Cadence reflects on high notes after a capella championship trip

Cadence A Capella might not have placed at their recent competition, but those involved in the student organization say they feel the trip was a high note. (Sarah Millard | Collegian Media Group)

Cadence A Cappella, Kansas State University’s only all-male a cappella group, recently returned from the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Southwest Quarterfinal, which was held earlier in February in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In the group’s 21-year history, this is the second time ever competing in the ICCA event for Cadence.

Although Cadence did not place, members said it was an overall positive experience for the group.

Michael Duncan, junior in theatre and first-year member of Cadence, said the competition was a great opportunity to network with other a cappella groups throughout the region.

Cadence promotes a sense of true camaraderie and brotherhood among its group members, Duncan said. It is a relatively small group, featuring only 17 members.

As a student-led group, Cadence prides itself on its relatively casual, relaxed atmosphere. They rehearse four times a week for an hour Monday through Thursday.

While that may sound like a stressful time commitment, group members don’t see it that way.

“When it gets really stressful, people are like, ‘Oh, I get to go hang out with Cadence at 5:30 … and spend an hour creating some awesome music,’” Sterling Oliver, senior in theatre, said.

Nils Peterson, senior in computer science, echoed Olivier’s sentiment: “Having that time during the week is always a fantastic way to get away from school work … and sing,” Peterson said.

A strong musical background, while helpful, is not a requirement to be a member. Both Peterson and Oliver participated in choirs and musicals in high school, but Duncan participated in primarily theatrical events before joining the group.

Cadence draws members from all academic disciplines; the group features a variety of students across majors, including engineering, graphic design, education and theatre.

Auditions require students to submit two contrasting songs. If the group has more auditions than spots, they get a callback, where potential members then sing with the group.

While Cadence is an entirely student-led organization, Oliver said they do have a faculty advisor, but function independently for tasks such as concert planning or music selection and arrangement.

The members of Cadence A Cappella practice one of their songs together during a rehearsal on Feb. 27. (Sarah Millard | Collegian Media Group)

This year for the first time in Cadence history, all of the music was arranged in-house.

“It’s nice to be independent, it gives us a chance to broaden our horizons … and do some of the more ridiculous stuff we do,” Oliver said.

Cadence performances are nothing like most traditional choir concerts. Often the members perform dressed in bizarre outfits, with theatrical elements in addition to the singing. Oliver said the group’s goal for concerts is to provide the audience with something fun to relieve the stresses of school and college life in general.

Benton Van Der Wege, senior in mechanical engineering, said the group has provided him with lasting memories and friendships. Peterson agreed, adding that Cadence has remained a constant in the ever-changing world of college.

Cadence’s spring concert will be held on May 10. Their music is also available on Spotify by searching “Cadence a Cappella.”