Arts, On Campus

Dynamics Head to International A Cappella Competition Quarterfinals

There was excitement in the air Sunday evening as members of the Boston College Dynamics gathered with wooden sticks in their hands in place of microphones to perform a set of a cappella pieces to a small audience. 

The Dynamics invited members of the BC community to the Murray Family Function Room on Sunday to watch an open rehearsal of their performance for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA).   

The group will perform at the second night of the competition’s northeast quarterfinal round on Feb. 26 at the Berklee Performance Center. The competition marks the first time in 10 years that a Dynamics team  will compete in person in the ICCA. Last year, the group submitted a recorded performance to the competition. 

The rehearsal was brief, but a small crowd of a cappella enthusiasts cheered on the group during the performance. Members of the Dynamics asked their friends and classmates in the audience for recommendations on how they could improve their set.

The quarterfinal, semifinal, and final rounds of the ICCA begin in January and continue through April. The competition gained fame after it was the focus of the popular Pitch Perfect films. 

This year’s event includes 450 groups competing in nine regions in both the U.S. and Europe, and the finals will take place at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City. 

During the quarterfinals this weekend, the Dynamics will compete against a cappella groups from other colleges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including Northeastern, Harvard, and Boston University. 

Mary Brown, co-publicity director for the Dynamics and MCAS ’23, said in an email that the group’s set has been a long time in the making, and the singers have devoted a significant amount of time to preparing for the competition. The group decided on its songs in the spring of 2021 and has been working on the pieces since then. 

In addition to learning the professionally crafted arrangements, Brown said that they have also been working with a professional choreographer to incorporate dance elements into a competition piece for the first time.

“Since this is our first year doing ICCAs in person, we are very much not used to performing with choreography,” Brown said in the email. “So I’d say that’s been our biggest challenge and adjustment, but I’m really proud of how quickly we’ve picked up the dancing.”

In the months leading up to Saturday’s competition, there has been a lot of work behind the scenes to cut and adjust the Dynamics’ set to stay within the 10-minute time limit, Brown said. The group has extended its rehearsal schedule leading up to the quarterfinals. 

“Since this has been so long in the making and we’ve put so much time and energy into this set, it would mean the world to us to make it to the semifinals!” Brown said in the email. “We’re hopeful going into quarterfinals, but whether we move on or not, I’m so proud of what we’ve done so far and the set we’ve worked together to create.”

The Dynamics began their open rehearsal with a rendition of a popular Demi Lovato song, featuring the soloist Julianna Perrino, the Dynamics’ music director and CSON ’22. 

The singers created a variety of formations throughout the set. Their casual dancing and playful interactions with one another kept the performance lively. The group closed with a version of a popular hit by Harry Styles. 

“Our goal is to represent Boston College to the best of our ability and to engage with the greater Boston a cappella community regarding our shared love of music,” said Faith Ricca, co-publicity director and MCAS ’23. 

Saturday’s competition will be the culmination of months of hard work, Charles Volpe, MCAS ’24, said.

“I’m super excited to see everything that we’ve been rehearsing for the past few months come to fruition,” Volpe said. “All of us have put our blood, sweat, and tears into this set, and we are itching to get on stage and compete.”

Featured Image by Brock Britton

February 22, 2022