Pitches & Notes, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s only competitive treble a cappella group, placed first at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) on April 23 in New York City. Pitches & Notes made history as the first group from the Great Lakes to ever win finals and the first treble a cappella group to win in 15 years.
Winning the final ICCA competition was an accomplishment felt by every member involved.
“Immediately after our name was called, we were in shock. I think I still haven’t really come to terms with the fact that we won,” new member Sophie Jester told The Cardinal. “The moment was surreal; seeing everyone’s excited, emotional faces while we shuffled towards the trophy is something I’ll never forget.”
The final round consisted of nine teams competing from all over the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Pitches & Notes brought home the gold with a total of 368 points, followed by The Harvard Opportunes in second place and in third, UCLA’s ScatterTones.
The point system was determined by five judges who awarded points based on visual and music components from a scale of one through 10. There is also a subjective ranking where judges rank performances by first, second or third based on their best judgment. Jester explained that the judges’ highest and lowest scores are dropped, so only the three middle scores remain.
“Our group scored well in rhythmic accuracy, interpretation, dynamics, tone and balance,” Jester said. “For visual performance, we scored well in visual cohesiveness, energy and stage presence and effectiveness of presentation. I think our unique set created a story that judges thought ‘[felt] so cohesive and purposeful.’”
Not only did Pitches & Notes win the entire competition, but lead choreographer Elise Schroeder also received a Special Award for Outstanding Choreography based on the group’s performance of “Animal” by AURORA.
“I think one of the most compelling pieces of our performance was our choreography because it reflected the meanings of our songs, which allowed us to stay on top of dynamics and emotions,” Jester said. “Schroeder, along with our music directors Chlo Baumbach and Rose Mochalski, are a huge reason why we made it this far.”
Schroeder also won best choreography at the a cappella group’s quarterfinal, semifinal and final competitions.
Pitches & Notes worked incredibly hard to advance to the final round of the competition in New York. Jester reflected on how it felt to walk the stage at Town Hall.
“Walking out onto the stage knowing it would be the last time we performed our set made our performance full of emotion and enthusiasm,” she said. “We really put everything into this set, and the seniors went above and beyond to make sure the experience was the most fulfilling. I am just so proud of our group and what it means to be a treble a cappella group.”
Check out Pitches & Notes performance that placed them in first at the ICCA final competition.
This article was updated at 9:07 a.m. on Monday, May 2 to reflect that The Harvard Opportunes placed second and UCLA's ScatterTones placed third.