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2019 was full of aca-happenings. Here are some of the notable moments in the last year of vocal music.
The Launch of DCappella
After a long hype and promotional appearances, DCappella set out in January on their first North American tour, followed by a tour in Japan and several other major shows and appearances. A stellar 7-member cast, a show featuring visuals just as spectacular as the voices, this Disney group was worth the wait.
Mark Kibble Wins Ninth Grammy
Although this Grammy wasn't for his work with Take 6, the most decorated arranger in the a cappella community took home his ninth Grammy this year for his collaboration with Randy Waldman and Justin Wilson on the arrangement of the "Spiderman Theme." His 2019 nominations, including a second for his arrangement of "Change the World" for Take 6, marks 21 lifetime nominations.
ICCA & ICHSA Names First-Time Winners
Longtime members of the collegiate a cappella scene, the NYU N'Harmonics took a short trip across Manhattan to win the ICCA title, and surging with young talent, InTONEnation out of Georgia stormed the ICHSA stage for the win. While both groups have appeared at finals before, this was the first win for both.
Six Appeal Repeat Grand Prix Champions
The City of Moscow invited nearly 200 a cappella groups from around the world to compete for a long list of prizes - the top prize being the Grand Prix title. Minnesota-based Six Appeal won over the crowds to win it all for a second year in a row. Later in the fall, the group released a live EP commemorating the experience timed with their headlining appearance at SoJam.
Resolve Becomes Harmony Sweeps Champions
Resolve, a jazz quartet out of Florida who made their way to San Rafael by way of NYC, took home top honors at this year's Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals. They just wrapped up their successful breakout year with a holiday album "All Wrapped Up", partially funded by their community of ardent supporters.
Signature and Westminster Shine in Salt Lake City
The Barbershop Harmony Society family gathered in Salt Lake City for nearly a week of jaw-dropping competition. The well-loved quartet, Signature, finally took home the coveted gold after 2 years in 2nd place. On the chorus side, it was a year of theatrics, gymnastics, and some incredible vocals that ended with Westminster taking home another deserved International Title with a score of 97.9% - the highest score ever recorded in the history of the organization.
Death of Jerry Lawson
The original lead singer of the Persuasions, Jerry Lawson was an a cappella legend whose storied career spanned decades. The Persuasions sustained the art of a cappella through a turbulent and sometimes dormant time for vocal music. The world lost the presence of Mr. Lawson on July 10, but his voice will live on forever.
The beatboxing duo Spiderhorse captured this year's AcaOpen title, with Gene Shinozaki and Chris Celiz using just their two voices to top a field of more traditional contemporary a cappella groups. Also of note, the ICHSA champion, InTONEnation held their own and took 2nd place.
Viva! Crowned Sweet Adelines Queens of Harmony
Viva! eked out a nail-biter to win this year's crown, scoring just 2 points higher than runners-up, Titanium, and topping an incredibly competitive top 10. Rönninge Show Chorus brought a stunning and uplifting package to win the international contest, finishing well ahead of a talented field of competitors by a whopping 116 points.
CASA Names New President
At this year's SoJam, CASA announced that Gina Deaton will take over as President of the Board, spearheading a surge for the Contemporary A Cappella Society, now focused on even more initiatives to foster a healthy international a cappella community. Deaton started as a volunteer at CASA events before serving as Secretary and Director of HR before stepping into her new role.
Historic Harmony, Inc. Contest in Sandusky
From the stage in Sandusky, OH first-time competitors Hot Pursuit became the 2019 Harmony Queens. A Cappella Showcase out of Milton, ON took gold with an incredible score of 1507 - the second highest chorus score ever recorded in Harmony, Inc. They edged out Northern Blend by just 7 point, making this the first time in the history of the organization that two choruses scored over 83% in the same International Contest.
AcaPop! Marks Huge Step for Youth A Cappella
Behind the brain-trust of Ben Bram, Scott Hoying, and Shams Ahmed, AcaPop! Kids launched this year as a cappella's answer to KidzBop. Featuring 11- to 14-year old talent, the group sings classic and contemporary pop, all a cappella. So far we've seen several videos, but there are talks of a tour in the near future.
What were your favorite a cappella moments of 2019?