By Caitlin Mack ’12 (T5)
The University of Rochester’s co-ed a cappella group After Hours emerged victorious at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals at Penn State on Saturday, February 9th, beating 10 other highly competitive groups and placing first in the competition.
The ICCA competition, of which popular comedy “Pitch Perfect” is based, is the only international tournament that showcases the art of collegiate a cappella. Each year, the tournament takes place from January through April in six regions: West, Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast America, and Europe. Each region holds several quarterfinal events and the top two college groups advance to semifinals. A final event is held in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where groups compete for cash prizes and the coveted title of Grand Champion.
After Hours’ set of three songs featured the smooth solo vocals of Rei Ramos ’15 on “Too Close” by Alex Clare, which stunned the audience and the judges with its dub-step drop in the last chorus. And, according to The A Cappella Blog, “Too Close” showcased the “monster vocal percussion” skills of Ethan Lobenstine ’12 (T5). The set also included a choral take on Regina Spektor’s “Samson” featuring soloist Michaela Reichert ’16 and David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring powerhouse soloist Rohini Rege ’14.
In addition to winning the competition, musical director Ben McCormack ’13 and Lobenstine were given a special award for “Best Arrangement” for all three songs in the set. After Hours, along with the 2nd place group, the Penn State Statesmen, will perform at the Mid-Atlantic semi-finals at Rutgers University in New Jersey on March 30.
In other University a cappella news, Rochester all-male group, The Yellowjackets, were recently named a “Top 10 Must-Hear College A Cappella Group” by schools.com. The website praised the Jackets new album “United We Sing” and their after-school program (also called “United We Sing”) designed to cultivate a passion for a cappella in local schools.
The group also was recently nominated for a 2013 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for their song “I Smile” off of “United We Sing” in the Best Religious Song category. The winners will be announced on April 5 at a live awards ceremony at BOSS, Boston Sings, and then posted to casa.org.