Pitt a cappella group snags second place at quarterfinals competition


Courtesy of Pittch Please

By Emily Brindley / Culture Editor

Pitt’s all-male a capella group, Pittch Please, took the stage over the weekend with song choices as wide-ranging as their vocals.

At a quarterfinal competition for Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, Pittch Please sang Andy Grammer’s peppy “Good to be Alive” and James Arthur’s slow-burning “Train Wreck.”

Repeating last year’s ranking, Pittch Please again took a second-place win in quarterfinals, earning them a spot in semifinals and a chance to sing their way to finals in New York City.

Pitt groups make up five of the 367 competing a cappella groups in this year’s ICCA. Each of the 367 groups first competes in a quarterfinal competition within its region, and the top two groups from each competition advance to semifinals. The nine winning groups at semifinals advance to finals in New York, along with one “wild card” group.

Judges choose the wild card group from among the second and third place groups at semifinals.

Two of the Pitt groups — Pittch Please and C Flat Run — competed at the quarterfinals in Ithaca, New York, on Feb. 18. Pittch Please trailed first-place winner IC Voicestream from Ithaca College by 42 points.

Pittch Please also won the Outstanding Soloist special award for Maurice Goodwin and Danny Mayhak’s performance in “Train Wreck.”

Courtesy of Pittch Please
Courtesy of Pittch Please

Zach Donovan, a sophomore computer science and jazz studies major as well as the music director for Pittch Please, said the group was excited but not entirely surprised to place second in quarterfinals.

“I think we knew that our group really had the potential to place,” Donovan said. “[But] it was obviously a pleasant surprise — the quarterfinal we were put into had a lot of talented groups.”

During Pittch Please’s first year as an official student organization in 2015, the group placed first at their quarterfinals for the Great Lakes region. The next year, Varsity Vocals reslated Pittch Please to the Central Region, and they took second place at their quarterfinals.

As second-place winners this year, Pittch Please will advance to the ICCA semifinals in Buffalo, New York, on March 25. Then, if the group either wins their semifinals competition or gets selected as the wild card group, they’ll perform in New York City’s Beacon Theater on April 22.

The remaining three Pitt groups who have not yet competed in quarterfinals — Pitches & Tones, Sounds Like Treble and The Songburghs — will compete March 4, at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall.

Donovan said the judges at the quarterfinal competition gave Pittch Please notes on their music and choreography, which the group will use to improve their performance before the next level of the competition.

“We’re going to take a couple weeks and kind of rework the set and once we get back from spring break we’re going to start rehearsing,” Donovan said. “We’re taking the recommendations of the judges to change around a couple things to really make a strong set for semifinals.”

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