Ramifications perform at a cappella competition

Courtesy+of+Betelhem+Gemechu
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Ramifications perform at a cappella competition

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

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The Suffolk University Ramifications performed at the 20th annual a Cappella Competition at Faneuil Hall Marketplace this past weekend, where 49 of New England’s best a cappella groups competed for cash prizes and the winning title.

The 14 members of the Ramifications took the stage and sang their arrangement of two Adele songs, “River Lea” and “Hello.” Opening with “River Lea,” the soloist Lyndsay Bianco, impressed the judges with her solid mezzo-soprano tonality, along with rest of the team’s emotive sound quality. Unfortunately the Ramifications did not place at this years competition. The results were announced Monday. Soloist Torielle Connor lead “Hello” strongly as her voice crescendoed angelically as other members added in a progressive tempo. Connor Milligan, a beat boxer for the group carried out a steady charismatic rhythm throughout both songs.

Bianco, a senior film major and the business manager of Ramifications was pleased with the team’s performance as whole, especially since the group had only two months to rehearse before the competition.

“I think it went a lot better than expected,” said Bianco in a post-show interview with The Journal.

This was Bianco’s fourth time competing with the Ramifications at the annual competition and she enjoys meeting all of the different teams that hail from various schools in the New England area. Most of the Ramifications’ song arrangements are student created, but they also enlist Adam Levine who helps them arrange their music, as well as music directors junior Merin English and senior Ammi Hosur. Bianco believes that the many voices of the group is beneficial when creating an a cappella arrangement because it allows for a constant flow of ideas. When finding the emotional level of their arrangement the Ramifications focus mainly on the lyrics.

“We sit down and listen to the lyrics. We talk about what it means to us, said Bianco. “That’s the thing that we work really hard on because we can sometimes just go into autopilot, you just really have to pay attention to the lyrics and the dynamics.”

The Ramifications have a tight bond, according to Bianco. She sees everyone as members of her family, which she said can occasionally cause challenges in focusing on the preparation for a competition.

“Once our song’s locked in and we have that one good run, you feel like you’re in sync,” said Bianco.

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

Courtesy of Betelhem Gemechu

As far as getting nerves before performing, Bianco said that once they’re out there the adrenaline kicks in and they try to only focus on the tone and tempo of the song.

Sophomore business major, Kenji Dustin, sings tenor and baritone for the Ramifications and this was his second time performing at the competition. Compared to the Ramifications performances last year, Dustin thought the group had improved.

“I think it was a lot better. Last year we kind of got torn apart, as most groups do,” said Dustin.

His favorite part of this year’s arrangement was “Hello,” because of its slow start and infectious beat provided by Milligan. Dustin also mentioned that the Ramifications are like his family.

“It’s kind of like being on a sports team or something, we’re always together and hang out inside and outside of Rams, they’re definitely some of my best friends,” Dustin said.

Kane Harper, a sophomore theater major has been with the Ramifications since last spring. Before joining the Ramifications, Harper recollected hearing unfavorable reviews about the past performances of the Ramifications at this annual competition. Fortunately, the team redeemed itself this year.

“This year was the first year we did well and everyone was like ‘We never do well,’” said Harper. Although the Ramifications did not place in this years competition, Harper is still proud of the team for receiving positive feedback and making positive progress.

“We were really scared that we weren’t going to be remotely there,” said Harper. “People were threatening not to show up because they didn’t want to embarrass themselves.”

Schools who participated included Boston University, Brandeis University, New Hampshire University, Northeastern University, Boston College, Emerson College and many others from the New England region. The Nor’Easters of Northeastern University were the victor, with The BosTones from Boston University coming in second. The Nor’Easters received a cash prize of $1000 and The BosTones received $500 for placing second. These two groups were also awarded invitations to open for the performances of Straight No Chaser at the Wang Theater in late November, and VOCALOSITY at the Shubert Theater in late January. It has yet to be announced what group will open for which performance.

All of the teams brought a different sound and emotion to the competition based on their arrangements, which consisted of barbershop, jazz, R&B, classic and indie rock, country, pop, and rap. Songs such as “Sixty Minute Man” by Billy Ward and the Dominoes charmed the audience as the Heightsmen of Boston College sang this with dynamic flirtation and in tones that varied low tones. The New Hampshire University Notables sang “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood with rehearsed choreography and vocal ranges that portrayed the passionate aggression of the lyrics.

The 40 degree temperature, along with bone-chilling wind, did not discourage the multitude of spectators from sitting or standing in on this musical event. The audience exuberantly applauded and cheered on the team vocalists throughout the competition. Dick Doherty’s Comedy Den, which hosted the event, retained the crowd’s spirit through spry introductions of each team and entertaining “Pitch Perfect” trivia games during the competition’s intermission. Two of the judges of the competition, Heather Newkirk and Matthew Stoker, kept the congregation alive with their amusing conversational antics and positive critiques towards the vocalists of each performance.

Overall, the 20th annual A Cappella Competition was impressively sensational. The Ramifications, along with various other teams, all gave a successful performance. The next challenge for the Ramifications will be auditioning to compete in The Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) for 2017.

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