Syracuse a cappella acts place at live performance contest

Syracuse a cappella place at live contest

OttoTunes and Groovestand earn second- and third-place honors at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

OttoTunes A Cappella group performs onstage
Syracuse a cappella group OttoTunes during a live performance.

In what would be a fitting tribute, audience members joined in singing the Syracuse University alma mater at the close of Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) Quarterfinals.

The traditional ode to SU would carry members of OttoTunes and Groovestand off-stage as they celebrated their second- and third-place victories at the college a capella singing competition.

The ICCAs have grown in popularity since their inception in 1995 in part because of their association with the Pitch Perfect movie series. This year’s quarterfinals were staged at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.

Recent success from the A Cappella Council of Syracuse University (ACCSU) had many fans and members of SU’s acts enthusiastic about the event — their own version of “March Madness.”


OttoTunes, Syracuse’s premier – orange pants-wearing – tenor-bass a cappella group, placed second at the ICCA Quarterfinals, advancing to the Semifinals for the first time in the group’s history. This marked the first time any Syracuse a cappella group has placed in the top two at ICCA Quarterfinals in over a decade.

OttoTunes’s performance of One Direction’s “Night Changes” featured award-winning choreography by John Moses, a graduate student who has been in the group for five years. The performance featured solos by Ethan Vernold, David Goz and a quartet of soloist winners from a previous competition: Frankie Gambino, Logan Wagner, Ryan Myers and Garrett Strang. 

OttoTunes president and senior Lukas Fives was elated with his group’s success on stage.

“Getting to perform with the rest of my fellow brothers in OttoTunes was a tremendous joy,” Fives said. “It’s a pleasure to not only see them each and every day, but perform with them up on that stage.” 

The journey continues for Fives and his fellow singers as they advance to the ICCA Semifinals in Buffalo on March 9.


“They put on a phenomenal show…ACCSU on top!” said Fives, offering his praise to fellow Syracuse a cappella members Groovestand.

Groovestand, one of Syracuse’s Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass (SATB) A Cappella groups, placed third at the quarterfinals. The performance featured soloists Sydney Pearson, Griffin O’Neil, Alena Slak, Hannah Landon and Alessandra Barlas.

Receiving third place was bittersweet for Groovestand seniors with only the top two groups advancing to the semifinals. The act plans to continue performing on campus this semester.

Griffin O'Neill sings a solo during the ICCA quarterfinals
Groovestand’s Griffin O’Neill sings a solo during the ICCA quarterfinals.

Fans and other members of the ACCSU showed up to support the two Syracuse acts with members from Orange Appeal, Oy Cappella, Main Squeeze and The Mandarins all among those who made the 2.5-hour journey from Syracuse. 

Many of SU’s ensembles will take part in Cozy Cappella on Thursday, March 21, in Goldstein Auditorium.