Nor’easters Claim World Title in New York; Sons of Pitches Do Britain Proud

It was not the night the UK was hoping for at the Town Hall in New York City last night, as our boys from Birmingham took their jumpsuits and their incredible music to the States to compete against the very best from around the a cappella-crazy nation. While the seven men performed their hearts out to an adoring crowd, it wasn’t to be for them, as Northeastern University’s Nor’easters, who had performed strongly throughout the competition,took the title, and will be delighted to come away with the victory.

Also placing were previous Finalists The Chordials from Cornell University, and last years runners-up The Scattertones from UCLA, who repeated last years feat by coming second for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile, the Sons of Pitches were praised for providing ‘the first good dubstep breakdown of the night’, and must be credited for adapting well to the use of microphones that is required at these events.

Overall, the reception of our boys was great, and they must be praised for bringing British A Cappella at its best to the home of a cappella.

We will be providing a full review of the night via The A Cappella Blog in due course.


Sons of Pitches to Line Up Against America’s Best at ICCA Final in New York

With the ICCA Final in New York just days away, and Britain’s own Sons of Pitches leading the line from our side of the pond, we felt it prudent to provide our readers with the full line-up for the upcoming finals, to take place at the Town Hall in NYC on April 20th, this Saturday night, and assess the Sons’ chances of winning.

Here is the line-up in full:

ICCA Great Lakes Champions: The G-Men, University of Michigan
ICCA Northeast Champions: The Nor’easters, Northeastern University
ICCA South Champions: Reverb, Florida State University
ICCA West Champions: Scattertones, University of California, Los Angeles
ICCA Midwest Champions: No Comment, University Of Illinois Champaign-Urbana
ICCA Mid-Atlantic Champions: The Chordials, Cornell University
ICCA International Wildcard Champions: The Sons of Pitches, University of Birmingham, UK
ICCA National Wildcard Champions: The Beltones, Belmont University

The G-Men

Semi-Final: 1st place (423pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (358pts)

Established in 1995, The G-Men have only really made a splash on the ICCAs in the past couple of years – in 2011, they missed out on qualification for the final by a single point, while they reached the semi-finals last year too. Short for ‘The Gentlemen’, they are an all-male group known for their ‘biceps, obsession with puppies, and rocking audiences with the power of 100 raging buffalo.’ Having stepped up their game significantly in the semi-final, adding nearly 70 points to their quarter-final points tally, they will be hoping to further improve on that in their first ever final.

Watch Out For…
Brendan Asante, their soloist on Kimbra’s Settle Down, which won ‘Outstanding Soloist’ at both the quarters and the semis.

The Nor’easters

Semi-Final: 1st place (431pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (422pts)

The first mixed-group of the final, the Nor’easters were established in 1997, and have come even closer to the Final than the G-Men in the past couple of years, having come second in the National Wild Card Round on two consecutive occasions in 2011 and 2012. They will be delighted to reach their first final after two hugely impressive Regional performances, and with some of the highest scores of all the groups competing, they will definitely feel confident of placing in the top three, if not winning the entire competition.

Watch Out For…
Shams Ahmed has won two ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ awards, one at the semi-final for Wrong Side of a Love Song and the other at the quarters for the entire set. Expect to be blown away by their arrangements.


Semi-Final: 1st place (403pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (426pts)

Two-time unplaced semi-finalists, Reverb are Florida State’s only all-male a cappella group and, like the previous two acts, are having their most successful competitive season yet. A relatively new group, founded in 2006, they have typically won awards for arranging in their two previous successful years, in 2009 and last year. With two 400+ scores in the Regionals, they will also feel like they have a solid foundation to go on – if they can perform to their best, they too could be challenging for the top three.

Watch Out For…
Another group with an exceptional talent for arranging, their entire set won ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ at both the quarters and the semis – credit to duo David Ko and Skipper Stradtman for that. Arrangements seem to be key this year, and this group seems to be best placed to capitalise on that.


Semi-Final: 1st place (437pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (412pts)

Competing in their second successive final, the Scattertones are surely considered the favourites to win this year’s competition, having beaten All the King’s Men into second place last year, falling just short of perennial rivals the SoCal VoCals. Founded in 2002, the co-ed group have a rich history in the ICCAs, having made the semi-finals three times before their unexpected triumph over the SoCal VoCals in the West Semi-Final last year that saw them through to the Final. With two exceptionally high scores in the Regionals again this time around, you’d have to say it will take something special to beat this lot.

Watch Out For…
Their cover of Coldplay’s Paradise, which won them not only ‘Outstanding Arrangement’ at the Quarter-Finals, but also ‘Outstanding Soloist’ – definitely a lynchpin of their successful set.

No Comment

Semi-Final: 1st place (No Data Available)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (423pts)

A group with relatively small history in the ICCAs in past years, this co-ed group have found their rhythm this year to reach their first semi-final, let alone first final. Their lack of experience at this level of competition may hinder them, but having been founded in 2004, they are no strangers to collegiate a cappella and racked up an impressive score in the Quarter-Finals, picking up several awards en route to the final. Dark horses, perhaps, but will undoubtedly be in with a shot.

Watch Out For…
Kelsey Stanker, their soloist on Breathe Again, who picked up the ‘Outstanding Soloist’ award at both the quarters and the semis.

The Chordials

Semi-Final: 1st place (366pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st (393pts)

Founded in 1997, Cornell University’s co-ed Chordials do have previous Final experience, having placed third way back in 2004. While none of the members from that successful year remain, the current group will surely have drawn upon the experiences of that incarnation of the group to help them to prepare for this year’s Final. With some of the lowest scores from the Regionals, they will need to step up their game slightly if they are to challenge to other groups, but with appearances of BOCA in 2006 and 2010, they could well be in with a shot.

Watch Out For…
Jay Grollman, who takes the solo on Lies, who won ‘Outstanding Soloist’ at both the Quarter- and Semi-Finals.

The Beltones

Wild Card Round: 1st place (381pts)
Semi-Final: 2nd place (391pts)
Quarter-Final: 1st place (395pts)

Perhaps the most consistent group this year, The Beltones are the national wild card entry, having been beaten by Reverb in the Semi-Final at Vanderbilt University. However, last year, the SoCal VoCals came through the Wild Card Round to win the competition, so the mixed-voice group will take heart from last year’s winners. The youngest group in the final, founded just in 2009, this is their first real stab at the ICCAs and it has been a thoroughly successful debut – whether they can go one step further and win the thing remains to be seen.

Watch Out For…
Their choreography, which picked up the ‘Outstanding Choreography’ award in the Quarter-Finals for the entire set.

So there we have it – the line-up that will be facing The Sons of Pitches in the Final this weekend. How do you rate the boys’ chances of success? Have your say in the comments below.