The Accafellas Take on the National A Capella Semi-Finals

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By: Andrea Urban
Entirely East Lansing

For the first time since 2011, an East Lansing based group is headed to the a capella semi-finals to represent the Great Lakes region.

The independently run MSU student organization, the Accafellas, is a group of 10 guys who can sing a capella and put on a show.

After placing second in the quarter-finals of ICCA, the International Competition of Collegiate A capella, the Accafellas were able to move on to compete against eight other groups in the Great Lakes Region Semi-Finals on March 21. The location is undetermined.

ICCA is a worldwide competition; there are seven regions, 12 groups, in the U.S. that compete and one international group that also competes in the finals, which are held in New York City. If the Accafellas place first at semis then they are headed to New York.

“We are one of two all-male groups competing in the semi-finals. The rest of the groups are co-ed. The sets we perform are 12 minutes long and we will be performing three songs during the 12 minutes,” said the group’s president, Alan Good.

The newest member of the group, Andy Breitbarth, says he joined the Accafellas because he loves how unique an all-male sound is.

“I love how we are all bros, I am a big fan of the professional group Straight No Chaser and they are an all-male group, which I think is the main reason why I wanted to be apart of the Accafellas,” said Breitbarth.

Although the group is made up of men from many locations, several members that complete the Accafellas are from the mid-Michigan area. Connor Ralph, one of the main lead singers, is from Grand Ledge and Nitish Pahwa is from Haslett.

The Accafellas give every one of their members a solo for their concerts and the best, by a group decision, get to perform during the ICCA.

“We are not a selfish group in any way. We really want everybody to have their time to shine,” said Good. “What we do differently than any other group is that we let our members choose a song and then we arrange it, we don’t just arrange a song and tell them this is what you are singing.”

The Accafellas pride themselves on being a small group that focuses on the music and nothing else. They are the smallest A capella group in the area. This is the first year in the group’s history with a double-digit number of group members.

“We really try to focus on the music, we don’t blurt out random jokes,” said Good, “we really hone in on perfecting each song and that’s one of the reasons why we have made it to the semi-finals.”

The Accafellas need to place first in the semis to make it to the finals in New York, but before they worry about that their target goal is to master each song they perform.

Their set for semi-finals will consist of “Take Me to Church” by Hozier, “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith, and “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy.

Andrew Lee is a senior and the music director of the Accafellas. He used to be a part of another a capella in the area, but when he heard about the Accafellas and what they stand for he decided to try out for the group his junior year.

“I’m feeling really good about semi-finals. We went into quarter-finals loving our set, but we were a little rusty,” said Lee.

“We have a lot of time to polish it now and these guys are all working really hard. I think we’re going to have something really great, said Lee.

The Accafellas are the not only representing Michigan, but they are the only group representing the city of East Lansing at the semi-finals.

The Accafellas didn’t place at semi-finals, but Good says he were very happy and proud their performance.

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