By: Jamie Boghosian '18
Happy Halloween from Ingrid Sound and Falconize! This October 8th, we took a trip into historic Salem to take part in the Haunted Harmonies competition. To get in the Halloween spirit, our groups dressed up in costumes in hopes of winning the best costume award. Falconize dressed up as Johnny Depp characters ranging from classics like Edward Scissorhands, to the Mad Hatter and Jack Sparrow, while we in Ingrid Sound dressed up as classic vampires. The bus ride to the competition was full of excitement. Ingrid was scheduled to compete, while Falconize tagged along to attend workshops, street sing, and cheer us on. Our groups were the first to arrive at the Salem YMCA, so we made our way into the auditorium where we warmed up together and made last minute adjustments to our costumes. As other groups began to fill in, we saw their costumes, which included cats, skeletons, and characters from The Wizard of Oz.
Once all of the groups settled in, Mr. Grover, cofounder of Haunted Harmonies, gave everyone a warm introduction and a run down of the day’s schedule. Before the competition could begin, Evan Northrup, a street magician, made a grand entrance by running onto the stage to give tips and tricks on how to “busk”, or street perform. He demonstrated one of his magic tricks, taught us how to get (and keep) a crowd, and told us the number one rule of improv; never say no. After Evan’s informative presentation, we made our way down Essex Street towards the Fountain Stage where we were scheduled to compete. Phoenix, a professional all-female a capella group from the Boston area, were the ones to host the event. They opened by performing two of their own songs, and once they were finished, the college division groups were the first to compete.
We waited patiently and nervously, while listening to the college groups sing their sets. Since we were the first high school group scheduled to perform, we took the stage when the collegiate groups were finished. “Don’t forget the point!” Mr. Grover said, in reference to the choreography in one of our songs. We grouped together closely, and a few of the girls shared some inspiring words. As the college group’s song came to an end, we put our hands in the middle and whispered, “One… two… three… Ingrid!”
We sang our hearts out, giving the songs all the energy we had. Everybody was dancing to our song, having a great time. Even some of the judges began to move along with us. (And yes, we remembered the point!)
Once we were finished, we listened to the two other groups we were competing against; The Sachimes from Saugus, and the ArgoNotes from New York City. Both groups were very talented, so we knew we were facing some tough competition.
After everybody performed their songs, we broke for lunch. Off we went into the streets of Salem. There were tons of cute little cafes right in walking distance for us to get a bite to eat.
On our way back to the YMCA from lunch, some of us saw Falconize street singing, earning money which will be put towards the making of our next combined album.
We made it to the YMCA, where we split up and each picked two musical workshops to go to. The four options were Solo Performance, Vocal Percussion, Marketing and Fundraising, and Arranging. I chose Vocal Percussion and Arranging, both taught by Vox One, a professional five person a cappella group. The other two workshops were taught by Phoenix.
Once the workshops were over, it was time to street sing. We were paired up with a group from Emmanuel College, Acapocalypse, and you probably already guessed it, but yes they were dressed up as zombies. We had three designated singing spots that we shared with Acapocalypse right in the middle of the busy Bizzare Bazzare. We sang our sets then moved from place to place. The streets were so crowded that there were points where we were at a complete stand-still trying to get to the next spot. Salem, busy in the middle of October? Crazy, right? The crowds worked to our advantage however, because they made good audiences. We earned a great deal of money to put towards our album using our newfound busking skills.
By the time we finished street singing, we had worked up quite the appetite, and Mr. Grover had something special planned for us. Along with Falconize, we walked down the street where we enjoyed pizza and soda, for dinner and cookies for dessert. It filled us up and it was really nice getting a break to bond a bit.
When everybody was refueled and ready to go, we walked towards Murray Hall where the final results were to be announced. Once all the groups were settled in, co-founder Tina Jordan and Mayor of Salem, Kim Driscoll gave some quick remarks and thanked the people who made the event possible. Phoenix took the stage one last time to give the final results.
The first results they announced were specialty awards including Best Costume. We might not have won Best Costume, but we did win best Halloween-Themed Song for arrangement of “The Other Side” by Bruno Mars. Also, Abbi Foglietta, one of our members, won Best Arrangement for her version of the song “Elastic Heart” by Sia. We stood up and cheered for our group and for Abbi as well.
Finally, the moment had come for Phoenix to announce the Best High School Group. “Drum roll, please…” the Phoenix announcer said. We had waited nine torturous hours for these results. “The best high school group is… INGRID SOUND!” We jumped up out of our seats and screamed. We were ecstatic. Phoenix then announced Upper Structure from Berklee College of Music as the Best Collegiate Group.
We were invited up onto the stage to sing “The Other Side”, our award winning song, and Upper Structure was invited up right after us. After adrenaline filled performances by us and Upper Structure, the night was closed with a special concert by Vox One, who are incredible by the way.
Everybody on the ride home was either exhausted and ready to fall asleep, or still singing songs. Our 14 hour day was full of excitement and adventure. Personally, I had an incredible time competing, street singing, and roaming the spooky streets of Salem and I’m glad I got to do it with my friends in Ingrid Sound. It was an experience none of us will ever forget and I hope we have the chance to do it again next year.