PLUtonic took home the top prize from this month’s regional International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) competition, and HERmonic placed second. Both groups will advance to the semifinal competition in Los Angeles this April.
“It was pretty crazy,” PLUtonic president, senior John Marzano, said. “We knew we did really well as soon as we walked off the stage, but knowing that the judges saw it was great.”
The president of HERmonic, senior Marina Pitassi, had a similar reaction. “We feel so blessed that we placed. All the girls just kind of came together and stepped it up for the competition,” Pitassi said. “We were so happy to have the guys there with us, our brothers in PLUtonic. It was so amazing to see them win, to share that.”
PLU swept the competition, grabbing not only first and second place, but two of three individual awards as well. Sophomore Sascha Julian won Outstanding Soloist for her two Beyoncé songs, “Independent Woman” and “Love On Top,” and senior Julian Reisenthel won Best Arrangement for his arrangement of “Some Nights,” “We Are Young” and “Beautiful.”
“The award doesn’t mean as much to me as HERmonic advancing to the second round,” Julian said. “It was a great individual achievement, but I’m more excited for what we can accomplish in LA.”
Both groups are already looking ahead to the competition in Los Angeles. “I’m nervous and prepared,” HERmonic member, first-year Megan Zink said. “I’m definitely nervous, but it’s good. Nervousness makes you more prepared, and it makes you do a lot better on stage.”
PLUtonic expressed confidence as well. “I’m sure we’re going to practice like, every day leading up to it,” PLUtonic member , senior Daniel Frerichs, said. “Just keep running our set until we get so comfortable with it that it doesn’t matter that we’re in front of an audience or judges, because it’s just us doing our thing.”
Even through the excitement and nerves, both groups are aware of what their winning streak and the potential to move on in the competition mean for PLU.
“No matter how big or small, I think it’s a big thing to be a part of PLU’s success and represent them in a big way,” HERmonic vice president, senior Hannah Voss, said. “It just shows that PLU is awesome and HERmoinc and PLUtonic are really ready to show ourselves and what we can do.”
However, the groups said the biggest thing to come out of the competition was the feeling of community and belonging that members felt.
Before HERmonic went on stage, they had a “little circle time” during warm ups. “We had a moment to edify each other with words of encouragement that were really awesome,” Voss said. “I think that was the point during the day where there was an extra closeness.”
The ICCA West Region semifinals will take place at the University of Southern California on April 6 at 7 p.m.