March madness is in full throttle and the Chorallaries of MIT are vying for the a cappella national crown. After winning the quarter-finals of the international championships, the singing group will compete in the semi-finals on Saturday, March 22 at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.
"We're incredibly excited to be singing at home in Kresge," said group director Emily Vincent, a junior in electrical engineering and computer science. "We also feel we have a leg up because we've sung in Kresge and know the auditorium."
The 15-member (eight men and seven women) ensemble, earned its spot in the semi-finals by beating five other Northeast teams at the ICCA quarter-finals March 1 in Chicopee, Mass.
As required by contest rules, they'll perform the same three songs that won March 1, each of which also won an individual award. Junior Bo Kim took best solo for "1000 Oceans" (originally by Tori Amos). "Wherever You Will Go" (originally by The Calling) won best arrangement, and sophomores Leah Premo and Emily Vincent won a judges' discretionary award for best duet for The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men." In addition, the entire group got a discretionary award for "best transitions" for the skits between songs. (In an earlier round, graduate student Mike Stevens of the MIT/Wellesley Toons, won the award for Best Vocal Percussion.)
The Chorallaries will compete against Brandeis, Northeastern, two Boston University groups and Amherst College.
"They're all fantastic," said Dan Bersak, who was awarded the S.B. in humanities and engineering last month. He hopes for a large turnout of MIT fans, hoping to influence the judges with a powerful audience reaction. "Packing the house with fans would give us a greater chance of being able to represent MIT at the national level in New York," said Bersak.
Group members postponed their spring break vacations in exchange for a rigorous rehearsal schedule--three hours each night, Sundays to Thursdays since the end of February. The extra rehearsals "represent a huge effort and a tangible hit to most of our GPAs," said Bersak.
The finals for the grand championship will be held in New York on April 26.
Tickets for the March 22 event are $8 ($5 for students) and are available through http://www.varsityvocals.com/icca/shows.html or at the door.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 19, 2003.