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A cappella group Street Corner Symphony mixes sounds, brings energy to stage

Breanna Soroka / Lantern reporter


Street Corner Symphony brought its own brand of a cappella to Columbus Saturday night, captivating audiences with its high energy and specific sound.

Jeremy Lister, a tenor of the group, said the group’s unique sound comes from the mixing of members’ various musical backgrounds.

“Sort of the way The Beatles or The Beach Boys, every person had their own flair, we bring the same kind of elements and it all works together,” Lister said. 

The Nashville-based group originally gained notoriety for appearing, and being the runners-up, on Season 2 of NBC’s a cappella competition show “The Sing-Off” and consists of Kurt Zimmerman, Adam Chance, Mark McLemore and brothers Jonathan, Jeremy and Richie Lister.

Though the performance took place in a dimly lit, cramped Rumba Café, which can hold up to 200 people, with an audience less than a fraction of the size garnered at the television studio, Street Corner Symphony showed absolutely no disappointment and exuded just as much energy and joy as if the group was performing in front of millions once again.

The group performed fan favorites from the show, including upbeat hits “Come On Eileen,” originally by Dexys Midnight Runners, “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train and “Down On The Corner” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The songs were just as perfect and performance-ready as they were when they were first performed on “The Sing-Off.” 

The group performed its signature rendition of “Creep” by Radiohead, with Jeremy Lister taking the lead in a flurry of emotion that immediately caused a hush to fall over the audience.

Although these are the songs that made the group famous three years ago, Chance doesn’t think performing them will get old anytime soon, an attitude that was readily apparent during the performance.

“I think we’re happy performing these for a long time,” Chance said. “We are trying to move into some original music and some new cover tunes we didn’t do on the show, but I think some of those songs will stick with us for a while.”

The group did break out one of these original songs, “Most Of It,” written by McLemore. Although much of the audience was unfamiliar with this slower tune, there was no less excitement in the air than when a Beatles medley was performed later in the night with the audience nearly overpowering the performers’ vocals with their own. 

It also became clear during several segments of the concert that Street Corner Symphony is a group that does not take itself too seriously. At one point, Jonathan Lister and McLemore were vocally and physically engaged in an intense pingpong battle, with Chance acting the part of a spectator. The group knows how to have fun with its members’ vocal skills and wasn’t afraid to show it.

The members’ personalities also shined through the teasing comments they made to the audience throughout the evening, including an emotional outburst from Chance toward the end of the show. He pulled his beanie all the way to his chin, and through the hat cried into the microphone, pulling one over on the audience as well.

“We travel and we perform for thousands of people … for trillions of people,” Chance joked. “And you guys are by far the most recent ones we’ve ever had.”

The night ended when raucous applause from the audience brought Street Corner Symphony back to the stage for an encore song, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” McLemore snuck another joke in before the group left the stage for good.

“Thank you for a standing ovation all night long,” McLemore said, gazing out at the standing room-only venue.

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