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by Jade Wainwright

Dagbreek performing in the SU Acapella 2023 competition. Photo: Kris Bence

While you may hear the word “acapella” and internally cringe, remembering that one kid who really overdid it with the cup song after Pitch Perfect was released, imagine instead a better picture that may set your mind at ease: a music-filled night at the Conservatory on Victoria Street. Surrounded by the rich history and even richer acoustics of the Endler Hall, the SU Acapella 2023 competition has been about coming together in a show of unity while celebrating SU tradition.

Soulful and powerful, many of the SU Residences took to the stage in full force during the semifinals on 8 and 9 August. In a spectacular display of energy, talent and standing ovations, Endler Hall came alive with vibrant sound, so much so that the passion was almost palpable. 

Featuring a diverse array of genres and languages throughout the competition, a large emphasis was placed on producing a proudly South African feel, mixed with that good old Matie spirit. It’s not hard to see why. After all, where else would you be able to watch a group start soulfully with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and somehow end up dancing to “Sister Bethina”? 

With auditions taking place way back in March and an Acapella camp mid-year, this has no doubt been an extraordinary journey for the participating groups. Dylan Lee, head of the Simonsberg Group and 3rd time performer, remarked on his team’s hard work during their intense rehearsals but also on their main intention. “If it sounds good, if it sounds bad, we’re just there for a good time,” Lee stated while elaborating on how the competition has created an established space for men in residences to have fun, express their most authentic selves and, as he put it, “just sing.” 

Head judge Merna Nicholls, along with her fellow judges Jerobiam Julies, Blaine Josephs and Jade Paige, remarked on the competition so far and the success of the semifinals. “You feel like you grow with the groups,” Josephs commented as the judges mentioned how fantastic it was to watch the performers improve over the course of the competition and implement the advice that was given to them. 

The judges additionally commented how amazing it was to watch the groups participate in the acapella tradition in new and exciting ways. They “[brought] it back alive,” Paige stated, as they reminisced on their own days of singing acapella. 

The competition will ultimately culminate on 19 August where the teams Sonop, Osloff, Simonsberg, Aristea, Metanoia, Eendrag, Nemesia, Hippoyini and Dagbreek will battle it out in the final round. With the title of ‘winner’ bestowed only unto one, the groups will have to be in top form. Some would even say they’d have to be pitch perfect.

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