Saturday: A Cappella Showdown @ Temple
This Saturday, college a cappella troupes will sing for their survival and, more realistically, bragging rights at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Quarterfinal, held at Temple’s Performing Arts Center (get tickets here). Ten Philly or Philly-adjacent teams will compete, but only two will move on to the semifinals round. The rest will return to their dorm rooms in defeat. Each group has sung, shimmied, vogued and jazz-handed as much as possible leading up to the big night. The competition features a mix of established a cappella regulars, groups that have been around the block and a few newcomers gunning for their first taste of victory. Meet the groups below and listen to what they have to offer come Saturday night.
This is UPenn’s a cappella-bros’ first crack at the ICCAs, and they mean it when they say they just want to have fun. Their last CD was self-depreciatingly titled “Close Enough” and they’ll be performing a boy band tribute to NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and the original teenage heartthrob, Elvis. Watch them pay homage to another pop icon, Freddie Mercury:
Under a Rest
West Chester’s co-ed troupe is “still trying to figure out” their sound, but founder Jessica Swavely expects a big reaction from their set on Saturday. She kept the details a secret but said the audience should “expect all smiles.” Check out their arrangement of Panic! At the Disco’s “This is Gospel”:
High Street Harmonix
This all-male newcomer, also from WCU, just missed the cut for the semifinals last year at their first ICCA showing after performing, among other things, “Toxic” by Ms. Britney Spears. Let’s hope they get in touch with their feminine side again this time around.
The Wily Veterans
Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges’ combined team knows a thing or two about female anthems. They’ve performed Dixie Chick’s “Not Ready to Make Nice,” Sara Bareilles’ “Little Black Dress” and the ultimate tribute to womanhood, the Gilmore Girls theme song:
Off the Record
This Lehigh co-ed troupe’s repertoire is chock full of chart toppers, with some Sara Bareilles thrown in for good measure. Their mashup of Omi’s “Cheerleader” and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me” is perfect, peppy pop:
8 to the Bar
Drexel’s all-male ensemble hosted the ICCAs last year and wants to be back in the limelight. Their motto leading up to the competition? “Drink water, sleep a lot, stay healthy, don’t shout, talk normally, if at all,” said Todd Hullfish, musical director of the group. Pay attention to the background chords in their Fall Out Boy cover, which according to Hullfish is what they do best.
The Heavy Hitters
Off the Beat
Penn’s rock-appella group doesn’t mess around, and they’ve got a 10th place overall finish at last year’s championship to prove it. They’ve done a freaking fantastic rendition of Bey’s “Crazy in Love.” (Plus they might do Coldplay better than Coldplay does Coldplay.)
Another titan of talent, Villanova’s Supernovas chooses songs based on the emotional punch they pack. On Saturday, they’ll be singing some T-Swift, some Sia, some Ella Eyre and a hint of Beyoncé. Compare their arrangement of Queen Bey’s “Crazy in Love” with Off the Beat’s:
These Drexel ladies promise “creative, sassy and sometimes funny” performances, according to their president Damie Juat. True to their pop and R&B style, they’ll showcase songs by Zedd, Jess Glynne and (figuratively) pop bottles to Rihanna’s “Pour it Up.”
Lehigh’s first student-run a cappella thrives off of democracy, alternative pop hits and sweat. They’ve put in almost 20 hours of rehearsal a week since January to prep themselves for the stiff competition. They’re addicted to a cappella; their fans even call themselves “Melismaddicts.” This weekend, they’re going for the “Gold” (by Imagine Dragons).