By Marcia Neville | University Communications
DENVER – One weekend at the national SoJam competition in Raleigh, N.C., is all it took for CU Denver’s a cappella singing group to make its biggest splash yet. Competing at one of the biggest festivals in the country, Mix made it all the way to the end finishing second in the nation.
Erin Hackel, DMA, is the group’s director and she described the competition atmosphere as incredible. “The venue was packed with a cappella fans who leaped to their feet if they heard something they liked. The sound set up was world class, which allowed groups of all sizes to show what they could do best.”
Prior to becoming Mix, CU Denver’s premiere a cappella group was called CU Denver 6 and the singers have had plenty of success in competitions over the years, but, this is their best showing ever. Out of hundreds of audition tapes, Mix was one of just six groups chosen for the festival. Then, they had to survive a reality-TV-style-format to make it to the final performance.
“It was such a nail biter,” said Hackel of the four rounds of competition. Two groups were eliminated after just one song. Another group was gone after the second round and another after the third. In the end, just Mix and one other group remained. “Several times over the weekend I was asked if they were really college students. We were praised for having such innovation and sophistication in our repertoire choices.”
One example of innovation was a World War II era song popularized by the Andrews Sisters. In the Mix version, the song opened with an imitation of an old-fashioned radio broadcast, then, twisted in the middle to an original rap. According to Hackel, that was the song that brought down the house.
And it could be the reason Mix won the award for most original group in addition to finishing second overall.