This post is a summary of an event I attended at Villanova tonight with my wife and son which combined two of my favorite activities at Villanova- student a cappella groups and the Special Olympics.

I’ve written before about how big the Special Olympics are at Nova. For one weekend in November, our campus hosts the largest student-run Special Olympics event in the world.

Tonight’s event was a fundraiser for the Special Olympics, featuring performances by eight a cappella groups, including all women, all male, and coed groups. I’ve also written posts about these a cappella groups as a result of having attended performances known as AcaPalooza.

Tonight’s event was known as AcaSPOlooza, mashing together a cappella and Special Olympics.

The event was well-attended, and it was definitely student-focused. Early on my son leaned over and whispered “I think I’m the third-oldest person here, so you can guess who the two oldest were, led by yours truly.

Here are brief clips of the eight a cappella performances – 15 seconds each (except for the third performance that featured one of my favorite songs (Four Five Seconds) which I captured in its entirety. Fun fact, the sixth group, the Spires, is the group that Jim Croce was a part of when he was a student at Nova back in the sixties…


The evening then ended with a song that brought a few Special Olympic Athletes on stage with many of the a cappella performers to sing along with the wonderful Katy Perry song – Firework.

Well done, Villanova students.

This may give you a sense of why I love teaching here…

40 thoughts on “AcaSPOlooza

    1. it was strange seeing all the singers with masks on. I am sure it was challenging to sing that way. But they did a wonderful job, and the event seemed to raise a decent amount of money for the Special Olympics…

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  1. A cappella is hard. The groups were outstanding! I take it that having so many groups means these weren’t college run groups and the students had to do all of the organizational work themselves. Kudos to the Villanova students.

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    1. good observation, John. Yes, the music groups, and the Special Olympics, are completely student run. as was the event last night. makes it even more special…


  2. I am a huge acapella fan, Jim, so this was delightfully entertaining. I appreciate you sharing clips of the performers. You should be rightfully proud of being associated with such a caring and giving student body. Their devotion to the athletes of the Special Olympics should be applauded. Great post, my friend! Tell Patio I said “Hi”!

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  3. I love acapella . So much talent for such a good cause. I can see why you are proud to teach there. I was also impressed that they were doing it all with masks on.
    I used to listen to a wonderful acapella group called The Nylons. They released several CDs. And did great versions of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Up On The Roof as well as so many other songs that I am sure you would be familiar with.

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  4. We’ve been on the road for a couple of days and this one slipped by me, Jim. I love events like this, especially considering the cause. Good for you to support Special Olympics! Great fact about Jim Croce, who I wouldn’t associate with Villanova. I also find it endearing that you talk about your school with such reverence.

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    1. I hope you had a nice road trip, Pete. It was a perfect combo – good music for a good cause.

      And Jim Croce was a local guy, went to high school in the Philly suburbs…


  5. Jim, thanks for sharing some of the inspiration of the Special Olympics with some very talented Nova students. One of my nephews has competed in distance running through Special Olympics. Now he is paying it forward by helping to coach and inspire other athletes. He is humble about his accomplishments, but I have to give him a shoutout for qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

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  6. Wow! And, I don’t mean that lightly. I watched every clip. These students are terrific. My regret is that I wasn’t in the audience at the performance. The last number would have had me out of my seat… perhaps not the best behavior at a Villanova concert. Doing this concert for Special Olympics is really wonderful!

    On a side note, I bring music into my classroom in many ways, every day, because music is huge. No, I don’t play the recorded preschool songs. Nope. Music is bigger than that. I play the autoharp and teach children about sound and songs. I bring in my record albums and record player to school. They love Vivaldi, and they love the Beatles. Isn’t that wonderful?

    In the words of Hans Christian Andersen, “Where words fail, music speaks.”

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