Ramifications start 2011 off with high hopes

Ramifications+start+2011+off+with+high+hopes

On Tuesday, the Suffolk Ramifications, Suffolk’s A Cappella group, were busy practicing their mash-up performance of Mr. Postman, Beautiful Girls, and a solo rap adapted from a Lil Wayne song. Down the hallway from their rehearsal room, there was no way to tell that it was solely voices producing the elegant beats and sounds. Each voice was confident and polished, giving their routine a captivating strength and energy.

This year, under the new direction of Alfredo Austin, a member of the professional A Capella group “Overboard,” the group will be competing in the International Championships of A Cappella (ICCA), in February. But besides this exciting event, they’ve recently received other honors as well. Their album has been nominated for Best Mixed Collegiate A Cappella Album of the Year, as well as Best Mixed Collegiate Solo, for Lisa Cronin’s rendition of “Ain’t No Other Man.” They round off their nominations with Best Mixed Collegiate Song, Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough.” Competing against UCLA, NYU, Duke, and Emory, they sent in their CD in the hope that their efforts would be recognized. The decisions will be made on April 1.

The ICCA is a six-region championship that takes place between January and April every year in the West, Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Europe. From the quarterfinals, the top two groups move on to the semifinals round, and the winner from the region travels to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts to compete in the finals for the title of Grand Champion.

“I think the competition is really going to push our group to a new level of excellence,” commented junior Bryan Pytka.

The Northeast region ICCA competition will take place on February 26 at Brown University, and the excitement is building as they get closer to the big competition. Laughter erupted from the close-knit group as one member blurted out, “And Emma Watson will be there!”

The group plans to sing a mash up of Mr. Postman, Lollipop, and Colorblind at the competition, and they’re currently working on their choreography. Many members quickly compared it to Glee, saying that it is not just the singing that earns them points. They are rehearsing three times a week to ensure that they will be ready when the big day comes.

“I’m not as scared anymore. Everyone reassured me there was no reason to be,” said Gabby Womack, one of the group’s four freshmen.

Although the group hasn’t performed in a competition like this since 2006, and none of the current members were in the group at the time, they are excited to compete. They previously placed second in the regional competition and are eager to showcase their skills.

“I think we have swag,” said sophomore Adam Shomer, “And we’re not very traditional and uniform. We’re diverse.”

But their “swag” is not the only thing that makes them special.

“We thrive off our individual style,” added junior Alex Ginsberg. “We’re really big on appearance.”

Despite bringing their own style to the table, the process of selecting songs to sing is a collaborative effort. The members bring in songs that they know they can sing, and the group votes for the ones they think would be performed well as a capella. Then they audition for the solo. Right now, they’re also working on senior songs. Seniors brought in ones they wanted to perform, and the director is currently putting in effort to arrange three or four of them.

The Ramifications are also hosting a festival on April 5. They will be inviting A Capella groups from different schools to come and perform at Suffolk in the C. Walsh Theater. There is a sense of community rather than competition between the schools in the area. They frequently invite each other to perform at their colleges.

“We’ll just invite people we’ve sung with before,” said senior and Music Director Kayla Hopkins.

The festival will be open to the public and is free admission for anyone wishing to attend.

Besides competitions and festivals, the group has gigs around the city of Boston where they sell their CDs. They recently had a performance in Duxbury, and they perform once every two to three weeks. All of their performances at Suffolk are free admission and their album is available through the Performing Arts Office.