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12 February 2006 @ 02:11 am
Good weekend  
Started with getting the results from that scary six-hour exam from two weeks ago.  On a scale of Passed to Not Passed in two categories, I loved seeing "Passed" in both columns.

Then tonight, we went to the quarterfinals of ICCA.  For those keeping track, I've been watching the a cappella rock scene for quite some time.  Actually, looking at that list, I see that I forgot to make a couple of posts recently: Jen and I had the opportunity to coach Reverse Osmosis again, once on December 10, and once on January 22.  Fantastic experiences both times, loved every second.  Leaps and bounds made as usual, both from tips we gave and their own talents.  Mostly the latter, but we like to think we're a part of that somehow.

Some background on what I'm going to say in a moment.  Since Jen and I started following ACR, this division of the ICCAs has been completely dominated by two groups.  First, the USC SoCal VoCals were far and away the best of the best.  Then they decided to take a few years off - and the moment they did, Mt SAC's Fermata Nowhere took their spot.  Neither could be touched when they were competing.  This year, the VoCals came back - but Fermata was competing in a different division.  Since only the top 2 in any given division move on to the district competition in Stanford, we were glad to see this for RO's sake.

Going into tonight, we expected the standings to be clear from the get-go.  VoCals would take first, RO would take second.  Yes, there were three other competitors (U of Arizona Vocal Ease, USC Sirens, and Claremont Colleges Women's Blue & White), but we didn't see them as much competition.  And based on what we saw at SCAMfest in November, the VoCals were clearly going to take top honors.  Which is OK - the top 2 from every region move to the Divisionals in Stanford, so RO would still move forward.

The competition was great - one of the better divisionals we've seen.  The Sirens and RO both performed the best we've ever seen them.  The only disappointment was the VoCals, which honestly didn't feel to us like they brought their A game to the stage.  It didn't feel like they left it offstage - just that this wasn't a great package for them.  RO, however, was phenomenal.  They poured emotion into every song, and delivered it through finely crafted musicality.  Their choreography was a lot of fun (I don't know that a college group has ever given me chills from their choreo before - that was cool), and they walked away with the audience's hearts.

And the special award for Best Choreography.

And the special award for Best Vocal Percussionist.

And the special award for Best Arrangment.

And the special award for Best Soloist.

And the top score for the night.

And what is currently the second-to-top score in the region, with a mere three points between them and the top dogs.  Two slots at regionals have yet to be filled (including last year's regional winners, Divisi), so these standings aren't final, but here's where things are right now:
Brigham Young University Vocal Point (427 points)
University of Southern California Reverse Osmosis (423 points)
University of California Berkeley Men's Octet (412 points)
Mt. San Antonio College Fermata Nowhere (411 points)
Brigham Young University Noteworthy (394 points)
University of Southern California SoCal VoCals (348 points)

All this is out of a possible 465 points (125 per judge in various categories, plus a possible 30 subjective points per judge, times three judges.  If you care, you can check out the judging forms for details.).

Oh, and forgot to mention about UCB's Men's Octet - they too have been taking some time off from the competition, having won the whole thing several years back.

My voice is hoarse from cheering so much.  I'm still on cloud nine for the group - I can't even express in words how proud of them I am.  Sorry - both Jen and I are.  I shouldn't be greedy.  =)

Anyway, we're going to be coaching them again in a couple weeks, and cheering them on in Stanford on March 18.  If you can make it, I do highly recommend attending.  It's gonna be a great show this year...

Post Script:  I don't mean to put down any of tonight's competitors - Vocal Ease, Women's Blue & White, and the Sirens all did admirably.  Nobody made us cringe, everybody was pretty good - which is a major improvement over some of the past years we've seen.  And like I say, Sirens in particular we've seen several times, and this was the best they've ever done in our eyes and ears.  But there were two leagues competing tonight, and the bottom three simply weren't in with the top two.  To give you an idea, third place was Vocal Ease with 301 points.

Actually, I suppose you could say that with a 75 point gap between #s 1 and 2, RO was in a league all their own tonight...