In honor of the 2017 ICCA tournament, The A Cappella Blog pursued short interviews with competing groups to develop insights into why and how groups approach competition, and to get appropriately excited for the tremendous shows ahead of us.
What’s your group name and on what date is your group’s quarterfinal?
We are State of Fifths and our quarterfinal is February 18th at Grand Ledge High School.
How long has your group been around? Have you competed before?
Our group was formed in 2008. This will be our group's 7th ICCA competition.
Why are you competing this year? What does your group hope to accomplish or get out of the experience?
We are competing this year to add to the growth of State of Fifths as a whole, and the growth of the individuals that make up the group. State of Fifths is still a relatively young group on campus, and every year we compete, we're able to learn what we can do as a group to better set ourselves apart from the other a cappella groups. By competing in ICCA, as a group of individuals, we test our focus, teamwork, and willpower to the limit in rehearsals. In addition to the personal growth element, we choose to compete for our love of music and our desire to make an audience feel something they have never felt before.
How is your group preparing for competition?
Mid-November we set aside time to think about our song options for our set. After putting together our set, our arrangers spend a few weeks perfecting a set arrangement. Around the time we get back from our winter break, we spend our rehearsals laying out the arrangement piece by piece and refining every detail. For the first month and half we usually stick to our five hour-per-week rehearsal schedule, but by the time January roles around, we typically add a few more hours to rehearsal, or set up extra rehearsal times for individual voice parts to meet up and master their portion of the arrangement. Once we have memorized an arrangement we sit down as a group and discuss what each song in our set means to us. By doing this, we come up with a few words that capture the emotion of each song, so as to have a unified view of what we should be feeling at any given part of our set. After discussing emotion, it's all a matter of adding in meaningful choreography, and mastering every aspect of the music.
If you were to describe your group, or the set your group is planning for competition with just three words, what would they be?
I would describe our group as passionate, driven, and unique.
You can follow State of Fifths online via their website, www.stateoffifths.com. They are also on Facebook, as State of Fifths, on Twitter @msufifths, and on Instagram they're stateoffifths. Their music can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.