The members of Vital Signs had a “Pitch Perfect” moment at the International Collegiate Competition for A Cappella (ICCA), placing third in the quarterfinals. 

Though Vital Signs is Elon University’s newest coed a cappella group, they decided to take a risk, apply for the experience and learn how the competition works.

A cappella groups will come from colleges and universities all over the world to attend the ICCA. To be accepted into the competition, the a cappella groups were required to send a 12-minute video of the group singing three or four songs. 

According to senior Nathan Pool, president of Vital Signs, around 500 a cappella groups submitted their videos, but only 200 were accepted to participate in
the competition. 

Since so many groups are competing in the ICCA, the event is broken down into smaller competitions. 

The a cappella groups whose videos were accepted during the deliberation period will sing in certain competitions depending on their region and compete in the quarterfinals. 

Once the quarterfinals are over, the top two groups of each region go on to the semifinal. After the semifinal, the top two groups overall compete in the finals to determine the winner.

At the quarterfinals, Vital Signs sang “Hello” by Adele, followed by “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges and closed their performance with “Our Own House” by MisterWives. But they did not compete in North Carolina. 

“We actually had a last-minute change of plans with the ICCA’s, because originally we were set to compete on Feb. 20, but we’re actually hosting a benefit concert that weekend for Make-A-Wish Foundation,” said junior Becca Johnson, treasurer of Vital Signs. 

Since the concert had been planned for months, Vital Signs explained their predicament to ICCA and were given the opportunity to perform in Florida.

Though they didn’t place first, the Vital Signs members were able to learn more about how a competition is organized. Since this is the first competition they have competed in, they did not go in with the mentality of placing. 

But, they ended up surprising themselves. 

“We knew that we had everything in line and we spent hours every night rehearsing leading up to the competition weekend, but we weren’t even really expecting to place,” said senior Nic Nelson, music director for Vital Signs. “We just wanted to go and just do it for the experience and have fun. So when we did find out that we placed, we were really excited.” 

Going to the ICCA’s did not only get Vital Signs third place in the quarterfinals: it also allowed the group to broaden their range
of singing.

“For me it just put everything in perspective because as an Elon a cappella group we get in a habit of singing for Elon and singing in this bubble area,” said junior Matthew Crumpton, business manager for Vital Signs. 

It also allowed the group to compare themselves to a cappella groups outside of Elon.

“We always try to make the arrangement as interesting as we can so you find something new every time, and it keeps its energy up throughout the time that we perform it and it never gets to a point where we are just in autopilot,” Nelson said. “When we are singing we don’t want that, because then you lose the feeling and the connection with
the audience.” 

After this experience, the Vital Signs members are planning to apply what they have learned when they create arrangements in the future.

“We couldn’t really gauge a level of where we are music-wise, and going out into a different area and being recognized for that was just absolutely incredible,” Pool said. “It put everything in perspective and it gave me a lot of hope and a lot of faith in us.”