Note: This is the final regular post for our 2010 publication season. Thank you to all of this year's contributors, and to all of our readers. Be sure to check back for news updates during the off-season. We will return to daily posting next season.
The Best I’ve Seen highlights the very best in collegiate a cappella, as seen in the admittedly biased and limited view of the author. In this special edition, ACB Content Manager Mike Chin and ACB Production Manager Mike Scalise team up and, on more than one occasion, butt heads about the best they’ve seen in the 2010 ICCA season.
Mike Chin: The easy, objective pick here is The SoCal VoCals--after all, the group that wins the international championship should have put forth the best set of the year. I’m veering a little off course on this one, though, to instead offer up my pick for the set I enjoyed most this season, which would have to be the one put forth by The Washington University Stereotypes at the ICCA Midwest Semifinals. The guys started with a spot of high energy musical theatre with “Seize the Day” from Newsies, before taking on some old school Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “With Carry On.” It was a solid opening to the set, but the guys really were just getting started. In one of the top five solos I saw this year, the guys let loose “Your Song” in the style of Moulin Rouge, to be followed by an impossibly high octane version of “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. Sets just don’t get much more fun than that. Although the crew didn’t make it to the finals, it sure as heck wasn’t for lack of effort.
Mike Scalise: The best set that I’ve seen in the 2010 season comes from The SoCal VoCals at the finals in NYC. The group, which is tremendously talented, delivered three solid songs sung with near perfection. They began with “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday. The solo was clear and professional-sounding. Couple that with a strong visual performance by remaining group members and you have a hit. They continued with “Crazy Ever After” by The Rescues. I wasn’t very familiar with this song, but after hearing a number of soloists sing their hearts out, I was really moved. It was an amazing performance. The group completed their set with “Living for the City” by Stevie Wonder. What stood out to me about this song was the group’s entertaining and energetic choreography which consisted of free-style dancing, hand gestures, and even a raising of the soloist (who, in case you were wondering, was exceptional). The overall set was hand over fist better than the rest of the competition, and rightfully earned this group the title and bragging rights for the ICCA 2010 season.
Mike Chin: The SoCal VoCals put together a set like an a cappella highlight reel, but I think what I’ll remember most was their innovative imagining of The Rescues’ “Crazy Ever After”. With rotating soloists and rotating positions on stage, the group cleverly created a sense of group unity, while at the same time asserting the individual talents of the group members. Better yet, the constant shifting fit the "story" of the song well, illustrating the shift's in the narrators' minds, and the conflicted feelings at play. Emotionally heart-wrenching, musically sound, and altogether interesting to watch, this was the best song I saw in the 2010 season.