West A Cappella Groups Place in Top Three at ICHSA Competition


Instagram: nwechoeffect, nw.tonaleclipse, nwhighfidelity

Group members of A Cappella Groups Echo Effect, Tonal Eclipse, and High Fidelity.

By Razina Ahmed, Academics Editor

Niles West, A Cappella groups, Echo Effect, Tonal Eclipse, and High Fidelity placed in the top three at the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA). The all-male Acappella group Echo Effect took 1st place at the 2021 Great Lakes Quarterfinal 1. Premier co-ed group Tonal Eclipse won 2nd place at the Great Lakes Quarterfinal 4, and the all-female group High Fidelity won 3rd place at the Great Lakes Quarterfinal 1.

The competitions featured over 3,000 performers in 193 groups from high schools across 30 states and two countries. Because the competition was held virtually, each group was challenged with creating a 4-minute video that is similar to the traditional competition setup. The all-male group, Echo Effect, created an arrangement for the songs “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, “Hard To Love” by Hamzaa, and “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd.

“The members of Echo Effect have truly impressed me this year by being resilient young men who pushed past all the uncertainty of the pandemic and made something beautiful that their community can be proud of. They took on the added elements of audio engineering and videography skillfully and dared to dream bigger and better. I am honored to coach such inspirational and intelligent guys. I am excited to move on to the next round with them as we attempt to refine our craft and make our community proud once again,” director of Echo Effect, Mr. Carl Alexander, said.

The process of going through a virtual competition for the group was met with both optimism and challenges. Jake Pranian, Vice President of Echo Effect and winner of the Outstanding Videography Award, described the video-making process that led to the award-winning final product.

“Mr. Alexander and I worked really closely when editing our final video. He had this vision of AJ (the main focus of our video) going through this fever dream after a stressful week of school work and reality. And through location/sets and fast-paced cuts, we did our best to convey that feeling of chaos while also being cohesive,” Pranian said. “And I could say that was the challenge, trying to make things flow naturally and to get people thinking. Our goal wasn’t necessarily handing the message to our audience on a silver platter, but it was to have people go back to the video again and point out the peculiar aspects of our video.”

Tonal Eclipse, Niles West’s co-ed acapella group, directed by Matthew Begale, placed 2nd in the Great Lakes Quarterfinal 1 for their arrangement of “Love Me Now” by John Legend and “Lost in Japan” by Shawn Mendes.

“I think what sets us apart is our group’s drive. We had to make time for longer rehearsals and re-recorded some to make sure everything was as good as we wanted it to be,” Naomi Greene, President of Tonal Eclipse and winner of the Outstanding Mix Award said. “Everything we did was a collaborative effort, and I think all working together really helped everyone in the group work as hard as they could.”

For Gabby Rogan, co-president of the Acappella group High Fidelity directed by Kaitlin Foley, the group’s 3rd place win at the Great Lakes Quarterfinal 1 was a huge accomplishment. The group’s arrangement featured songs “Broken Clocks” by SZA and “Wings” by Little Mix.

“I’m genuinely so proud of every single girl in our group and how far we have come this year. I was nervous to start the year online since we’ve never done anything like this before. Despite virtual obstacles, we were able to form really close bonds with each other and create meaningful work,” Rogan said. “As for the future after our win, we’re going to actually meet in person for the first time (in months) in the choir room next week! Although we won’t advance to the semifinals, we’re going to continue to make music and perform together before the seniors graduate.”

Congratulations to Echo Effect, High Fidelity, and Tonal Eclipse for their outstanding accomplishments!

The groups also won Special Awards at the competition, which can be found below:

Special Award – Outstanding Arrangement – Juan Crespo, Adrien Herrera, and Ian Soriano

Special Award – Outstanding Videography – Jake Pranian

Special Award – Outstanding Mix – Naomi Greene

Both Tonal Eclipse and Echo Effect will be advancing to the semifinals, and a link will be shared with students and staff for the live stream. You can find the links to watch their quarterfinal arrangements by clicking here: Echo Effect, Tonal Eclipse, and High Fidelity.