The Gateway mall will ring in the holiday season at its 12th annual Light up the Night event this Saturday.
This year’s event will include a special performance from BYU’s Familiar Ring a cappella group. The group will compete in a riff-off similar to the one from the movie “Pitch Perfect” against the University of Utah’s Infrared group.
Senior Kyle Nelson, a psychology major, has been involved with Familiar Ring for the past three years and is looking forward to the competition.
“We’ve been preparing by looking at what we’re going to do and practicing starting our songs at any given part,” Nelson said. “That way we can avoid any hiccups.”
The riff-off will start off with both groups singing their school’s fight songs and then cutting each other off with their own arrangements, said Nelson. The rule is that each team can only jump in with a matching word to cut off the other team. Even though both groups already know which songs the other has prepared, the challenge will be not knowing what part of the song the other team will start singing.
Win or lose, the best part about the competition for Nelson will be the chance to perform.
“I love a cappella music, and the most fun is seeing what the crowd is doing and how they react,” Nelson said. “Having them walk away with a good feeling is what I love about a cappella.”
Both Nelson and Kirsten Allen, student director of the rival group Infrared, are excited to step off their campuses to perform.
“We’re excited to sing in the Salt Lake area off campus,” Allen said. “Usually when we leave Utes campus it’s for a private event, so this is a fun public event for us.“
Following the competition will be a performance by the American Dueling Pianos, in addition to other musical acts.
“It will be a fun night of dueling at the Gateway,” said Rochelle Fraser, marketing director at The Gateway. “Those who attend are in for a treat, not to mention the lighting of the Gateway Christmas Tree and the arrival of Santa.”
Following Light up the Night, patrons can go to The Gateway and enjoy the Holiday Light Spectacular, which will be playing nightly every hour from 5 to 9 p.m. through New Year’s Day, said Fraser. The spectacular involves more than 600,000 lights decorating the surrounding trees and fountain, all choreographed to holiday music.
“I love seeing the center come together with all the holiday décor,” Fraser said. “The Gateway is always decorated so beautifully during the holidays.”
Light up the Night starts at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 23 at The Gateway, located along 400 West between 200 South and South Temple.