Obertones, Koreo Pull Heist to Remember


Sarah Herdrich

The Obertones strike poses during a rousing performance. Their show, The Great Finney Heist, included elements of theater and comedy not often found in a cappella performances.

Keara Scallan

Last Saturday night in Finney Chapel, the Obertones brought the audience to their feet with their talented vocals and slick footwork. For their annual spring a cappella concert, the Obertones collaborated with Koreo, Oberlin’s hip-hop dance troupe, in a performance titled The Great Finney Heist. The show included a skit in which the Obertones searched for the treasure that the late Charles G. Finney had hidden within the building. I arrived fully prepared for hijinks and excellent music.

The Obertones hooked the crowd with palpable energy. As soon as the group arrived on stage, people began to cheer. The strong rapport between the Obertones and their audience was impressive to see. Their mash-up of Backstreet Boys hits was particularly popular, with Koreo members dancing in their seats on the second floor balconies and a few people from the audience singing along. Their songs were interspersed within the skit, which was narrated by Conservatory first-year Billy Krager and College junior Sam White, both of whom adopted clever accents and quipped about Finney’s secrets. Meanwhile, the rest of the Obertones crept through the shadows and pretended to search for gold. Although the skit added an interesting dimension to the set, it was a bit choppy when they segued into songs. However, their music was certainly worth the occasional awkwardness.

Upon discovering a vault that contained Finney’s treasure, the Obertones had to crack the puzzle shielding it: the unbeatable Bop It. I was impressed with how they managed to revive the childhood game, with College senior Noah Guthman performing the role with considerable skill. Once the vault was opened, the secret of Finney Chapel was revealed in the form of Charles G. Finney, brought to life by College junior Colin Seikel. Unfortunately, Finney had eaten the hidden treasure in order to stay alive, only to die rather abruptly on stage minutes after leaving the vault. Seikel’s acting brought a lot of laughter from the audience, and the skit itself was a welcome reprieve for the performers, who were likely tired.

Koreo performers arrived onstage soon after the performative respite, sweeping in after the first few lyrics of the Obertones’ cover of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” began. Their sweet moves combined with the Obertones’ snappy beatboxing made their final performance enjoyable. After covers of Nat King Cole’s “Around the World” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” the Obertones closed with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” which left many audience members wanting more. Overall, I enjoyed their heist and am happy to note that their final performance was one to remember. It was yet another great reminder as to why the Obertones are such a staple of Oberlin’s a cappella scene.