May 7, 2004

Chordials Compete

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The Chordials, one of the handful of co-ed a capella groups on Cornell’s campus, proved their pipes by garnering third place at the recent International Championships of Collegiate A Capella in New York City.

This was the group’s fourth trip to the ICCA in four years, and by far their best finish, said Musical Director Rob Shapiro ’04. They advanced to the finals, held on April 25 at Town Hall in New York City, after taking first place in the ICCA Northeast semifinals in Albany earlier this spring.

The Chordials and the groups with whom they competed at Town Hall played to a capacity crowd of approximately 2,000 spectators, making it the largest crowd that the Chordials have performed for, said Business Manager Jackie Pribil ’05.

“It was really an incredible experience for us,” Pribil said. Three hundred a capella groups auditioned for the ICCA competition, out of which 120 participated in the first round of performances, Shapiro said. The field was narrowed down to 36 for the semifinal round, and seven were selected to move on to the finals.

Groups from schools throughout the country, as well as Canada and Taiwan, tried out for the competition.

“Technically, we’re now the third best college a capella group in the world,” said Bridget Tracy ’05. “Although for the most part it was North America.”

The Chordials were in top form for the competition, Pribil said. “Our harmony was really good, and it felt great on stage” she said. It also helped that there were friends and family in the audience for support, Shapiro said. “Some of our alumni even came out” he added.

The group performed four songs in the competition, Tracy said, which included a capella arrangements of Tamia’s “Officially Missing You” and Boyz II Men’s “Please Don’t Go” as well as two songs from the Broadway musical production of The Lion King: “The Circle of Life,” and an African chant entitled “One By One.”

In addition to performing, members of the group do all of the musical arrangement for the songs that the Chordials perform, Pribil said. They have won several awards for their original arrangements, including recently Best Arranger, which went to Sam Coffin ’05 for his arrangement of Boyz II Men’s “Please Don’t Go,” Pribil said.

Besides producing innovative arrangements and tight harmonies, the Chordials complement their vocal virtuosity with original stomping and dance routines, Pribil said.

“We’re big on movements corresponding to sound,” Pribil said. “We did some stomp choreography last year, and we’ve recently been experimenting more with dance routines.”

For their last performance Pribil choreographed a “booty dance for the girls” she said.

The group, which was founded in 1997, is currently comprised of 16 members ranging from freshmen to graduate students.

In addition to the ICCA competition, on-campus concerts and arch sings, the group travels to other schools throughout the state, including recently the State Universities at Albany and Buffalo, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Pribil said.

The Chordials’ next concert, Cocktail Hour VII, will be held this Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Statler Auditorium.

Archived article by Matt Tompkins
Sun Staff Writer