Gold Vibrations in the Big Apple

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Oakland University's a cappella group, Gold Vibrations, competed in the final round of the ICCA on Saturday, April 30 at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. 

Cheyanne Kramer, web editor

Gold Vibrations performed at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) at the end of April. Despite not placing in the top three, Oakland’s very own a cappella group had the opportunity to compete among the top 10 teams in the world.

Right after final exams, the team flew to New York City to sing at the Beacon Theatre, a Broadway stage, in front of 3,500 people.

They went up against teams from all over the country, and even a team from London. After placing first place in the quarterfinals and first place in the Chicago semifinals, the team had to prepare for this final competition.

Part of the preparation was their annual spring concert, covered in a previous Oakland Post article (click here to read). This year’s concert theme was “Harry Potter and the Aca PalOUza.”

However, the New York performance was directly after finals week.

We told our members, ‘school always comes first’ which it obviously does, we are students first then performers second,” said Noah Hubbard, Gold Vibrations performer. 

When they weren’t singing in the competition, the group found themselves singing on the streets. Erin Ben-Moche, Gold Vibrations singer, said the group had more time to explore New York than they had to explore Chicago during the semifinals.

“We sang in the subways, Times Square and Central Park,” she said. “But the best part was forgetting who was watching and enjoying singing with everyone, then hearing the applause from random strangers who enjoyed our mini performance.”

The team had the chance to spotlight on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show.” Ben-Moche is friends with an intern on the show, who got Gold Vibrations on to perform twice.

“Larry Wilmore gave us a shout-out on the show. It was very subtle, but a very cool moment being featured on the show and having him tell us how talented we were,” Ben-Moche said. 

“New York is a lot more intimidating,” Hubbard said. “It’s bigger, it’s more crowded, but it’s also for our theatre students especially, the place to be.”

Moving ahead from New York, Gold Vibrations plans to continue their regular rehearsals on Thursdays and Sundays. They are also working on creating their first album.

“We finally get to record an EP, so that is super exciting for us,” Ben-Moche said.

The end of the year is bittersweet after these departures. Ben-Moche said that every year, graduating members choose senior songs and have the opportunity to perform one last time with the group. Some members did not have the opportunity to do so because of the New York trip.

“They have made a huge mark on Gold Vibrations and it will not be the same without them,” Ben-Moche said.

“Chris [Brody] is our music director, and it will be very hard to see him go because it will be the first time we won’t have Chris with us directing every song arrangement,” she said.

Chris Brody, music director, said that this trip was important to not only the members, but to how people view the team. 

“This trip has cemented Gold Vibrations into the realm of relevancy in the college a capella society,” he said. “We had always looked at ourselves as the best group from a college you had never heard of.  That will no longer be the case.  We will never again be looked at as underdogs or surprises, which I think is pretty darn awesome.”

In the months leading up to the performance at ICCA, Gold Vibrations was not able to reveal their set online. However, now that the show is over, you can view their performance at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W07ZLALXhc