Northeastern’s Pitch, Please! advances to ICCA finals


Emily Gringorten

Northeastern a cappella group Pitch Please! performs at the Fenway center April 17. Pitch, Please! was founded in 2012 and, in the years since, have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the a cappella world.

Emily Chung, news correspondent

After a year full of countless rehearsals, gigs and competitions, Pitch, Please!, one of Northeastern’s upper-voice a cappella groups, will travel to New York City to compete in the finals for the prestigious International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, or ICCA.

Pitch, Please! was founded in 2012 and, in the years since, have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the a cappella world. There are 15 current members in the group, six of which joined this academic year. 

Chloe Cohen, a second-year music industry and communications combined major, joined Pitch, Please! in the fall and has loved every second so far. 

“Being supported by such a great network of people who genuinely care so much about succeeding makes it really easy for new members to just fit right in and feel super welcomed,” Cohen said.

Members describe the group as a family and a supportive sisterhood, and they spend as much time as they can with each other outside of rehearsals.

“We rehearse for three hours a day, six days a week, and then on that seventh day, we still want to hang out,” said Jess Garcia, a fourth-year human services major. “We’ll just sit in Ryder for two more hours after our rehearsals to just chat with each other. I feel like we just never get sick of each other.”

Garcia has been serving as the president of Pitch, Please! for two years, managing everything from administrative paperwork to bonding and meditation exercises for the group. She joined in the fall of her freshman year, so performing on the ICCA stage feels familiar to her. 

This year, Pitch, Please! placed first in both quarterfinals and semifinals, accumulating several awards along the way. Fifth-year theatre and communications combined major Julia Chase won the Outstanding Choreography award, third-year environmental and sustainability sciences major Oli Leto won Outstanding Soloist for the song “Me in 20 Years” and third-year music industry and communications combined major Olivia Materetsky won the Outstanding Vocal Percussionist award.

Materetsky, the music director, said there was an extremely tight turnaround between spring auditions and quarterfinals. The three newest members, who joined in January, were tasked with learning the ICCA material in a span of two weeks to be ready to compete.

Julia Chase, the PR and business manager, taught the choreography to the group in additional dance-focused rehearsals. From the minute the ICCA set was finalized, Chase knew exactly how she wanted the choreography to look. 

“I focused a lot on the storytelling component as a priority this year, rather than solely focusing on the dance moves and formations,” Chase said. “I think that putting a heavy importance on the storytelling component of our set ultimately led to more creative ideas for the choreography. It’s been absolutely incredible getting to see everything come together.”

When her name was announced for the award for the first time at quarterfinals, Chase ran across the stage and into the arms of her group in a moment of pure joy and elation. Surrounded by her closest friends, she felt all of her hard work pay off.

While the group only had a short two weeks to prepare for quarterfinals. They had two months to prepare for semifinals. During that time, they fine tuned all aspects of their set, practicing with specially-made weighted PVC pipes for microphones and spending so much time in Ryder Hall that it became like a second home to them. Throughout these rehearsals, they grew closer in sisterhood — something that translated on the stage as they performed.

“One thing that’s really beautiful about this group is our love for each other,” Chase said. “People always comment that they can see that on stage, and that’s something that I hope never goes away in Pitch.”