Inside Rensselaer
* Rusty Pipes To Host International Championship of A Cappella at EMPAC
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The Rusty Pipes is one of four a capella singing groups at Rensselaer.
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Supercomputing: Celebrating the CCNI
For one evening, the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) Concert Hall will be filled with the sound of eight collegiate a cappella groups belting out contemporary, pop, hip hop, rock, alternative, and country tunes. The groups will be participating in the Varsity Vocals International Championship of A Cappella Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal competition event on Feb. 21 beginning at 8 p.m. The event is hosted by Rensselaer’s a cappella group the Rusty Pipes, who are also scheduled to compete.

The history of a cappella dates back more than a century. “Cappella” is the Italian word for chapel, and “a cappella” means “chapel/choir-style.” In the early days of the European Christian tradition, musical instruments were not allowed in the church. In modern usage, a cappella often refers to an all-vocal performance of any style, including barber shop, doo wop, and modern pop/rock.

The event is the only international tournament that showcases the art of student a cappella singing. The program includes both the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), and both are dedicated to providing top-notch a cappella groups with feedback from qualified judges, according to the Varsity Vocals organization.

Each year, the tournament takes place from January through April in six regions: West, Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and Europe. Each region holds several quarterfinal events. The top two college groups at each quarterfinal advance to college semifinals, and the top high school group advances to high school semifinals. The winner of each semifinal is invited to participate in finals, held in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, where they will compete for cash prizes and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Other participating groups hail from Drew University, SUNY Postdam, the University at Buffalo, Rutgers University, Binghamton University, and the University of Maryland. During the judges’ deliberations, Rensselaer’s a cappella group the Rensselyrics will provide entertainment. Also, Duly Noted, a newly formed all-male group, has volunteered to assist as event ushers.

This is not the Rusty Pipes’ first foray to ICCA. The group has qualified as semifinalists in the annual competition on more than one occasion. Beyond the competition, during Rensselaer’s winter break, members of the Rusty Pipes group took some time out to hit the road for their annual winter tour. The 20-member group performed in several New Jersey, Connecticut, and Long Island schools last month. The Rusty Pipes were formed almost 12 years ago by Adam Biegeleisen ’99, Elyse Shapiro ’99, and Sam Beroz ’99.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 2, February 13, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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