In this edition, we’re gearing up for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, which kicks off this Saturday in St. Louis. We present to you (in chronological order) Five ICCA quarterfinals to keep an eye on in 2012.
1. January 28, Washington University of St. Louis The ICCA season is slated to kick off with a serious bang at WashU. This quarterfinal will include perennial ICCA threats like University of Illinois No Strings Attached and University of Minnesota 7 Days. In addition, those in attendance will hear the reigning Midwest ICCA champions, The Stereotypes, at home as they begin to defend their regional crowns and set their sights on a return trip to the biggest stage in collegiate a cappella—the ICCA Finals. The twist in our story? A little all-male outfit from Nebraska known as Rocktavo. The group competed in its first year in existence back in 2007 and not only won the ICCA Midwest, but placed second in The Finals. Now, the guys return to the tournament for the first time since that debut year. The entire group should have turned over by now, but the institutional memory should remain, which likely means we’re in for an opening round shoot-out in the wild, wild (mid)west.
Edit: Per multiple contacts, I stand corrected--apparently Rocktavo has competed since their 2007 debut and has continued to perform quite well. Thank you to those who wrote in or commented.
2. February 4, University of Southern California When the USC SoCal VoCals compete, you have to take notice. They are the only group in the bracket that can say they won the entire ICCA tournament the last two times they tried; not to mention that that also means they’ve won the whole thing twice in the last five years. Factor in the bevy of singers this squad has sent on to succeed in The Sing-Off and you have the group that has to be considered the favorites entering the 2012 ICCAs. The group will open this competition run at home on the USC stage. Anything is possible in competition, and with eight other hungry west coast groups competing, there’s every chance for an upset. Nonetheless, folks with an early eye toward the ICCA Finals should play close attention to what goes down in this quarter.
3. February 4, SUNY Binghamton The last four years, Ithacappella and The Buffalo Chips have dominated the Mid-Atlantic region. With each of these groups out, a bevy of groups that have never tasted the sweetness of the ICCA Finals are lined up to stake their claims. While every quarter is pretty stacked, this one is particularly impressive, including acts like Casual Harmony, Orange Appeal, Groovestand, and Vocal Point who have been competing for years, if not decades, and each look prone to make a big run.
4. February 11, University of Georgia Get ready for a battle of the all-male powerhouses when 2011 ICCA Wild Card Champions, The Vanderbilt Melodores go head to head with the 2010 ICCA South Champions, The Accidentals. This is a pair of truly progressive, truly hard hitting groups, each of whom placed at Finals the last time they competed. Add into the mix the additional intrigue of a rare Texas group competing in ICCAs, with the Texas A&M HardChord DynaMix, and you have all the makings of a classic.
5. Date and Location TBA Over the last decade, Florida State University has evolved into one of the most unmistakable hotbeds for collegiate a cappella. In this quarterfinal for which the date, time and location details are yet to be nailed down, the reigning ICCA South champs, The AcaBelles, will make their first stab at a return to trip to the Finals in New York, after impressive showings in 2011 (and 2009 before that). Add to the mix sibling groups All-Night Yahtzee (the dominant force of the ICCA South just a few short years ago), and Reverb (perennial contenders); not to mention the persistent threats posed by groups like No Southern Accent and The Crescendudes, and you have an electric night on tap.
You can check out the full ICCA and ICHSA schedule here.