Pipe-A-Thon traverses time, genres

On Saturday, November 9, the Rusty Pipes hosted their 17th annual Pipe-A-Thon, called The Rusty Pipes Travel Through Time. It started at 7 pm and ran until 9, and was held in DCC 308. The groups that performed were Vocal Accent from Rochester Institute of Technology, The Girls Next Door from the College of Saint Rose, and of course, RPI’s own Rusty Pipes.

I’d never been to a Rusty Pipes show before, and what a shame! They were fantastic. The show was themed around this makeshift “time machine” the group built and their escapades through history. The Pipes kicked the night off by performing “Troublemaker” by Olly Murs, with Andrew Ernest ’15 and Morgan Gostylo ’15 as soloists. Their all-vocal cover was musically sound; everyone harmonized perfectly. There’s just something about hearing those precise intervals. Alright, I’ll admit it, I’ve actually never been to an a cappella show before, and hearing this first song made me realize its novelty. I used to play in an orchestra, so I know how important being pitch perfect is (see what I did there?).

Following the opening song, the Pipes explained that the time machine was down, and in the meantime, Vocal Accent was here to perform. An all-girls group from RIT, they performed melodically and matched the excitement that the Pipes began the show with; for one of their songs, the club brought a member’s father in front to serenade him. It was quite a treat seeing the group all the way out here.

When Vocal Accent took their leave, the Pipes hopped back on stage to travel back in time to the 1400s, making everyone feel just a little more susceptible to the black plague. They celebrated their successful time travel with a cover of “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Matt Rose ’16 gave his first solo performance of the night, and it blew me away. With a firm command of his vocal range, Matt ensured the audience of a certain confidence in his voice. This was followed by rendition of “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday. In such a devout time period, not singing about religion would be a travesty. Tired of the squalor all around them, the Pipes traveled forward in time to the 1930s; what could possibly go wrong? Clearly someone didn’t pay attention during American history class. Fortunately, nothing heightens the spirits like an upbeat song; it’s not [all] about that money, money, money. With Alaina Borst ’13 as soloist, the group’s cover of “Price Tag” was entertaining and lively. The group snapped and “made the world dance”. Afterwards, to touch upon the ensuing chaos during the time period, the group performed “Madness” by Muse, with Matt as soloist. This ended the first part of the show, allowing the audience to enjoy the 30s during intermission (unlike that time period, however, there still were snacks and drink available to all).

When we came back, the Pipes, dressed to the nines, resolved to travel to yet another period, the 1960s, the rise of rock and roll. Taking leave to explore, the group introduced The Girls Next Door to give their part of the show. A local club from the College of Saint Rose, they gave a delightful performan ce and kept the audience upbeat. A glance at any of their faces during their time on stage would put a smile on your face too.

After The Girls Next Door finished their act, the Pipes marched back onstage and used their time machine to warp to a more recent time: the 90s—a time of grunge and the wonderful birth of Bradley Schwartz ’16. Then, they performed one of my favorite pop songs: “Titanium” by David Guetta. Leading vocals for the song was Gina Trivellini ’15, and she did a fantastic job with it. Closing my eyes and listening gave me musical chills. Following “Titanium” were the group’s covers of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap and Apologize by Apologize, with Matt as the soloist.

Before moving on to the last part of their show, the Pipes traveled to the 2000s, the advent of the internet and Wi-Fi and when Brad first learned how to sing. Jumping to the front, Brad, as soloist, sang “Swallowed in the Sea” by Coldplay. Continuing this bright and happy theme, Ernest led the group in “Isn’t She Lovely” by my main man, Stevie Wonder. This concluded all that was listed in the pamphlet given to the audience; however, that wasn’t all. The group, in their final act, decided to warp themselves to the future! Here, in this unfamiliar place and time, they sang one of their classics, “Pride (In the Name of Love)” by U2, as an encore.

Seeing the Pipes for the first time made me realize how much I missed out last year. They put together a great show Saturday night, and if you missed it, it’s a damn shame! I appreciate the strides the group made to include Vocal Accent and The Girls Next Door, and many thanks to UPAC Sound for their technical support. I look forward to the Pipes’ next concert in the spring!