With the success of Pitch Perfect and Anna Kendrick’s subsequent single “Cups,” a cappella has never been more popular. For those unfamiliar with the realities of the community, the start of 2014 begins the initial stages of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs). This past month saw the all five of Fordham’s a cappella groups—The B-sides, The F#’s, The Hot Notes, The Satin Dolls, and The Ramblers—competing in the Quarterfinals of the ICCAs.
The Mid-Atlantic Region offered groups two competition dates: The b-sides and The F#’s competed on February 8th while the The Hot Notes, The Satin Dolls, and The Ramblers competed on the 22nd. The layout of each competition featured 10 groups, with the top two groups moving on to the semifinals. Both quarterfinals were held in an auditorium at Hickman Hall on Rutgers’ campus and featured 10 groups on each date, with male, female and mixed groups present.
B-sides president Noelle Granberry FCRH ‘15, was very excited for the b-sides’ performance.
“This was our first year doing any competition,” Granberry said. “The Expressions helped out with our choreography and we practiced 5 times a week leading up to competition to prepare.”
The b-sides performed a set arranged by Christopher Pedro, FCRH ’15, that included pop favorites “All of the Lights” by Kanye West featuring Rihanna, Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” Zedd’s “Stay the Night,” mixed into “Clarity,” also by Zedd and a cappella classics like the Pentatonix’s “Run To You.”
Watch the b-sides’ full performance below:
Also competing on the same date, The F#s, the only Fordham a capella group based at Lincoln Center, were the last to take the stage at the quarterfinals that day. They performed a continuous set, including Destiny Child’s “Say My Name,” the Beyoncé hits “Irreplaceable” and “Single Ladies,” The Head and The Heart’s “Rivers and Roads” and Ke$ha’s “C’mon.” Heather Foy, FCRH ’14, a member of the F#’s noted that this was the second time the group had performed in the ICCAs.
“We have worked really hard,” said Foy, “and the process has been challenging but exciting.”
Watch the F#’s below:
Despite a strong showing from the Fordham groups, Vocal Synergy from Wagner College and Casual Harmony from Rutgers took the top two spots, eliminating both the B-sides and The F#’s from the competition.
In the second weekend of competition, The Hot Notes, The Satin Dolls, and The Ramblers all performed. The Ramblers, the only ICCA veterans of the three, opened the competition with an intricately choreographed mash-up of “Hey Ya,” by OutKast, “Sunday Morning,” by Maroon Five, and “Somebody to Love,” by Queen. Rambler’s president Kevin Webster, GSB ’14, was very happy with their performance.
“The highlight of the performance was the feeling we had when we came off the stage,” Webster said. “We went first, so we had to set the bar for the rest of the night, and we felt that we had set it pretty high.”
Here is a video of the Rambler’s performance:
Both The Satin Dolls and the Hot Notes performed in the second half of the night. Satin Dolls President Caitlin Beck, FCRH ’14, was extremely proud of her group’s performance.
“Nicole Holm and Alexa Esposito, our two Musical Directors created and arranged our set list,” said Beck. “We wanted a set that would make us stand out, but one that would also be telling a story. We thought that ‘Cry Me a River,’ [by Justin Timberlake] ‘Creep’ [by Radiohead] and ‘Mad World,’ [by Tears for Fears] would be interesting song choices to play up our group’s strengths and surprise audiences with a set that they would not traditionally expect to hear from an all- female group.”
Watch the Satin Doll’s full performance below:
Watch The Hot Notes performance:
In the end, the Ramblers took second place, advancing them to the semifinals. They also won the best choreography award. The other group to move on was the NYU’s N’Harmonics, who took the top spot.
“For the next round, Alex [DeSimine, the Rambler’s Music Director] is going to add some flourishes to the arrangement, and we are going to focus a lot on fundamentals,” said Webster. “We know the arrangement well, so what we need to do now is make changes to our blend, dynamic range, tone quality, and a few other nit-picky things.”
The semifinals will take place on March 29th in Hickman Hall at Rutgers University. Anyone interested in attending the competition can purchase tickets here.