By Natalie DeFord, A&E Writer
Donations and fundraisers sent HERmonic flying to California’s Pomona College for the semifinals, concluding this year’s International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) journey.
Junior Lauren Searls, a first-year in HERmonic, said the group performed in the quarterfinals at Pacific Lutheran University because it just wanted to compete and have fun.
“We didn’t expect we’d be going to semi-finals, and we didn’t have the money,” Searls said. “We were just doing it for fun.”
But, she said the group was still thrilled when they won the quarterfinals.
“We were very excited to move on when it was announced,” Searls said.
Fundraising began right away, as the trip cost for all members was a combined total of $5,000.
HERmonic’s only major fundraiser was a flapjack fundraiser at Applebee’s. The girls sang and served as waitresses and hostesses, earning a part of the profits for the HERmonic ICCA fund.
The group also collected donations through various methods, including creating a GoFundMe account, which is a crowdfunding and fundraising website. PLU helped out as well by contributing all tips from Dining and Culinary Services and campus cafes.
“We had a lot of help from the PLU community, and we put a lot of work into fundraising,” Searls said. In three weeks, HERmonic was able to raise the necessary amount for the trip.
“Everyone just poured in donations,” junior Sarah-lynn Bennett, a first-year member of HERmonic, said. “We were able to go without paying for anything through the help of donations and fundraisers.”
Searls also said the competition at semifinals was really high caliber, with groups from the entire west coast trying to move on to nationals. There were 10 groups — two from each region or quarter final.
“We knew it would be competitive, but half the group [HERmonic] was new, and we didn’t really expect how competitive it would actually be,” Searls said.
HERmonic had been rehearsing the set they took to the ICCA since the beginning of the school year, Searls said.
“Our semifinals’ best moment was doing sound check with a cumulative group of people watching on the sides,” Bennett said. “Everyone was like, ‘who are they?’ and it was really cool to show them what we could do.”
The set had three arrangements and three soloists. But during semifinals, each of the HERmonic members got to hold a solo mic. This was new, as only the bass, vocal percussionists and soloists had used mics before.
“It added new spontaneity,” Searls said.
Bennett agreed having these microphones in hand altered the performance.
“We had to change choreography on the spot,” Bennett said.
Searls said semifinals were a lot of fun, because while they get to see each other every week, traveling was a good way to get to know each other outside of rehearsal.
Everything the singers did, Bennett said, they did as a group.
“We just want to perform, because that’s what we do, that’s what makes us happy and we hope to make others happy from our performance,” Bennett said. “That’s what we did we had fun on stage.”
The group will not be moving on to nationals this year.
“We had a lot of fun, [had] some learning experiences and hopefully next year we can go again and move on to nationals,” Searls said.
HERmonic will be singing at Relay for Life tonight from 7:45-8:15 p.m. PLUtonic will be performing as well.
There is also an upcoming concert with PLUtonic, PLU’s all-male a cappella group, in the amphitheater that is free to the public May 17.
Bennett said HERmonic looks forward to working with PLUtonic again.
“We’re very ‘girl power,’ but we’re very collective with PLUtonic and HERmonic,” she said. “When they succeed we succeed, when we succeed they succeed and we’re very supportive of each other.” ◼︎