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The Beltones and Prismatics to compete in ICCA semifinal

Two Belmont A Capella groups, the Beltones and Prismatics, will compete in Varsity Vocals’ International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella semifinals this Saturday, going head-to-head with teams from all over the South.

They both first competed in the ICCA’s quarterfinals on Jan. 26 at the University of Tennessee. Prismatics came in first and the Beltones came in a close second, so both teams moved on to the semifinals in Durham, North Carolina.

“It’s nerve wracking, but more than anything it’s just awesome, exciting and a great experience,” said Sam Johnston, the co-music director of the Beltones.

ICCA’s allow the groups to have 12-minute sets, giving them the chance to showcase a range of vocals and the opportunity to put everything out on the stage.

For the Beltones, this is a chance to do more than just the usual three songs. This year, its set is comprised of six.

“It’s a lot of tiny different motifs and messages that all piece together, throughout a big series of songs,” said Johnston.

The standout song in its set: “idontwannabeyouanymore” by Billie Eilish.

“It’s a very profound moment,” said Daniel Mata, a member of the Beltones. “It’s a draw them in moment.”

The Beltones tends to pick songs that people may not know, and its ICCA’s semifinals set doesn’t stray away from that.

“We have a responsibility, because people don’t know them, to bring them into it, so they feel like they already do,” said Baylee Lindsey, another member of the Beltones.

Going to semifinals is not a new thing for the Beltones. Not only have they made it to semifinals, but in 2013, 2014 and 2017, the Beltones went to the big stage in New York City to take on finals.

Prismatics, on the other hand, is fairly new to the world of ICCA’s. This year is only its fourth year as a performing group and the second year making it to semifinals.

“Watching the growth from a few years ago is just astounding and really gratifying,” said Mollie Baron, a Prismatics member and the group’s publicist.

For the ICCA set, the Prismatics decided to focus on an aspect of life that is becoming more and more prevalent in the media: mental health.

“We’re trying to be a group that can create powerful music. That can help people, motivate people, change lives in some way,” said Sam Baker, another member of Prismatics.

Their game plan for semifinals is pretty simple: picking up right where they left off at quarterfinals.

“We’re amplifying every aspect of our performance,” said Eldon Raudebaugh, president of Prismatics. “From little bits of dynamics here and there, to locking every choreo movement into a synchronized pattern.”

The song to look out for in their set is “1-800-273-8255” by Logic.

“We tell the story of different stages of mental health, and by the time we hit that song, that’s when it really says we’re in a bad place mentally,” said Baker.

“It’s when the mental health aspect smacks you in the face,” Raudebaugh added.

For both groups, this weekend is a chance to put everything they have on the table. From extensive practices to the 8-hour drive ahead of them, it’s clear they are in this to win it.

“Everything that has been culminating for weeks and months is finally coming to fruition,” said Johnston of Beltones.

“We all know the set, we all know what we have to do, what it really means,” said Raudebaugh of Prismatics.

And for those asking if this is anything like “Pitch Perfect,” both groups agree: not at all.

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Photos courtesy of the Beltones and Prismatics.

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