Acatonics compete at ICHSA


Photo courtesy @woottonacapella on Instagram

Acatonics perform at ICHSA at St. Charles High School

It was 10:45 a.m. on Feb. 10 as the Acatonics stood outside awaiting to be picked up and taken to St. Charles High School for the International Championship of High School a capella (ICHSA). A nervous yet excited energy buzzed in the air as the moment the singers had been preparing for months finally rolled around. “It was still early in the morning so people were groggy but you could already feel the excitement radiating off of everybody,” sophomore Joy Nadda said. 

The bus finally came to a stop in front of them and everyone began slowly loading onto the bus, picking their seats and mentally preparing for the day ahead. Throughout the hour-long ride, members got comfortable and began to hype each other up. “The bus ride there was so much fun; one of the other members brought an abnormally large speaker onto the bus and we would play old Disney songs or songs from our set and just jam out for the entire bus ride,” senior Reign Nzang said. 

Once everyone had arrived at the school, they headed into their room and got situated. Soon enough, it was time for the soundcheck. Small adjustments were made to the vocal parts as well as the choreography and the general nervous energy rose. “At this point it started to really sink in that this was happening and then I began to get nervous,” Nadda said. 

The group headed back to their room to change into their matching dark red accented outfits and did their hair and makeup. Everyone was getting ready and trying their best to hype each other up and words of encouragement were exchanged. The time came for the singers to head into the auditorium and perform their set. “My friends were all hyping me up and telling me that I was going to slay,” Nzang said. 

The group was announced and everyone took their positions on the stage facing away from the audience. The lights came on and suddenly everything was in motion. One by one, everyone dramatically turned around to face the crowd and began to sing their set. “It was just amazing watching everyone perform. I think that’s the best part is when you’re in the classroom or the Commons and you’re practicing, it’s hard to picture what you’re working towards so then to be able to see it on stage, it makes all of the work that you put in worth it,” music teacher Keith Scwartz said. 

Just as soon as the performance began, it was over. The crowd gave a standing ovation as the singers exited the stage. While the other schools performed, everyone headed back to their room, anxiously awaiting the award ceremony. “I felt like I became a completely different person on stage. Before I was nervous but as soon as I started singing, nothing could stop me,” Nadda said. 

Before I was nervous but as soon as I started singing, nothing could stop me

— Joy Nadda

The group ended up placing third, with a total of 335 points, with the additional bonus of member Sai Mandhan winning best vocal percussionist. “This is the first time that we’ve gotten primarily positive feedback, which is really exciting. It’s nice to know that even though you didn’t place, you still did a lot of things that were really good. I think it’s nice to have this experience because it will push us for next year,” Schwartz said.