By Shelby Pendowski
For the past five years, the Grand Valley State University chapter of SAI Mu Alpha has hosted A Cappell-Off. A Cappell-Off is a competition that brings a cappella groups from around the Midwest to compete for titles such as best overall group, best male group, best mixed group and best female group. This year, not only will groups from four different states compete, but also all four of GVSU’s a cappella groups will go head to head.
“It is going to be a very competitive competition because we have Euphoria that is going and I believe Midnight Snack and After School Special are as well, and those are all the GV groups,” said GVSU GrooVe! president Jacob Sackleh. “It is exciting to be able to share the stage with those groups and really put our best foot forward.”
The competition is a yearly fundraiser to raise money for the sisterhood of SAI Mu Alpha and the music program at Allendale Public Schools. The A Cappell-Off begins at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 at Allendale High School’s auditorium.
“This one (competition) is a great one because it goes directly to SAI,” said Midnight Snack Vice President Lindsay Cannon. “And on top of that, it is a really good cause and it is local and we get to meet so many different people from all the different colleges. It is just a really fun thing to be a part of.”
Groups such as GrooVe! are using the A Cappell-Off as a stepping-stone to the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), which would give them the chance to work closely with the other music groups.
“We have pretty much gone to ICCA for four years and the ICCA is a pretty big competition…and the A Cappell-Off is a really good tune up for the ICCA,” Sackleh said. “I mean the experience aside, we really want to be able to connect with other a cappella groups, and we really want to grow ourselves…”
To get ready for competitions such as these, the groups at rehearsals concentrate on blending voices, choreography and fine-tuning their set list, Cannon said.
For the A Cappell-Off, Midnight Snack will be performing a mashup of “Some Nights” and “Payphone,” “Skyfall” by Adele and “Fallen” by Alicia Keys.
GrooVe! is planning to use the performance to perfect its set list for the ICCAs. The group will perform “The Rhythm We Started” by Sophie Madeleine, “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran and “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae.
“For these competitions, we select specific songs that we want to perform and that we think we are the best at and that would put our best foot forward,” said Josh Sackleh, GrooVe! e-board member.
With a cappella groups from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio in attendance, each group will have to perform its best to take home a title. For the GV groups, it is also a chance to grow as individuals and as a community.
“The idea of opening your mind to different ideas with your music and stuff,” Jacob Sackleh said. “That is a huge thing. These other groups you know – Euphoria, After School Special, Midnight Snack – all bring a different style to the table and we can learn from that.”
The show is not only enjoyable for those familiar with a cappella, but it also will be a night for anyone who enjoys music, Sackleh said.
“It is going to be a great show,” Sackleh said. “You are looking at a lot of really good a cappella groups under one roof and it is not just going to be a good show, but you are also going to see a variety in terms of musicality.”