NEW YORK CITY — Performing before a sold-out audience at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Brigham Young University’s premiere contemporary a cappella ensemble Vocal Point took first place at the finals of the 2006 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.
Vocal Point competed Saturday night, April 29th, against the winners of regional finals held across the US, Canada and Western Europe. Vocal Point won by a margin of nearly 60 points — its largest margin of victory in competition this year. Second place went the group Out of the Blue from Oxford University in England, and third place went to The Other Guys from the University of Illinois.
“We were just thrilled to make it here,” said Vocal Point member Jordan Keith. “It was an honor to share a stage with these other amazing groups. But winning is just unbelievable.”
In a random selection held before the show, Vocal Point drew the first performing slot, traditionally a difficult position in any competition since judges often forget the first competitors, no matter how good. The group’s performance, however, was memorable enough at Saturday’s competition that, after hearing all the competitors, four of the five judges ranked Vocal Point first place.
“It was an incredible night,” said Dave Boyce, who co-founded the group at BYU in 1991. “Obviously all the groups were good or they wouldn’t be here. But to be here in person and see Vocal Point win was a dream come true.”
The group’s 12-minute competition set began with an a cappella rendition of the “THX Sound Effect” familiar to movie-goers, followed by the “20th Century Fox Theme,” which gave their set a humorous yet vocally impressive start. Next was an energy-charged arrangement of the original Spider Man theme followed by “He Is Born,” a gospel ballad written by former Vocal Point member Aaron Edson. Vocal Point’s performance concluded with the swinging jazz standard “Sing, Sing, Sing.”
During the group’s introduction, the competition’s emcee introduced Vocal Point as “The nicest bunch of guys you’ll ever meet.”
Vocal Point has won the right to complete in the ICCA finals twice before. But in each case, the finals had been scheduled on a Sunday, and BYU has a long-standing policy of not allowing its athletic or performance groups to compete on that day. This year, however, the finals were on Saturday.
To qualify for the finals, Vocal Point had to win first place in both their quarterfinal and semifinal competition rounds. A total of seven groups qualified for the finals in a competition that started with a field of over 150 groups from around the world.
Vocal Point celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. The group is a part of the School of Music at Brigham Young University and one of 18 performing groups sponsored by the university. It is the most-requested performing group at BYU and regularly performs to sold-out crowds on and off campus. Members of Vocal Point devote 10-20 hours of time to the group each week. They do not receive scholarships or other compensation for their time.