Smooth Benediction at ICCA
On Saturday February, 15th, Mount Marty’s a cappella group, Smooth Benediction, traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to compete in the Midwest Quarterfinal round of the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Hundreds of groups nationwide submit videos to a panel of judges to be considered for the competition.
That Saturday, the Admissions staff sent the group off with a home-cooked breakfast. Wyatt Yager thrilled the choir when he played a good luck message from the a cappella group, Home Free, this season’s winners of The Sing Off on NBC. Last fall, Home Free visited the Mount Marty campus to work one-on-one with Smoothies and to perform for the public.
The competition was in the Rococo Theatre in downtown Lincoln. Eight competing choirs gathered in the theatre at 2:30 pm for a meeting. Mount Marty College was among many large universities, including the University of Minnesota, the University of Kansas, and Texas A&M University.
Each group drew for performing order and was given ten minutes to prepare. After dinner, the choir ate dinner and put on their blue and black causal dress for the 7:00 p.m. show. The group’s musical set opened with the up-tempo Phillip Phillip’s “Home” as arranged by Junior Gage Blaschke. An arrangement of the Beatles’ “In My Life” followed, and the group finished with an original mash-up based around Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
Since the beginning of the spring semester, Smoothies have crammed in extra hours of practice to learn new music and choreography and have taken their set to perform at events in places like the G.A.R. Art Hall Gallery and Hillcrest Country Club. Junior Riley Stack noted the amount of time and energy the singers were putting into the set, saying, “I wanted to make the best show possible happen, but I was looking for a rest by the end of it.”
While the group didn’t advance to the next level of competition, the practice paid off as the group exceeded their director’s, Dr. Kenneth Tice, goal of scoring higher than 200 points, topping their marks from previous years. Smoothie’s co-caption, Junior Anna Kollasch believes that a strong tryout in August made this group better than ones from years past. “We have a blend of fresh talent and veterans in the group that are able to push each other to the next level. When we took the stage in Lincoln, there was a confidence that wasn’t apparent in the past.”