Approaching the Rotunda’s Dome room through the bowels of the arcade, the ascent to the highly acclaimed Dome room only heightened our excitement and curiosity for what was to come. Dressed formally, we were greeted at the “front door” lined wall to wall with taupe carpeting, and were escorted upstairs to the dining area.
The atmosphere was of refinement and mature sophistication. Being the first time for many to have been inside the Rotunda, cameras were quickly pulled out and gatherings forming in front of the many columns and ambulatory colonnade. The most distinct memorable sounds to resonate for the first fifteen minutes remained to be the echo of high heel shoes against the floor, and constant requests for others to snap photos of themselves.
One by one people took their seats at the round tables set with linen and dinner service began. The room filled with quiet chatter, and within thirty minutes Jon Ohmart announced the Academical Village People’s arrival.
That in and of itself was an out of ordinary act for AVP. The Academical Village People is an all male a cappella group that usually runs out onto their stages in a hap hazard and comical manner. In both dorm and Rotunda sings, the group’s signature technique is to wildly run around humping columns screaming and then proceed to line in formation to sing. So to be in a formal setting and have AVP perform meant they had to sacrifice part of their personality. The announcement of their arrival was not something I expected but in retrospect, it would have probably scared us if they had run up the stairs and in and around our tables.
Although in the Rotunda, the boys didn’t disappoint in that they still found girls in the crowd to serenade, and still comically danced around. Although, their usual high energy was absent as the group didn’t have all members in attendance. They usually feed off each other’s energy and have much more space than they did tonight.
Musically, I was skeptical of the acoustic qualities of the dome room, being concave instead of convex, the quality of sound was still better than in most of their venues-being outside. The heavy materials of the Rotunda allowed their unamplified sound to reverberate longer which provided a richer quality.
While AVP is always a blast to watch, and is usually guaranteed for a good laugh, the formal venue of the Rotunda was not fitting. They are much more suited for a more relaxed and probably outdoor setting.