrack. 

Unfortunately, thanks to an ill-timed fire alarm triggered by some grill smoke in the kitchen, the audience needed to leave Mattison Auditorium, but Backtrack didn’t let that stop them: they performed “This is Me” from the movie “The Greatest Showman” right in the Field Common Room. Many people, even Mrs. Kovacs, believed that it was the best performance of the night, and everyone bid their goodbyes to the group thrilled with the entire event.