The lights of the stage shine brighter than ever. Each of the seven groups saunters back onto the stage to await the final ruling. The top three groups are to be announced, but only the best two will move on to the next round of competition. The entire auditorium holds their breath as the winners of accessory awards are announced. Best vocal percussionist. Best choreography. Best soloist. Finally it was time for the big reveal.
On Feb. 4, a capella students traveled to La Plata High School to compete in the third annual ICHSA semi-final. The groups from here made up three of the seven competing groups, with the other competing groups coming from schools ranging from Virginia to New Jersey. “The competition allows us to perfect our skills and music and compete with other groups from all across the region,” senior Chromatics co-president Roma Venkateswaran said.
There is more to the competition than just the 7 p.m. show, which is a culmination of an exhaustingly eventful day. A capella students arrived at the school around 12 p.m. to begin preparations for the day. They participated in a performing order selection and sound checks. In the time between that and the performance itself, group members took time to rehearse their sets but also to socialize with the students from the other groups. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and have fun in a music filled environment doing what you love,” junior Acabella Amritha Sridhar said.
After the order selection it was determined that the Supertonics would perform first, the Acabellas second, and the Chromatics sixth. Each group had 12 minutes to perform their set for the audience, which creates enough time to fit a standard of three songs into the set. The Supertonics opened with the show with a set made up of the songs We Are Young, Danny Boy, and No, before the Acabellas came on stage to sing Natural Woman along with two mashups. The Chromatics set consisted of the songs Under the Bridge, a Dynamite and Just Dance mix and Fight Song.
The build up to this event was tremendous, as each group had to not only master their songs but also had to invent and execute their own choreography. All the preparation made the desire to win burn even brighter. So it made the sting of losing hurt even harder. None of the groups from this school placed in the top three or won any of the other awards.
While the defeat was tough to swallow at first, the groups have made it a point to keep a positive attitude and just enjoy the experience.
“ICHSA is a great chance to show all of the hard work we put into a capella during the year,” junior Chromatic Julia Bergel said. “ICHSA this year was [still] a total blast!”
Following the ICHSA competition the groups, which each have a scheduled class period to meet every day, are still hard at work preparing for future appearances.