2013 was a sensational year for a collegiate a cappella. As we reflect on the time past, it is time to salute ten truly extraordinary groups.
A few notes that I urge you to read before you start slamming this list on Facebook or Twitter (if you still want to slam the list with these notes in mind, be my guest):
• Groups included in The Ten Can’t-Miss American Collegiate A Cappella Groups of 2012, and The Top 10 American Collegiate A Cappella Groups of 2011 list were not eligible for inclusion in this year’s list. It’s not that those groups are any less exceptional this year, but I wanted to give ten different groups recognition. So, the following groups were not considered this time around:
The Dartmouth Aires
On the Rocks
Out of the Blue
The SoCal Vocals
Voices in Your Head
The Yellow Jackets
• This list does not necessarily denote the best groups, so much as the ones that were most successful and noteworthy in 2013. The criteria for the list included (but was not necessarily limited to) accomplishments, public recognition, innovation, and quality of performance (live and recorded). Two other pieces of criteria that are least scientific, but unavoidable: my personal preferences and what I’ve been exposed to. I’m only one critic, and if I haven’t heard your group, I welcome you to send me some YouTube links or a CD to help bring me up to speed.
• This list only considers groups based in the United States of America. I simply don’t have enough exposure to international groups at this time to fairly consider them in this context.
• I opted to limit this list to ten groups. Which meant that many groups worthy of superlatives could not make it. I did want to acknowledge a handful of them with honorable mentions: University of Wisconsin Fundamentally Sound, The Fordham University Ramblers, The University of Virginia Sil’hooettes, The Penn State University Statesmen, James Madison University Exit 245, Northwestern University Purple Haze, The Duke University Pitchforks, and Northeastern University Pitch Please.