Thirteen vocalists from UCSB’s coed a cappella group Naked Voices competed in the semifinal round of the International Competition of Collegiate A Cappella last month, advancing farther than ever before in the annual competition.
Though it did not place in the top three and go on to the finals of the competition, Naked Voices soprano Jo Isorena said this was the first time the group had made it past the quarterfinals.
Brigham Young University’s Noteworthy won the competition and will represent the western United States at the finals next week in New York.
In the run to the semifinals in the past few months, four western quarterfinal rounds were held at various universities, including UCSB. Naked Voices’ winning quarterfinal performance was at USC in February. The group placed second overall, behind the all-female Noteworthy, and advanced to the semifinals.
The top eight a cappella groups from the West division then convened in San Rafael for the semifinal round. UCLA’s ScatterTones, Stanford’s Raagapella, USC’s Troy Tones and Brigham Young University’s Vocal Point and Noteworthy groups were among those represented.
In addition to placing second, individual members of Naked Voices were recognized for their efforts during the quarterfinals. Tenor Trevor Ditzler, a second-year psychology and religious studies major, was awarded the coveted Outstanding Soloist award for his rendition of “Feelin’ Good.” Beatboxer Jimmy Percival a third-year political science major, received accolades for Outstanding Vocal Percussion. The group as a whole won Outstanding Choreography.
Naked Voices performed three songs for the semifinal judges, including “Eye to Eye” from A Goofy Movie. According to member Naomi Casanova, an undeclared first-year, the group performed in top form.
“It was amazing to hear how good all the other choirs were and know that we were competing on their level,” Casanova said.
Bass vocalist Billy Lee, a third-year computer science major, said Naked Voices put its best work into the semifinal competition.
“I felt that our group had a lot of enthusiasm and that our performance was great,” Lee said. “We performed the best we ever have that night, and it was a great experience for the group.”
Despite the group’s success, Lee said he would like Naked Voices to pay more attention to on-campus shows for the students rather than focusing on competitions.
“Next year I would like to focus away from competing and toward creating outstanding entertainment for our students here at UCSB,” Lee said.
Isorena, a second-year biopsychology and Spanish major, said in the group is currently working on arranging new songs and recording others for a possible upcoming CD release. In addition, the group has several performances slated to happen on campus, including the Take Back the Night rally on April 19 and the All Gaucho Reunion on April 27.