On April 7, Christian acapella groups from colleges throughout the North-East gathered in Trinity Chapel for this year’s Break It Down Boston concert.
Every year one college in Boston hosts this event, and this year it was Boston College’s turn. Against the Current, BC’s Christian acapella group, welcomed seventeen other groups from as far away as Johns Hopkins University and as close to home as Boston University.
All these groups come together to praise the Lord in song. This year the theme was 2 Corinthians 12:9: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
Last year’s host group from Harvard, Under Construction, opened the concert with a rendition of Sia’s “Free Me”. An impressive aspect of the event was that many of the groups sang secular songs, but before they sang, a member of the group would explain why they found the song spiritually meaningful. One group sang “You Will be Found” from the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen. While the song is not forthrightly religious, they explained that they found a connection in the song to Jesus’ promise to find the lost sheep.
BC’s Against the Current performed last of the college groups. They sang their version of The Greatest Showman’s “This is Me” which was arranged by an alumnus of the group. Incorporating some light choreography ATC tactfully portrayed their confidence in their identities as children of God. The performance was excellent, and the audience response indicated that everyone loved their singing. In general, the high level of intensity and excitement of the audience for every group was a welcome standout feature of the evening.
Annemarie Arnold, MCAS ‘21, who sings with ATC, said of her experience, “That we could gather together coming from different traditions and different countries to lift our voices as one for one God was really inspiring.” Annemarie also noted that right before they went onstage “most groups reminded each other not to sing for themselves, but for God, which was really reflective of the common heart of the groups.”
The concert concluded with a performance by the up-and-coming artist, Sam Ock. He performed a number of his songs, which he described as “music you can study or commute to.” His music resists easy classification. Sam draws mainly from hip-hop and soul music and manages to draw them together in surprising ways. He also showcased his notable his musical versatility, both singing and playing the piano remarkably well.
The event ended with a moving moment. After Sam Ock finished his music, all the groups stood up from their places in the pews and all together sang the “As the Deer.” The common desire to worship gave the singers a palpable sense of unity, and made this closing song one of the highlights of the concert. For any Christian with an interest in acapella, Break it Down Boston is a yearly must-see.
Featured image from ATC's YouTube Channel