Ohio State a cappella group Buck That! spent the last four months building a strong bass, and now the rest of the Midwest’s vocal groups are in treble.
The group beat out eight other groups to win the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella’s Midwest quarterfinals competition in Cleveland Saturday, Nashad Rahman, a third-year in physics and the club’s president, said. Following the judges’ decision, the 14-piece, all-male a cappella group will move on for the first time in two years.
“The first thing I said when we stepped off the stage was, ‘I don’t care if we win,’ because I genuinely didn’t care if we win or lose. The performance we did was a really good performance, and we left it all out there,” Rahman said.
The group’s set consisted of three songs: “I Don’t Need It” by Jamie Foxx, “Slow Dancing in the Dark” by Joji and “Movement” by Hozier.
Rahman said the group dives into each performance by getting together the night before competition and discussing how each member relates to the songs. He said the aim is to practice vulnerability and strengthen the group bond so the members are comfortable opening up on stage.
He said one way Buck That! tries to differentiate itself from other groups is through their choreography.
“Oftentimes, in a cappella, the same few moves are done over and over, leading to a repetitive visual scene. But we like to challenge that and bring some movement that isn’t traditionally associated with a cappella,” Rahman said.
After preparing since October, Rahman said the organization is ready to spend some time regrouping and having fun before getting back into competition mode.
Rahman outlined key differences between preparing for competitions and an average performance. He said competition season requires more rehearsal time than the off season, with 10 hours per week as opposed to four. Competition shows involve choreography, whereas Rahman said regular performances may be limited to formation changes and hand movements.
“I would say it’s mostly just focus and energy that is a bit different, where here, it’s like this is what people will see when they think of Buck That! Tons of other a cappella groups will see us — tons of people who very much, passionately love a cappella will see Buck That! in this setting, doing these songs, so the energy and mentality is very different as well,” Rahman said.
Alex Sepeczi, a first-year in computer science and engineering and a group soloist, said this is his first experience with musical competition. Sepeczi’s lack of experience doesn’t hinder his appreciation for a cappella, though.
“I like making music with other people, and it’s just a whole different thing when there’s no instruments or anything involved. It’s just the human voice, a bunch of human voices together. It’s really special to me in that way,” Sepeczi said.
This victory will send the group to compete with nine others from across the Midwest at the ICCA Midwest semifinals in St. Louis March 28.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Buck That! competed against 9 other groups in the quarterfinals and would face seven others at semifinals.