Senior Mackenzie Lawrence received a phone call from Ben Folds’ manager two weeks ago. Last Friday, she learned the a cappella group she heads, the Vibes, would be performing with Ben Folds on stage this Saturday, when Folds headlines with Jason Mraz at the Smith Center.
“We were ecstatic,” Lawrence said.
“The anticipation was hard to handle when [we] didn’t know if we had been chosen,” she added. “We were up against some hard competition.”
She said both the Sons of Pitch and Emocapella, two all-male GW a cappella groups, were rumored to be in contention for the coveted spot performing with Folds.
The experience is anticipated to be unlike any other for the Vibes, although for Lawrence, it does recall the University’s spring concert in 2007, featuring Regina Spector. Lawrence said that when Spector learned the Vibes had a song of hers in their performance, she came out to watch them.
“It was a weird celebrity connection,” said Erica Manoati, a junior in the Vibes.
The Vibes’ history with the musician is more extensive than the upcoming concert, Lawrence added.
Last year, Folds had an open call for college a cappella groups to send in covers of his songs. The Vibes sent in their renditions of “Missing The War” and “Army,” but were not selected.
“The manager said it wasn’t what they were looking for,” she said.
Lawrence said the successes of the group are many. In addition to performing at the University’s inaugural ball in 2005, the Vibes were elected “Best Student Performance Group” in 2004 at the Excellence Awards, sponsored by the GW Student Association.
Founded in 1999 by two transfer students, The Vibes stand out from other a cappella groups by being co-ed and completely student run, Lawrence said, which means they are not affiliated with the music department and are completely responsible for their own music and arrangements. Lawrence said this makes being noticed by Folds especially exciting.
“Both our arrangements and our music was chosen,” she said.
Ryan Karsner, senior and second head of the Vibes, added: “We’ve very proud. We work very hard and it’s just nice to be rewarded for hard work. It’s a huge time commitment.”
The Vibes will perform with Ben Folds, co-headlining with Jason Mraz, this Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Smith Center. Tickets are $33 and available through Ticketmaster.