Buffalo Chips Woos and Coos
The aroma of perfume and body lotion is pungent as over 400 fans pack into the red rows of the Lippes Concert Hall. As moving lights cross the ceiling, friends and lovers take their seats.
They're expecting an a cappella performance. Instead, Chips Keegan, Burke-Falotico, and Cory Mikida greet the audience and begin the show by butt dancing to the Spice Girls and embracing to the theme from Titanic. Love was never quite like this.
This was just the opening number of raunchy episodes in the Buffalo Chips' 17th Annual Valentine's Day Concert on Friday.
As the Chips all took the stage and began making love to the crowd, a series of holiday-appropriate lights aided in wooing the fans. The dashing sound and lighting were provided by the Chips' own production company, A Cappella Productions.
Crowd pleasers like "Forget You," "29 Ways," and "Womanizer" spurred the energy while the Chips cycled through soloists. However, this would not have been quite as enjoyable without the Chips' signature tomfoolery. The comfort these musicians have with one another shines through as they gently mock each other.
Although they are casual jokesters on stage, once the music sets in, the sound is strictly professional. Each voice provides a bright, bold harmony, pointing to the Chips' profound vocal skill.
As part of the Chips' spectacle of shenanigans, Burke-Falotico and Mikida donned their best summer dresses before the second set. Burke-Falotico admitted to have been on stage in a dress previously in his acting days, but never in front of such a large audience.
These wacky encounters are something fans have grown to expect from the Buffalo Chips. Burke-Falotico believes the name certainly says it all.
"We all try to be funny," Burke-Falotico said. "We're all just a bunch of goofballs, and we're all doing the best we can so it absolutely represents what we're trying to do here."
Syracuse University's all-girl group, Main Squeeze, also had a key role in making Lippes Concert Hall a lively affair. The group's combination of singing, beat-boxing, and rapping entertained the crowd. The crowd praised their rendition of "Dear Prudence," as well.
Kristen Mazurkiewicz, a sophomore pharmacy major and singer for the Royal Pitches, UB's women's a cappella group, had a front row view of the action.
"They did a lot of things that I haven't seen girl groups do," Mazurkiewicz said. "They were very impressive from start to finish."
Toward the end of the Chips' second set, one lucky lady was asked to come up to the stage to be serenaded by the vocalists.
Katie Enderle, a senior biology major and self-proclaimed Chips fan, was thrilled to take the seat on stage as she was adorned with roses and a teddy bear from the flirtatious soloists.
Enderle squeaked with excitement as she talked about her growing crush on the Chips. She has been a fan for years, and this was a moment that she would hold in her love-soaked memory.
Burke-Falotico, Buffalo Chips business manager and performer, has known Enderle through Glee Club and was glad to make her part of the show.
After the two groups left the stage, a projector lowered and revealed the Chips in a short clip of spoofs on popular TV shows like 16 and Pregnant and My Strange Addiction.
More hilarity ensued afterwards. Mikida struggled through the bathroom birth of a watermelon, while the audience roared as Zach Carr confessed his life-altering addiction to smelling hair.
The show is only a preview of what the group has in store. The Chips are planning to release a new album at their spring show on April 14th – their third and final large show of the year. The a cappella album will cost $10,000 to produce.
The Chips aren't a Student Association-funded club and must find ways to fund themselves with help from their fans.
"You could say we fund [the project], but really everyone who supports us funds it," Burke-Falotico said.
Their upcoming album is currently untitled, and is intended to match some of the highest quality a cappella recordings in the country.