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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

Acatonics take on two back-to-back wins

The+Acatonics+hold+up+their+three+trophies+after+winning+first+place+at+Sing+Strong+NY+on+Feb.+3%2C+winning+First+Place+Overall%2C+Best+Soloist+%28Ashley+Chan%29+and+Best+Vocal+Percussionist+%28Shravan+Kannepalli%29.
Photo courtesy @woottonacappella
The Acatonics hold up their three trophies after winning first place at Sing Strong NY on Feb. 3, winning First Place Overall, Best Soloist (Ashley Chan) and Best Vocal Percussionist (Shravan Kannepalli).

As the lights dim, the tension in the room grows. The anticipation of waiting to see who placed could be seen in all the competitors’ faces. The Acatonics, dressed in shades of green and white, hold hands with one another in hopes that they will hear their name get called. Already with Best Soloist and Best Vocal Percussionist awards in hand, they wait as third and second-place winners get called, neither of which are them. But as the host announces “The Acatonics” for the Mid-Atlantic quarterfinal champions, their previously anxious faces turn to excitement as the group jumps up and down in celebration of their win. And just like that, the Acatonics earned first place in two different competitions within a week’s time.

After previously winning the Sing Strong competition in 2020 and the ICHSA (International Competition of High School Acapella) quarterfinals in 2020, 2021, and 2022, the Acatonics add to their list of accolades this season, winning both competitions on Feb. 3 and Feb. 10, respectively. The Acatonics is the school’s premier all-gender acapella group that consists of vocalists from all backgrounds who share a passion for music and can be seen performing at school, county and district events throughout the year. “Being a member for all four years of my high school career, this group has felt the most like a family out of all the years I’ve been a part of the group,” senior captain Jake Silverman said. “Everyone has become really close with each other. It not only helps with our daily routine but also helps our performance and singing level.”

Sing Strong New York was their first competition of the year, in New York City, where the group competed against 13 other school groups from across the nation as well as participated in a workshop with a professional group, The Trills, based in Baltimore. By the end of the day, the group came out of the auditorium with three trophies: first place overall, best soloist to senior Ashley Chan and best vocal percussionist (beatboxer) to senior Shravan Kannepalli. “I feel like this year’s group really earned it,” director Keith Schwartz said. “We all had the same goal in mind and it feels really good to accomplish something that we set out to do at the beginning of the year.”

Just one week after Sing Strong, on Feb. 10, the Acatonics took place in the ICHSA Quarter Finals in Waldorf, MD, where they faced intense competition from groups throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania, but came out with the exact same results, and best soloist and best vocal percussionist award, as the week prior. From this win, they will move on to the ICHSA Mid-Atlantic semifinals on Mar. 23 in Allendale, NJ. “It still feels surreal,” Chan said. “I think no matter what the outcome was, I would’ve been beyond proud of our group and our performance. Every single member supports one another and everyone works incredibly hard, so all six of our wins really belong to all 24 of us, especially Mr. Schwartz.”

After placing third in the ICHSA quarterfinals in 2023, the group took that, as well as the wins from previous years, as motivation for their competition season this year. “I think this year is really a culmination of all the past years combined. We have been taking the knowledge that Mr. Schwartz has built on since he was in Acappella since 2005, whether that be techniques, how to run the class or how to thrive the group as a whole. I’m excited to see how this monumental year for the group affects the future of the group for years to come,” Silverman said.

The Acatonics will be holding auditions for the group sometime in mid-March and are looking for students across grade levels to showcase their singing and beatboxing talents. “Part of high school is taking risks and doing something that makes you uncomfortable. This is a good way to do that. There were a lot of people in the group that had never sung before and this is a welcoming environment to push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Schwartz said.

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Gurnoor Sodhi, staff writer
Senior Gurnoor Sodhi is a staff writer and photographer in her first year on the Common Sense staff. In her free time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, play soccer, and go out taking photos. You can find her work on Instagram @gkaurphotos or her personal @gkaur2305
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