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Vocal Point takes second at international collegiate a cappella contest

Performing before a sold-out audience at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Brigham Young University’s premier contemporary a cappella ensemble Vocal Point finished first runner-up at the finals of the 2011 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

Despite coming up just short for the overall award, Vocal Point did take top honors in several individual award categories. Sophomore Jake Hunsaker was recognized as Outstanding Soloist for his rendition of “Meglio Stasera (It Had Better Be Tonight),” a tune recently made popular by Michael Bublé. In addition, junior Tanner Nilsson received the award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion.

Vocal Point entered the finals as the top group in the West Region, having placed first in its quarterfinal and semifinal qualifying rounds held in Eugene, Ore., and Los Angeles, Calif., respectively. The finals featured the top seven qualifiers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Vocal Point was edged out by a group from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., known as Pitch Slapped. This year’s competition started with a field of more than 150 groups from around the world.

“Every group on stage tonight was amazing,” said Vocal Point director James Stevens. “We performed as well as we ever have. I’m proud of our guys for the way they represented BYU.”

Vocal Point won the ICCA championship in 2006. The group qualified for the finals on two prior occasions but was unable to compete because the final round at the time was held on a Sunday. This year marked the group’s second return to the championship round in New York.

“We’ll be back,” said senior McKay Crockett. “One of our goals every year is to make the finals. We’re thrilled to have made it this year, and it was an honor to share a stage with these other amazing groups.”

Vocal Point celebrated its 20th anniversary in March, complete with a reunion concert featuring 70-plus Vocal Point singers from 1991 to the present. The group’s two founders, Bob Ahlander and Dave Boyce, were in the audience Saturday night.

“This year has been real special for Vocal Point,” said Ahlander. “A month ago the original guys that started the group in 1991 got to sing together again, along with all the alumni through the years. Now we see the current group and how far they’ve come. It’s a thrill.”

Vocal Point is a part of the School of Music at BYU 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.

Photographs and video clips available upon request. Please contact Alex Leeman at (801) 628-3861 or alex.leeman@hotmail.com.

Writer: Alex B. Leema

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