Reynolds hosts ICHSA a cappella competition


The a cappella team InToneNation posing after receiving first place in the International Championship of High School A Cappella Competition. The team will be advancing to the semifinals in Douglasville, Ga.

On Saturday, March 3, different schools and groups from across North Carolina and Georgia came together to compete at the International Championship of High School A Cappella event that was hosted at Reynolds Auditorium. While Reagan did not perform in the event, Reynolds’ three a cappella groups did.

One of the Reynolds’ groups is an all-girl choir called the Syncopates, who sang the songs, “Woman,” “Ivre/apre moi,” “Pretty Hurts” and “Confident.”

“I have been a part of the Syncopates for three years now,” said Reynolds senior Camryn Jacob.

Nine a cappella groups performed Saturday in the quarterfinals of the competition, along with a guest performance from the Reynolds group X. This group sang while the judges made the decisions on scores. The group did a medley including the songs, “The Shape of You,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Devotion,” “Grenade” and “Home.”

The nine competing groups in the fourth quarter final event were Crescenloe, InToneNation, Keynote, Looking for Treble, Pitch Please, RJR Syncopate, The Acafellas and The Lion Experience, all from North Carolina except one from Georgia.

Dozens of competitions take place within each region of the country, this particular one being in the Southern region competition.

The order in which the groups performed was determined earlier Saturday when each of the groups drew randomly to see when they would perform. The Syncopates ended up performing first in the competition, followed by the group Keynote from Lillington, N.C.

RJR’s Acafellas is an all-male group that is directed and run all by the students. There are 18 members in total, including Wills Woodruff and Zeke Duncan, who are ensemble leaders of the group. This was the Acafellas first year competing.

The group aimed to perform in a “swagger-like” manner with the songs, “24K Magic, Cooler than Me, Suit and Tie, Wanna Love You Girl and Closer.” One singer even kicked the microphone stand up to sing with it, and the audience went crazy screaming their approval.

The preparation for the ICHSA quarterfinals started months in advance, and that was just for this competition.

“We prepared three different songs, merged them together into one video, then sent in our application with a link to the video included,” Dunkan said.

After each group is notified that they qualify for the quarterfinals, they must prepare their song list that will show the group’s strengths but will effectively highlight their talent in a small amount of time. The groups must also coordinate solos and choreograph a routine for their songs.

Each of the nine groups’ performances were only allotted 12 minutes to sing multiple songs. Most groups sang four to five songs in this time frame. While none of the groups had a perfect performance and there were mistakes here and there, the audience seemed to enjoy the song choices and groups. How much effort the groups put in was evident.

The top two scoring high schools in Saturday’s lineup were the contemporary a cappella group InToneNation from Douglasville, Ga. with a score of 440, and the group Pitch Please from Pittsboro, N.C., which scored 364 points. These two groups earned a spot in the ICHSA semifinal on March 24 in Douglasville.

The points are determined by a select team of four judges who score the groups based on the categories of vocal performance, visual performance and subjective rank. In addition, they select a specific person or group for the special awards of Outstanding Soloist, Arrangement (how the groups physically placed themselves on stage), Vocal Percussion and Choreography.

“It is very helpful for groups like ours to be able to compete against others in order to both showcase our talent, but also grow to be better singers,” said Reynolds junior Megan Curling, who is a member of the Syncopates. “It’s not about popularity for us but rather doing what we love on a bigger stage.”

While none of the local a cappella groups from Reynolds placed for the semifinal this year, the Syncopates earned a spot in the semifinal last year in Florida, which was also their first year competing in ICHSA.

The lasting effect of these a cappella groups are not entirely measured in the results, but in the fact the students are expressed themselves through this music.

“I love a cappella because it’s fun to work with lots of talented people and put on shows that everybody enjoys,” Woodruff said.