Singing for a cause

By Marissa DiPilla, Musical Director of The Rider Vibes

On Saturday, February 11, The Rider Vibes, Rider’s a capella choir, sang for a very good cause. Ryan’s Quest, which is based out of Hamilton, is a charity that supports research to find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The charity group held a Valentine’s-themed ball, and invited Vibes to sing during the cocktail hour, and for a very special performance during dinner.

A couple weeks before the ball, the founders of Ryan’s Quest came to campus for a mini-performance during one of our rehearsals. One song request they had for us was Coldplay’s “Fix You,” a song that has come to be associated with them because of a YouTube video. We’d known about this event since last semester, so I had arranged the song for us knowing that there were people counting on us to make this song sound beautiful. Pressure!

I was able to arrange this, literally, in a matter of hours and was so excited to hear Vibes sing it. The first time we sang it through all together, I literally had tears in my eyes. We chose our soloist for the song, the lovely Marie Virtt, and it was perfect! Fast-forwarding to our mini-performance, we were excited to be singing for the organizers of the Ryan’s Quest Ball, but also nervous because we didn’t want to disappoint them! When we finally sang for them and saw tears in their eyes, we knew that we’d done the song well. As the song’s arranger, I couldn’t have been prouder of the justice done to my arrangement. There’s nothing more fulfilling as an arranger than to hear your song come together, and sound amazing!

So on Saturday, we were ready, but still nervous. Because of conflicts (and also because of the norovirus), we were missing people, but we soldiered on. We sang various love-themed songs at the cocktail hour, including Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time,” The All-American Rejects’ “Swing Swing,” and Incubus’ “I Miss You,” among others. We were billed as a “celebrity guest,” but no one attending the ball knew the special surprise they had waiting for them during the dinner portion of the night.

Because “Fix You” had been so associated with the charity, they had asked us to sing the song during the dinner, while the silent video played behind us. It was a little nerve-wracking to know that hundreds of people would be watching, and expecting the song to be perfect. The time had finally come, and we lined up for our stealthy entrance.

The Rider Vibes at Ryan's Quest's Valentine's Ball, photo credit: Erica Haller Photography

Marie began to sing, and the rest of us filed out onto the dance floor and stood behind her. As we sang, people watched us, and the video, intently. Some looked touched, while others even wiped their eyes. Once the song was over, we got a huge, appreciative applause from over 500 guests, and we filed out. Heather, the event planner (and the one who booked us), raved about our performance, and couldn’t thank us enough for being there.

Although the preparation and the actual singing were a little stressful, it was all worth it for this admirable cause.

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