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Ohio State of Mind to make a cappella history at ICCA Finals on Broadway

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“Ohio State of Mind” A Cappella ensemble will be the first group in Ohio
State history to perform at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals. Credit: Courtesy of the OSM Facebook page

One Ohio State a cappella ensemble is set to make history, becoming the first group from Ohio to perform at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella finals this Saturday.

Ohio State of Mind will be among 10 groups from the U.S., U.K. and Canada competing at this year’s ICCA final, which will be held at the Beacon Theatre on Broadway.

The group of 17 has worked four to six hours a week since the beginning of the academic year to perfect the four numbers it will perform in its competition set.

Ruba Elzein, the group’s president and third-year in zoology, said this was a big moment for the group, as it is the first time since its founding in 2010 that it has advanced past the ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals.

Elzein and Gabe Geiger, the group’s business manager and a third-year in aerospace engineering, stressed the importance of vocals and emotion in the group’s set, though the performance also incorporates some choreography.

Elzein said the group is more focused on its emotions and facial expressions matching the song it’s singing.

“It’s not like ‘Pitch Perfect’ when it comes to choreography, it’s mostly changing formations and arm movements to coincide with the lyrics,” Geiger said.

Geiger said he has definitely checked out the other groups traveling to New York for finals. An ensemble from the University of Michigan also made it to the finals this year, and Geiger said he is excited to see how the OSU-Michigan rivalry plays out on stage.

As the competition approaches, Elzein said her nerves are calm, despite knowing the ensemble is set to perform in front of five judges in the historic, nearly 3,000-seat theater.

“Given that we’ve never made it past the quarterfinals before, making it to the finals is already amazing and we’ve worked so hard for past six months, so I’m really excited for the performance,” Elzein said.

Judges will score groups based on audio and visual performance, with special acknowledgements of the best soloist, best arrangement and best vocal percussion awarded as well. If they win, the competition will give them worldwide recognition and is the greatest honor a collegiate a cappella group can earn, said Geiger.

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