The Premier and Final Cut (PFC) A Cappella group competed in the Southwest Regional A Cappella meet and took home first on Saturday. This was the semifinal round for A Cappella groups invited from the southwest region of the United States, which now advances MacArthur A Cappella to the International A Cappella Finalists tournament in New York during the summer.
The groups competing at the Southwest Regional meet consisted of A&M Consolidated School, Warren and Steele.
“Taking home the championship means a lot for us,” junior soloist Margaret Newton said. “We’re proud to re-qualify for the finals tournament in New York. Last year we were seen as the ‘underdogs’, but now we’re considered competition to other A Capella groups across the region.”
Along with the Regional Championship trophy, junior Bailey Coppin won Best Soloist in the performance. The 21-membered A Cappella group also consists of vocal percussionists (who make percussion sounds and beats with their voices), soloists, and chorus members.
“When I first saw Steele’s piece, I felt a little intimidated,” junior vocal percussionist Nick Ruiz said. “I underestimated the competition and got a little worried about our performance, but we all put our best foot forward and took the other teams by surprise. All of our hard work paid off.”
“Our goal is to captivate the audience and make them feel emotions,” junior soloist Bailey Coppin said. “We cry as we sing, but we want the audience to cry with us as they feel the emotions. We commit ourselves to a lot of conditioning to train our bodies physically so we can project louder and hold our breaths for longer periods. We practice every morning and a lot after school to get our choreography together and make the best performance possible.”
The meaning of the song PFC performs is their unique edge when competing. Drawing an emotional response from the audience and judges helps the A Cappella group shed a new light on the purpose of their performance.
“We perform songs from Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor,” said Margaret. “Songs like ‘Eet’ engage the audience and have a meaning that most other pieces lack.”
Texas is now growing in A Cappella popularity, in comparison to other states with active A Cappella groups who compete for titles year round. A Cappella instructors Ms. Griffith and Mr. Woodward work intensively with the group to condition vocal ensembles and choreography into near perfection. Several training exercises, such as ballet and P-90 X, are practiced to condition the group’s voices and diaphragms for clarity and pitch.
“There’s a balance of choreography and singing rehearsals that the students commit to” said A Cappella instructor Ms. Griffith. “The singing is the most important aspect to the entire performance. If some of the piece isn’t good, then the rest of the performance will lack.”