CWRU a capella sweeps the ICCA Quarterfinals

CWRUs Dhamakapella places first in Varsity Vocals’ 2024 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella after wowing the audience with a sensational performance.
CWRU’s Dhamakapella places first in Varsity Vocals’ 2024 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella after wowing the audience with a sensational performance.
Courtesy of Dhamakapella

On March 2 at 7 p.m., Case Western Reserve University’s Maltz Performing Arts Center hosted Varsity Vocals’ 2024 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Midwest Quarterfinal in Silver Hall, welcoming a total of 11 diverse and thoroughly enjoyable a cappella groups and boasting students from even more college campuses across the Midwest. Over the course of the three-hour event, CWRU groups Case in Point and Dhamakapella both dazzled the crowd and took home prestigious awards, with Dhamakapella even advancing to the March 16 semifinals, where they placed third. The ICCA Quarterfinals represent a culmination of passion for so many talented, young individuals who have labored for months on end on ten-minute arrangements, creating deeply woven families within their musical groups.

With 11 acts competing with one another using only their voices, the array of sounds that the judges and audience experienced throughout the quarterfinal competition were invigorating, to say the least. Song choices ranged from well-known pop hits such as Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” or Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” to more indie and moody tracks such as Lake Street Drive’s “Hypotheticals” or Hozier’s “All Things End.” The Dynamics, a newly formed experimental group from Ohio University, even themed their set of songs completely around Halloween. With mind-melding beatbox and vocal mixes, as well as entrancing choreography, the night ended up being about far more than just the music.

Once every team had left their hearts onstage and the judges began to decide who would advance, CWRU treated the audience to an extra three performances from a few of CWRU’s dance teams. Spartan Tappers, CWRU Nritya and CWRU Naadam each performed a set for the audience, all of which involved intricate steps, laser focus and storytelling that had the audience erupting into cheers.

Once the exhibition acts had finished, all 11 a cappella groups were called back onstage, and the awards were announced for Best Soloist (Purdue Soundtracks), Best Beatbox (Dhamakapella), Best Arrangement (Dhamakapella) and Best Choreo (Kent State’s Vocal Intensity). Then, finally, came the awards for third, second and first place, which were awarded to Case in Point, Vocal Intensity and Dhamakapella, respectively. With the first and second place winners advancing to semifinals, CWRU’s very own Dhamakapella competed again over spring break, where Ani Raghuvir mentions that the group “had a great time performing [and] watching some really talented teams and bonding together.” Placing third in the semifinals, Dhamakapella ended their ICCA run for the season, but not without providing a sensational performance for each of their captivated audiences.

When observing any of the performing groups from the night of the ICCA Quarterfinals, the overwhelming love each team has for their members is unmistakable. The sense of community that manifests when all of these visionary young artists are brought together is more than palpable—it is contagious.

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