Collegiate a cappella. The first thing that pops into most people’s minds is “Pitch Perfect.” This fan-favorite movie followed a group's journey towards the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), and the hardships they had to endure along the way. UMD’s very own DaCadence, a coed elite a cappella group, headed to ICCA finals last Friday to compete with other groups across the nation.
This is a historic accomplishment for the organization, as this is the first time that the team has made it past semi-finals. Last year the group placed third in the semi-finals, rendering them unable to move on in the competition.
“To not only place first in semi finals but to make it to finals and be on a stage with so many other professional groups-it’s just beyond me and I’m so excited,” DaCadence president and senior digital media communications major Nick Orellana said.
Unfortunately, the group did not place in ICCA finals, but was awarded Outstanding Vocal Percussion for member Josh Qui’s performance.
DaCadence was founded in 2010, and was created to be another option for student singers on such a wide campus. There are nine other prominent a cappella groups on campus, all ranging in levels of competitiveness. The UMD Treblemakers, an all women’s a cappella group made it to the ICCA quarterfinals but did not progress onto finals.
“It’s so cool to see an acapella group represent UMD at the literal ICCA finals and I know that they’re going to do amazing,” freshman assistant music director for the UMD Treblemakers Neha Dheen said. “They’re so talented and have such a powerful sound. On behalf of the Treblemakers, we’re rooting for you!”
The ICCAs were held at the Town Hall, a theater in New York City. The high school competition was held the day before, and DaCadence traveled up to see them before they had to compete themselves.
“I am beyond excited for finals. Mainly because it’s DaCadence’s first time and I’m glad to have brought the group this far in this competition, but also I am such an a cappella nerd, I am so invested in these different competitions and these different groups,” said Orellano.
DaCadence is currently working on a music video of their competition set that will be released this summer. They are also working on an album that contains the competition set along with other songs, and has a spring concert on May 4.
There are 14 people in DaCadence, led by the president and vocal director. Freshman criminology major and music performance minor Matthew Humphries joined the organization last semester, and is the first soloist in the performance set. Getting to ICCA finals as a freshman is a feat not lost on Humphries, and he couldn’t imagine a better group to do it with.
“Yeah, this is a family, we call ourselves DaFam,” freshman criminology major Matthew Humphries said. “These people I love to death I want to spend all my time with them. I want the seniors to fail their classes so they can stay again for another year. ”
DaCadence is competing against nine other groups that are champions in their prospective regions- with two universities hailing from the United Kingdom. If they win this competition, DaCadence will be unable to compete the following year. For Humphries, the opportunity to perform the performance set with his group just one more time is the most important thing.
“It almost kind of seems like this is like our movie,” Humphries said. “And it's [about] getting to that huge competition and it was the trials and tribulations you know, the rising action… It's surreal.”