Distilled Harmony advances to ICCA Semifinals

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Distilled Harmony advances to ICCA Semifinals

Ryan Drew, second from left, faces the crowd as he delivers a heartfelt performance. / Photo by Evelyn Bleed

Ryan Drew, second from left, faces the crowd as he delivers a heartfelt performance. / Photo by Evelyn Bleed

Ryan Drew, second from left, faces the crowd as he delivers a heartfelt performance. / Photo by Evelyn Bleed

Ryan Drew, second from left, faces the crowd as he delivers a heartfelt performance. / Photo by Evelyn Bleed

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By Evelyn Bleed and Jules Ubertini, news staff

Northeastern a cappella groups took home top-three places across two major competitions this weekend, and one co-ed group will advance to the next level in a tournament that spans the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Collegiate a cappella groups competed and showcased their talent in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Northeast Quarterfinals at two Boston venues Saturday and Sunday. Northeastern groups included Treble on Huntington, Distilled Harmony and The Unisons, all of which placed in the top three at their respective quarterfinals.

The ICCA tournament consists of nine regions, each of which has three to five quarterfinal competitions, according to Varsity Vocals. Each of the six to 10 groups has 12 minutes to perform their sets to the judges. The top two groups advance to the regional semifinals, and the highest scoring semifinal group gets to compete in the finals.

The ICCA Semifinals will take place March 4 at Boston Symphony Hall. The top group will advance to the ICCA Finals on April 21 at The Beacon Theatre.

Distilled Harmony places second with heartfelt performance

Distilled Harmony placed second behind Harvard’s Under Construction in the quarterfinal competition on Sunday and will advance to the semifinals at Symphony Hall on March 4.

“This is my fifth [time competing in the ICCAs] and probably one of the first times I haven’t felt nervous about it the whole time. [It was] probably one of the best performances we left on stage,” bass and fifth-year mechanical engineering major Alejandro Clark said. “It was just the right amount of nerves to focus, honestly, and to put it all out there.”

Distilled Harmony received a loud, supportive cheer as they paraded onto the stage. They are a co-ed group that sings anything from mainstream pop to indie rock.

Their set list included “Take the Money and Run” by The Steve Miller Band, soloed by fourth-year chemistry major and mezzo soprano singer Jessica Dunn, first-year mechanical engineering major and soprano Karizma Kishnani and second-year criminal justice major and alto Morgan Headden.

Kishnani thought it was the group’s best performance.

“I feel like we did really great and we feel really proud of what we put out,” Kishnani said.  “I know we all had fun on stage together, and we were interacting.”

The second song they performed was “Falls” by ODESZA. Caroline Lucas, a fourth-year civil engineering major and alto singer, sang the solo. This was followed with a rendition of “I Have Questions” by Camila Cabello, soloed by first-year music industry major and mezzo singer Annie Schindel.

The last song on the setlist, “Never Forget You” by Zara Larsson and MNEK, was soloed by second-year finance major and tenor singer Joby Mathew and Kishnani.  

Multiple members of the group earned individual awards. Lucas, Mathew and Headden earned the Outstanding Choreography Award for the set. Sean Costello, a fourth-year music industry major and vocal percussion, earned the Outstanding Vocal Percussion award for the set. Lucas also earned the Outstanding Soloist award for her performance in “Falls.”

Kishnani said that the lighting helped make their performance even more effective.

“I think with the lights, they made a big impact because we’ve never really had lights on us like that,” she said. “I think we were a little shocked, but really into it, because they had different colors and it just felt like us alone on stage jamming out together, which was fun.”

Unisons place third with unity and brotherhood

The Unisons, an all-male a capella group at Northeastern, placed third in the competition behind Harvard’s Under Construction and Distilled Harmony on Sunday. They will not be moving on to the semifinals.

They performed with high energy and exuberated confidence as they grooved to the music. They wore matching khaki pants, white button down shirts and blue jackets. The group received a loud and encouraging cheer from the crowd before they began, but asked the audience to hold applause during their performance, as they had a tight set.

“The performance flew by, ” said Cooper Kwiatkowski, a fourth-year business administration major and bass singer. “It felt very free. It was actually good to see that [holding back of applause] because it showed we were confident in what we were doing. You’ll see someone in the audience jamming out and feeling it and that’s all you need. In the end that’s all you want, is the audience to love it.”

The group began their set with “Wait” by Maroon 5, with Kwiatkowski taking on the solo. Tristan Smith, a fourth-year business administration major, vocal percussion and bass singer, took the solo for “Safe Inside” by James Arthur. Smith received the Outstanding Soloist award for his performance.

The Unisons followed with “I Like Me Better” by Lauv, soloed by Eric Lederman, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major, vocal percussion and baritone singer. They finished their set with “Walk on Water” by Thirty Seconds to Mars, soloed by John Alling, a fourth-year computer engineering major and baritone singer.

As they walked off stage, the men linked their arms around each other, unlike other groups who followed an order coming on and off stage. They smiled and chatted, seeming pleased and still excited about their performance.

Treble on Huntington place third with eye-catching choreography

Treble on Huntington, an all-female group at Northeastern, placed third on Saturday behind The Harvard Lowkeys and The CharlieCords of Berklee. They will not be moving on to the semifinals.

The women paraded on stage dressed in all black. Treble on Huntington’s 11 members come from cities around the country and the world.

They started their set slow, beginning with “Stay” by Zedd and Alessia Cara. Third-year chemical engineering major and alto singer Surabhi Godbole sang the solo as the group quickly adopted a fast-paced tempo.

They went on to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” soloed by third-year biochemistry major and mezzo singer Ally Schulz, the whole group sang Betty Who’s “The Valley,” and Zara Larsson’s “Funeral” was soloed by Jones.

In their performance, Treble on Huntington used the space well and created formations which kept the audience captivated. The ladies kept eye contact with the audience, occasionally winking or smiling at someone in the crowd.

Lauren Gralenski, a student from Southern New Hampshire University, traveled to Boston to watch her friend compete.

“This is my first time at an a capella competition, but I love it,” she said. “It’s really a community that you wouldn’t have expected.”

Treble on Huntington’s president, treasurer and alto singer Natalie Jones is a third-year math and biology combined major. She described the group as very close.

“We all take singing very seriously and we want to do well, but we really are a group of friends first,” she said. “[A capella] really has become a niche. There’s definitely a certain type of person who does a capella.”