ACB Interview: The 2014 ICCA Finalists

This spring, The A Cappella Blog reached out to all of the ICCA finals to ask them some questions heading into their big night. We're proud to present a round table interview with the following groups:

Berklee College of Music Pitch Slapped, the ICCA Northeast Champions
The St. Louis University Bare Naked Statues, the ICCA Midwest Champions
University of Delaware Vocal Point, the ICCA South Champions

The A Cappella Blog: If you had to pick one experience in performance, recording, or otherwise that most shaped the identity of your group within the last few years, what would it be and why?

Pitch Slapped: Like most collegiate acappella groups, the turnover rate with Pitch Slapped is very high. Still, every member in the group is indispensable, so every time we lose members, it feels like a brand new beginning. With this current group, we really broke new ground on the days leading up to the ICCA 2014 Quarterfinals. Pitch Slapped hasn't competed in awhile, so this group has only had experience with casual gigs, nothing ever on the scale of a competition! We were rehearsing like crazy, getting every note right, every movement sharp - it was a completely different animal to what we were used to. But that intensity and focus really brought us together as a group. Having the discipline (which to be honest, wavered ever so often!) to get a 12 minute set perfect, helped us understand more about ourselves as performers, as a team and as a family. When results for Quarterfinals came in, we knew the work was worth it, we were all so happy. And we knew that if we are to do well in this competition, we would simply have to keep working harder!

Bare Naked Statues: What really shaped our group in the past few years was our first time at A Cappella Fest in Chicago for the first time in 2012. We weren't able to perform in the competition but we did an aca-bomb and everyone was very impressed with us. It gave us the push we needed to believe that we could really leave an impression on the a cappella community. We have continued to improve each semester because of the hard work and dedication that each of the members has contributed so that we can be as good as we are.

Vocal Point: Our identity has most definitely been shaped by a mixture of these experiences. We are releasing our very first album, Momentum on April 27th and we picked that title because it most defines our identity over the past few years. Every year Vocal Point works harder to get even further than we were the year before. We went from a group with no recognition at the ICCAs to being finalists in just 4 years because of the drive and passion from each individual member. Even after this album release and competing at ICCA Finals our motto will always be, "the only way is up."

The A Cappella Blog: What’s the best thing about singing with your group?

Pitch Slapped: It's such an escape. I'm sure most have heard about how singing in harmony with a group of people raises your endorphin levels and gets you on a 'singers high'. I'm not 100% sure how that science works, but I know that when we walk into that rehearsal room and start singing together...it's a state of bliss. No matter how long your day was, no matter what problems you're having, you walk into that room and sing with those beautiful voices - everything just feels right. The energy is crazy, the love is real. It's hard to really articulate what THE best thing about singing with Pitch Slapped is, but singing with Pitch Slapped makes all our lives a little brighter.

Bare Naked Statues: The best thing about singing together is our ability to maintain a balance between competitiveness and fun. We always like to have fun together because we spend so much time with one another but we also know how to get focused and work hard to be a great group.

Vocal Point: Constantly being reminded that your 16 best friends are also extremely talented musicians. We rehearse 9 hours a week on top of gigs and spending all of that time together with a group of people can get old quickly, but not with Vocal Point. I'm continually surprised by the level of talent people have in this group and it only keeps getting better. Everyone's love for each other and passion for sharing our music keeps the magic alive, every rehearsal feels better than the one before.

The A Cappella Blog: If you had to sum up your group in three words, which words would you choose?

Pitch Slapped: Passionate, Quirky, Crispy.

Bare Naked Statues: Be. yon. cé.

Vocal Point: Passionate, Driven, Loving.

The A Cappella Blog: Is there anything else you would like for a cappella fans around the world to know before you take the ICCA Finals stage in New York?

Pitch Slapped: GET READY TO GET PITCH SLAAA...Just kidding. Thank you all for the love and support you've given thus far. It's been such a joy being part of this year's ICCA, and an absolute honor to be in the Finals of the nation's largest acappella competition. To fans, friends and family of Pitch Slapped, we love you all for being there for us every time. It's been an absolute joy singing for you, hearing your responses and seeing the smiles our music can bring keeps us all inspired to be the best we can be. Finals here we come!

Bare Naked Statues: Even though we have no music majors and we practice on an out-of-tune piano in a basement classroom on campus our hard work and passion for a cappella music has allowed us to come as far as we have and we will make ourselves known throughout the a cappella community.

Vocal Point: Buy our album, Momentum on April 27th and come to our Album Release Concert that day at UDelaware at 3pm!

Seriously though, the best thing about a cappella is that it's a growing genre and community; so many people have been willing to provide us with advice and wisdom simply because they want to see a new and passionate group do well. We'd really like to thank the people that have reached out to us and helped us get this far. We've worked so hard to get here and we're extremely honored to be ICCA Finalists, we're certainly not taking this experience for granted! New York, we're ready for you!

The A Cappella Blog wishes all of the ICCA and ICHSA finalists the best of luck. See you in New York!

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Mike Chin

Mike Chin co-founded The A Cappella Blog in 2007. He continues to share leadership responsibility for the site, overseeing columns, reviews and features as the content manager. He currently lives in Baltimore, MD.