University of Miami’s own a cappella group BisCaydence smashed the competition at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella the ICCA South Quarterfinal on Jan. 27. Not only did BisCaydence win first-place with a score of 444/465, the group won every special category award available to competitors: Outstanding Choreography (Anna Park, sophomore, Maia Mulcahy, junior, Nathan Fox, junior and Jackie Rodriguez, senior), Arrangement (Kent Barnhill, senior and Matt Gagnon, sophomore), Soloist (Jillian Hobaica, freshman) and Vocal Percussion (William Ahlemeier, senior).
Two other UMi a cappella groups, Phoenyx and Above the Keys, also competed in the south quarterfinal. Phoenyx singer Devin Weitz, sophomore, took home an Outstanding Vocal Percussion award. Above the Keys did not place or receive special category recognition.
The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, or ICCA, brought to pop culture awareness by the “Pitch Perfect” film series, is a bracket-system competition for collegiate a cappella groups composed of quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. A total of 450 groups from universities across the United States and the United Kingdom compete for a slot in the finals, held in April in New York City. BisCaydence topped seven other groups in the south quaterfinal.
Since BisCaydence won first place in the South Quarterfinal, it will advance to the region’s semifinal, held March 31 in North Carolina.
“This is the first time in BisCaydence history that we have placed first at an ICCA quarterfinal,” said Amanda Davidson, senior and co-business manager of the group. “It was also our first time winning awards in every special category … I joined this group as a freshman, and it’s been unbelievable watching our growth over the years. I never would have imagined we’d get this far in such a short amount of time.”
BisCaydence was founded in 2011 at the University of Miami and has since performed at a Florida Panthers game, opened for Jay Leno and held joint concerts with other collegiate a cappella groups, including the Yale Whiffenpoofs and the Vanderbilt Melodores. The group placed second in ICCA quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017, qualifying them to compete in regional semifinals those years as well.
“Two years ago, I competed in ICCAs with BisCaydence,” said Will Ahlemeier, a senior finance major and beat boxer for BisCaydence. “At that time, the group was at a collective loss for what separates good a cappella from great a cappella. Since then, we have worked tremendously hard, tinkering with how to communicate more effectively and elicit stronger emotions with our music. Last weekend’s win means so much to me because it was the culmination of a massive effort from the entire group.”
BisCaydence released its first album, “Against the Current,” in 2017 on Spotify and SoundCloud. You can follow the group on Facebook and Twitter @biscaydence or on Instagram @biscaydenceum. Catch BisCaydence live on March 22 in their joint concert with the Tufts Beelzebubs.