The Melismatics celebrate 20th anniversary with performance at Radio City Music Hall


Lehigh’s oldest co-ed a cappella group, the Melismatics, celebrated their 20th anniversary with a concert on Nov. 12 and a performance opening for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall’s “Christmas Spectacular Show” on Nov. 13.

Jacob Thompson, ‘23, the group’s music director, said the Nov. 12 concert included current Melismatics, as well as alumni who were asked to return and perform alongside them.

“We will be doing some of the greatest hits from our last two albums and our last EP and just celebrating the progression of the (Melismatics) over the last decade or so,” Thompson said. “It’s crazy because we realized we’re 20 years old and we are running a group that’s 20 years old.”

Thompson said the concert included a set of songs the group has never performed before including, “Good Thing” by Kehlani and Zedd, “Break my Heart Again” by FINNEAS  and “Midnight Sky” by Miley Cyrus.

For the Nov. 13 show, the Melismatics performed a Christmas medley that included many holiday classics, Thompson said.

Maddie Kershner ‘23 Assistant Business Manager, led a performance for the Lehigh Melismatics on Nov 12, 2021. The group performed at Lamberton Hall this weekend. (Bucky Yu/B&W Staff)

Business manager Cecily Ritchie, ‘23, said the group has been looking forward to these performances. She said this was their third year returning to the stage at Radio City.

“It’s really exciting to be able to continue to have the opportunity because standing on that huge stage and performing right before the Rockettes is so cool,” Ritchie said.

The a cappella group is entirely student-run, which Thompson said allows for the utmost creativity, as opposed to having all decisions made by a conductor.

“This teaches students how to take it from ‘Oh yeah, this is something I do in my spare time’ to ‘this is something I’m committed to doing, this is something I love, this is my passion and I want to make sure this sounds the best it can be,’” said Robert Magnus, ‘25, a member of the group.

Thompson said it is important to him that the Melismatics provide a space for members to have fun, interact and share in their appreciation for music.

Heather Keyser ‘22 Public Relations Chair, led a performance of Lehigh Melismatics on Nov 12, 2021. The group celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. (Bucky Yu/B&W Staff)

The group has given students who share similar passions the opportunity to come together.

“There’s so much background and people come from so many different areas, so it’s good to give people that opportunity (to join) if they want to take it,” Ritchie said. “I fell in love with the group and their vibe and the energy that they brought.”

Magnus said he likes the balance of voices he finds in a co-ed a cappella group, as opposed to single-gender groups that tend to be higher or lower pitched. 

The Melismatics’ albums, including “Addicted” and “Reincarnation,” can be found on all streaming platforms. 

“It’s our first concert as this group, so we’re not only celebrating (Melismatics) for the last 20 years, we’re showing them ‘hey this is who we are,’” Magnus said. “We are also the oldest group on campus — continuing on tradition is amazing.”

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