Standing between the novice Trebellious and a first-place ranking at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella 2018 Tournament Quarterfinal on Saturday were nine other a cappella groups. But on its first visit there, the team took home the win.
“The most surreal feeling was looking around, seeing my friends filled with tears of joy,” said Rachel Hammelman, a senior and former musical director for Trebellious and an outstanding arrangement award winner.
Teams and their admirers filled the Larry and Cindi Bloch Alumni and Advancement Center Auditorium that day. The 10 groups were mainly from the Rochester area, including Trebellious’ UR compatriots YellowJackets and After Hours, with others coming from as far as Binghamton and Pittsburgh. Only two groups could move on by the end, and Trebellious was the smallest of the lot.
Each group had 12 minutes to perform the songs of their choice, while the judges focused on aspects like choreography, arrangement, and soloists’ performance. Each element was ranked on a numerical scale, with the highest and lowest individual judge scores being dropped.
The event was hosted by junior Charles Aldrich and senior Justin Maldonado, two members of UR’s Midnight Ramblers, who performed during the judges’ deliberation break at the end of the show. The Midnight Ramblers will be competing at the competition’s quarterfinals in Ithaca next week.
“It’s great to see all the groups from the local colleges,” Corrine Streff, a parent, said.
Said one student from SUNY Fredonia: With voice, it’s so much more intricate and finely tuned.”
Unlike other collegiate a cappella competitions, the competitions do not categorize groups by gender, and whether they’re single-gender or co-ed, they all compete together.
“Beat-boxing is harder for girls, and our voices aren’t as low, but that just means we work extra hard,” said Elizabeth Scherer, a junior at Nazareth College and dusic director of competing team Call4Backup.
Before the competition, Trebellious Music Director and UR junior Jay Shim described what it’s like to be the new group at the ICCAs.
“We’re going in blind,” he said, “but we’ve been rehearsing like crazy.”
He noted that the group had spent over 40 hours together in the past week and a half.
The YellowJackets have existed since 1956, but they don’t take their seniority for granted.
“We’re pushing to be the best we can be,” said YellowJackets PR Director and senior Scott Abrams, who is also a former Campus Times editor. “We took the judges’ comments and feedback from last year and made improvements.”
The YellowJackets took third place, with junior Darren Huang being awarded for outstanding vocal Percussion.
Second place was awarded to RIT’s Eight Beat Measure, which also took home awards for outstanding soloist and outstanding choreography. They will advance along with Trebellious to the semi-finals in Buffalo at the end of March.
The audience applauded when Trebellious was announced as the winner.
When asked how they were able to make it all happen, Thea Mazzola, sophomore and soloist for the group, put it simply: “Passion, love, and trust. When you have such a small group, you have the opportunity to understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and really learn to appreciate every single person and recognize what they bring to the group.”