Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

Photo Credits: https://underarestwcu.com/awards.

Under A Rest performed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA), one of the Mid-Atlantic Region Quarterfinal rounds and earned first place at this round of the competition. Now the group is advancing to semifinals which occurs on March 25 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware.

The group also discussed how the movie series, “Pitch Perfect,is based off of this competition. The amalgam of choreography, music and even microphone etiquette is a true representation of how they are similar to one another.

“The overall experience was absolutely fantastic,” expressed Steven Kendikian, the Vice President and a representative of the Music Committee for the group. 

“We put so much hard work into this set, and we feel like that really paid off! We haven’t placed first at this competition since 2020, so it feels good to have gotten back into our groove! We really clicked as a unit for this competition and our bond is so much stronger for all of our teamwork.”

The group spent around 100 hours of rehearsal for this performance and according to them, they have a boot camp every winter break to learn their competitive set, and then they spend roughly four hours a week in preparation.

“It’s absolutely surreal to see how the conception of an idea can transform into a product others grow to love as well,” exclaimed Zachary Zajkowski, the President of the organization. 

“We really tried to take a risk this year by telling a story with songs many people probably haven’t heard of. On paper, we were not sure if our thematic concepts would be a success on the stage. Risks are not a force to deter one from an opportunity; rather, risks are an opportunity to show us just how much we want something. This year, our group did all we could to make a memorable product that we could cherish forever.”

As a way to prepare for this big occasion, the acappella group also mentioned how they opened for the Rockettes in New York City at Radio City Music Hall last semester. They even mentioned that prepping for this “really augmented our kinship in the group, and it really forced us to find our group sound quicker than most years.” 

Olivia Cappello, the Secretary and also a representative of the Music Committee for the group remarked, “this performance is like no other. As the choreographer, there’s nothing greater than seeing a vision come to life. The set is even better than I imagined and it’s all thanks to 15 incredibly talented people. There is no greater feeling than hearing your group’s name called at the end of the night. You could feel the love and happiness on the stage and that is a moment I will cherish forever. See you at Semis!”

Cappello also mentioned that, “for UAR, the day starts around noon as we head to Asplundh Concert Hall. The thrill of seeing the other groups for the first time is indescribable and that’s when the butterflies really start to kick in. After picking our number in the lineup we had our mic check….” 

She also talked about how they were the third to perform. Her favorite part is when she partakes in a tradition that the group upholds every year in which the team has dinner and everyone spends time together.

Christina Samar, the Music Director and Set Co-arranger, and Nile Gay, who is also a part of the Music Committee and the Set Co-Arranger, arranged and created the group’s performative pieces together. 

The group is also keeping certain parts of their performance private as a way to surprise their next audiences.

The University of Delaware’s MelUDees, another a capella group, happened to place second at the competition, and will also be advancing to the Mid-Atlantic semifinal round at The Grand Opera House on March 25 along with West Chester University’s team.


Sean Wattman is a second-year psychology major with a minor in journalism. SW970700@wcupa.edu.

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