The future is paved with gold for Oakland University’s own a cappella group, Gold Vibrations, as it rides the momentum of a quarterfinal victory toward the semifinal competition.
On Jan. 21, Gold Vibrations won the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Great Lakes Quarterfinals, earning 443 points, with University of Illinois’ group, No Comment, trailing at 377 points.
The competition was held at University of Chicago’s Mandel Hall.
Brian Baylor of Gold Vibrations also nearly swept the special awards. Baylor won Outstanding Soloist, Outstanding Vocal Percussionist and Outstanding Arrangement. There were only four special awards given.
According to Varsity Vocals, Gold Vibrations took home the highest score among nine ICCA quarterfinal competitions, with one quarterfinal held for British universities as well.
Gold Vibrations’ president, journalism major Erin Ben-Moche, talked about the enthusiasm after winning the quarterfinal competition.
“It was nuts,” Ben-Moche said. “The fact that we were able to pull through and win was a really great feeling.”
She also described the goal of each practice session.
“We all have to work on our tone,” Ben-Moche said. “That way we have one voice, which is really difficult in a cappella because we don’t have any instruments, so we’re really relying on each other.”
William Raveau, Gold Vibrations’ music director, discussed his role in organizing a group of talented singers into what Ben-Moche described as “one voice.”
“It’s just about listening to the group and tweaking and listening and trying to make us sound as one as possible,” Raveau said. “I control the sound of the group and just make sure we’re telling the story we want to be telling.”
For a group like Gold Vibrations, nothing comes without hard work. The group practices for four hours a week, excluding the week directly before a competition, when they practice for eight hours.
“It really depends on what we need to work on,” Ben-Moche said, describing their practice sessions. “So, if there’s a song we really need to work on, we’ll work on it a couple times. Otherwise we’re memorizing a 12-minute set.”
There isn’t a moment wasted in practice. Each person is either watching the sheet music director or the music for a clear sense of direction.
Their focus is seamlessly translated into a full and impressive sound that might propel them to finals in New York City’s Beacon Theatre on April 22.
“We’re just looking at semifinals right now,” Ben-Moche said. “But if we do really well, we advance to the finals.”
Semifinals will be held March 4 at Roosevelt University’s Auditorium Theatre. Gold Vibrations’ performances from previous years can be found on YouTube.