Varsity Vocals' Aca Open is providing an amazing performance platform for groups of all ages and types. It's serving as a launchpad for young groups like Vocalight and giving one group$25,000 for touring, content creation, and/or whatever else they want.
Vocalight at the Aca Open
Vocalight took the Midwest Semifinal in a landslide, scoring 52 points higher than the 2nd Place Enharmonic Fusion and 122 points higher than 3rd Place's Lyra.
Another distinguished feature of the Midwest Semifinal is that all three placing groups are all pre-grad. Vocalight was recently born of Centerville HS Forte, Lyra from Chaminade Julienne HS Vega, with Enharmonic Fusion is the hometown HS group from Dekalb, IL.
Vocalight sang three charts that managed to showcase how all five of the members are worthy to fill roles both as ensemble members and soloists. Their sound is strong for five young people, and they filled the stage with their presence. They have an excellent awareness of their strengths and play to them strategically. Vocalight is especially impressive as they're a new and fairly young group. It's obvious that they gel together well onstage and off.
Vocalight Opens for Daya
Enharmonic Fusion, who placed 2nd at the 2017 ICHSA Finals, performed that same at the Aca Open. Grace Klonoski, one of their soloists, showed performance skills way beyond her years and it was hard to remember that she was still in High School. She won "Outstanding Soloist" at the 2017 ICHSA Finals. They were the largest group of the evening with 18.
Enharmonic Fusion's 2017 ICHSA Set
Lyra is based in Dayton, Ohio and is comprised of former members of Vega , a perennial ICHSA powerhouse from Chaminade Julienne HS. Angelo Knight was a standout soloist and overall, they had great energy and tuning. Lyra is a new group and they have a ton of potential if they continue to work together.
"Circus" as performed by Lyra
All 4 potential Special Awards were given out, starting with "Outstanding Soloist". Holly Gyenes from Vocalight was given this award for an emotional performance that embodied the powerful meaning of "Rise Up". You couldn't help but feel inspired as she took the audience on a journey.
"Outstanding Vocal Percussion" went to Lauren Wilson from Revel, further proving that women can be as strong as men on percussion. She's a great role model for any young VP.
Isaiah Hawkins of the Spartones won "Outstanding Arrangement" for highlighting multiple soloists while still communicating a cohesive story with a group that combines people from five groups at Michigan State. The Spartones also won "Outstanding Choreography" for their commitment to visual storytelling.
"I thought the evening was much better than I had expected." Judge Dennis Gephart told FloVoice. "All the groups came out knowing who they were and why they were there. For some, it was to win the competition while others it was for more personal reasons and to reconnect once more with the people and music that played an important role in their lives. It was exciting to see such great vocalists have a place once again to show their talents."
I think Varsity Vocals has tapped into a whole new market that will be exciting to watch grow in the upcoming years.Bryan Miller provided some wonderful sound design and mixing, assisted by Sarah Parrott (recent Centerville HS grad, who was just name the inaugural recipient of The Jimmy Humphries Endowed Scholarship in Technical Theatre at the International Thespian Society National Convention).
Special Thanks to John DeFerraro
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