by Michaela Thomas
From placing fourth last year to now winning first place at The International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA ) quarterfinals, the Tampa Tones has shown others that they are an on-campus force to be reckoned with.
The Tampa Tones started back in the fall of 2018. They originally had nine members, then jumped to 25 and cut down to 18. They have been a competing a cappella group for two years now and it seems like their hard work is paying off.
“This year was just a whole different ball game, we definitely didn’t expect it,” said Tampa Tones secretary Faith Kopecky. “We were just going to try our hardest and see where it took us.”
ICCA stands for International Competition of Collegiate A cappella. “It’s basically pitch perfect,” said Tampa Tones president Robert DeBellis. “It’s a competition for different colleges to go and compete against each other to win $25,000.”
There are nine different regions that compete in the ICCA’s. The Tampa Tones are in the Southern Region. There are 50 teams in the region in total and they are split into five different quarter-finals.
The Tampa Tones just placed first in their quarterfinals and are now moving on to the semi-finals where they will compete against the other southern region quarter-finalist winners. Then, the winner of the semi-finals will get the chance to go to New York and compete against the other eight regions to win the $25,000 grand prize.
“I am in serious disbelief. It’s wildly surreal,” said DeBellis. “I always hoped that something like this would happen. It’s going to hold a special place in my heart for a long time.”
The semi-finals will be held on Saturday, March 7 in North Carolina which means that the competition is less than two weeks away.
“We are gonna continue with Friday and Sunday rehearsals and trying to have Sunday rehearsals from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Kopecky. “We even have Falk Theater reserved so that we can practice on a stage and we’re gonna try and get faculty to come and look at our set and see what needs to be cleaned.”
Along with the pressure of preparing for the competition, the Tampa Tones are also facing the pressure of raising money. “We put up a gofundme which has already raised up so much money and we are so grateful for it,” said Kopecky. “We are also looking for things from the school that we can apply for.”
Even though it is hard work, the members of the Tampa Tones love what they do and love the team that they are in.
“This group is something special. This is only our second year competing and we have come so far,” said Tampa Tones member Michael Evans. “Everyone in that group is very talented, very hardworking. The love is always there. I can say that I love everyone in this group.”
The Tampa Tones will be competing in the ICCA semi-finals coming up on Saturday, March 7. Make sure to send luck their way as they get to compete in North Carolina for a chance to make it to the finals to win the $25,000.
Michaela Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org