Third time’s a charm for UW a capella

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Third time really is a charm for the University of Waterloo a cappella groups, with the Intentional Accidentals (IA) recently snagging ninth place at the International Competition for Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA).


IA competed alongside The Water Boys and Unaccompanied Minors, making it the third time UW has sent an a cappella group to the ICCAs.


“There was no hostility; I wanted the other groups to do well and they wanted us to do well,” said Elise Brisson, known as the voice of IA, and former member of the Unaccompanied Minors.


The elimination began long before the actual competition, with roughly 400 a cappella groups worldwide having sent in application videos in order to be able to be considered for the competition.


Having placed second in quarter-finals, IA then travelled to University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor to compete in the semifinals for the Great Lakes Region. Here they placed third, landing them one of 12 spots in the wildcard round against the second and third place teams from the five other regions.


The winning group for this round would then move on to the finals in New York City. Unfortunately, IA fell just one step short of making this dream a reality, placing second in the wildcard round and awarding them ninth place overall.


“We worked really hard last year, but we were disappointed by our results. We learned a lot about how we could improve and we tried to bring all that knowledge with us to this round of competition,” said king of the IA Exec, Sam Bartel.


“It’s definitely really satisfying to work really, really hard at something and then see good things happen,” added Brisson.


However, their achievements didn’t end there. Brisson was named best soloist for her rendition of “Skyfall,” alongside Bartel, who won the best arrangement award for the group’s version of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons.


“Of the songs that I’ve arranged, I really look to the lyrics for inspiration for how I want to build the cords and how I want things to sound,” said Bartel.


“The general vibe of IA is sort of dark and badass,” commented Brisson.


“And sexy,” added Bartel, laughing.


With many members recently graduated this term, IA is still unsure whether they will be handing the reigns off to younger members to continue on or heading in a more semi-professional direction themselves with their current members.


“Personally, I’m so pleased with how well we’ve done this year so I think it’s sort of nice to say we gave it our best shot and we did very well, let’s just leave it at that and move on to other things and be proud of what we’ve done,” said Brisson.


Bartel is also looking forward to touring this summer with the recently-formed a capella boy band known as The Barometer Boys.


“We’re definitely not giving up the dream, but we’re seeing where it takes us,” said Brisson.