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The Daily Wildcat

 

UA a cappella groups excel at regional competition

UA teams boasted two top-three finishes and an award for outstanding choreography
UA+a+capella+group+Amplified+celebrated+after+placing+second+overall+at+the+ICCA+Southwest+Quarterfinals+Feb.+3.+Amplified+was+one+of+four+UA+groups+at+the+competition.+Courtesy+Kelly+Mannenbach.
UA a capella group Amplified celebrated after placing second overall at the ICCA Southwest Quarterfinals Feb. 3. Amplified was one of four UA groups at the competition. Courtesy Kelly Mannenbach.

The University of Arizona was well-represented at the Feb. 3 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Southwest Quarterfinals, with two UA teams placing in the top three and one group qualifying for the 2024 ICCA Southwest Semifinal.

Amplified, an a capella ensemble from the UA, placed second at the competition at the Scottsdale Performing Arts Center in Scottsdale, scoring 377 points – three points off the first-place victor, the TEMPE-tations from ASU. Because the top two teams advance, Amplified will return to Scottsdale in March to compete against other regional qualifiers in the semifinals.

Notereity, another group from the UA, ended third in the competition, scoring 372 points.

Two other UA a capella groups also competed: Meow or Never and Enharmonics, whose  member Elicia Androne earned an award for outstanding choreography.

Sage McMillan, co-president of Amplified, said there is an extensive amount of work that goes into preparing for the ICCAs. Throughout the year, each group’s music directors and choreographers work to build an arrangement that highlights the ensemble’s talents. A month or two before the competition, the groups begin longer and more frequent rehearsals.

Noteriety, an all-gender a capella group from the University of Arizona, performed at the ICCA Southwest Quarterfinals Feb. 3. The group placed third overall. Courtesy Elisa Urbina.

Each ensemble’s process for constructing an arrangement and final set differs, but all involve collaboration and discussion, and through a combination of unique vocal arrangements and extensive choreography, these sets tell a story that the groups have worked the majority of the year to construct.

Amplified’s set focused on an “internal battle,” according to the group’s music director Talia Tardongo.

“This year, we decided that we wanted our story to be very much like an internal battle, like really finding who you are and navigating the world through your own eyes,” Tardongo said. “And so that’s one thing that’s really cool about Amplified, is that our stories are usually more on the serious side and they will make the audience think.”

Notereity and Enharmnoics also conveyed powerful stories through their arrangements.

Zoe Starikov, events and philanthropy director of Notereity, said this year the group wanted to perform a set that held deep personal meaning. Notereity chose to tell a story about the political agenda, and how youth are impacted by it.

“We kind of chose songs that had to do with the current state of our world, about society and how the choices that adults make are not necessarily the best choices for our kids and the future of our world,” Starikov said. “One of the songs that we sing is called ‘Eat Your Young’ by Hozier. That pretty much sums up our set in a nutshell.”

This subject choice comes from both a place of fear and a hope for empowerment, said Notereity member John Brandon.

“Especially in our generation, growing up, it’s been a lot of the same things over and over. I feel like it’s been a constant cycle of just chaos in the world, and I feel like this set came from a place of being scared for your future but also wanting to take your future into your own hands,” Brandon said.

Enharmonics focused on the expectations forced upon women and girls, and the power found in the community of girl/womanhood, Enharmonics member Elicia Androne said.

Androne was also awarded outstanding choreography for the Enharmonics set, an accomplishment she attributed to the efforts of the entire team.

“Everything that we do when it comes to music and choreo or just planning events, it’s something that’s run by so many people,” Androne said. “This year, we ran this set to death, we worked so hard on it and it was just so amazing to see all that hard work actually come to fruition.”

“I love ICCAs because I love seeing all the other groups in Arizona perform. Being at the UA, we have our amazing community of a capella groups here, but it’s also fun to meet the other groups from ASU and NAU,” McMillan said.

The work for all groups continues after the ICCA quarterfinals.

  • Amplified is working on fine-tuning its set, making adjustments based on feedback from quarterfinals judges to prepare for the ICCA semifinals March 30 at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
  • Notereity is working on recording an EP and music video of its  ICCAs set. The group is also looking into participating  in the Boston Sings in April. Starikov said Boston Sings highlights elements of artistry and creativity more than the technical aspects of an a capella set.

In the meantime, Notereity will continue to rehearse, refine and perform.

“As always, we’re gonna go back to the drawing board and just see what we did well and what we can strengthen and then what needs more work,” Brandon said. “And for this year, we’re trying to do more gigs and get our names out there more, because now that ICCAs is over, we don’t want it to just feel like that was it, that’s the end all be all, because we’re still in the group and there’s still more we can do.”

  • Amplified will compete at the ICCA Southwest Semifinals March 30. The group that finishes first will then move on to the ICCA Finals in New York.

Last year, Amplified and Notereity placed first and second at the ICCA Southwest Semifinals, respectively.


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