SDSU a cappella group advances to semifinals

Soundwave+won+the+ICCA+quarterfinals%2C+including+three+personal+awards.

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Eugenio

Soundwave won the ICCA quarterfinals, including three personal awards.

by Ryan Hardison, Staff Writer

The group will be going to Arizona to continue the competition.

Following an impressive victory at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Southwest Quarterfinals, San Diego State’s a cappella group Soundwave is hoping to continue its successful season.

In addition to getting first place at the quarterfinals, Soundwave received three individual awards for their performance, winning Best Vocal Percussion, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Soloist.

This is Soundwave’s first time competing in the ICCA in the eight years it has been a group, proving they have made fast progress since their inaugural year in 2012. 

Electrical engineering sixth-year David Rakieten is the team’s beatboxer and the longest lasting member. Throughout his six years as the team’s “drumkit,” he’s seen a lot of changes in the group and is happy that the team has gotten closer.

“This year specifically what stood out to me was the insane commitment and low level of drama between each of the members,” Rakieten said.

At the quarterfinals, Rakieten won the award for Best Vocal Percussion for his role during Soundwave’s performance of “All For Us.” Rakieten sees this award as a testament to his growth as a beatboxer.

“It really made me happy because I’ve been at it for so long and it felt like I finally got some cool recognition,” Rakieten said.

Industrial organizational psychology graduate student Thaddeus Demeke is the team’s composer. Despite it only being his first year on the team, Demeke is the heart of each performance and is responsible for arranging the songs used in performances and assigning everyone’s parts. This responsibility includes deciding how many solos and songs to fit in the 12 minute competition setlists for the team’s 17 performers. 

As a newer a cappella performer, one thing Demeke loves about a capella is the effect their performances and his musical arrangements have on the audience.

“People can come together and create a nice, cohesive, really moving experience and connect with the audience emotionally,” Demeke said.

The team’s president, communications junior Ally Cease, had no prior a capella experience before auditioning for the group, though she did perform in choir and musical theater in high school. One factor that influenced her decision to join was the fun depiction of a capella in the popular “Pitch Perfect” movies, which helped give collegiate a cappella mainstream attention.

“I appreciate that it made a capella a much more household name, and showed that it’s a big thing at a lot of universities,” Cease said.

Cease said the group has made lots of progress this year and she is eager to see the team bond at the ICCA Semifinals.

“I’m excited to continue growing as a group, we’ve already come along way, see what we’ve got becoming closer with everyone,” Cease said. 

Despite the new heights the team has already reached, Rakieten believes the team hasn’t reached its ceiling yet, and the ICCA Semifinals will be their chance to get even better.

“These guys are so committed to what they do and so passionate so I can’t wait to see their growth,” Rakieten said.

Soundwave will be competing in the ICCA Semifinals in Phoenix, Arizona on March 28. 

If you are interested in joining Soundwave, they hold annual auditions for new members in the fall, usually in September.

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