Deep in the bellows of the Armory building on Tuesday night, members of No Comment a cappella could be heard belting out Shontelle’s “Impossible” in preparation for the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella, or ICCA, semifinals in Chicago next weekend.
“I’ve been a member of No Comment for three years, and we’ve gone to semifinals all three of those years,” said junior business major Maddi Wethall. “But this is the first year we’ve had an entirely different set from quarterfinals.”
This year, No Comment placed second at their quarterfinals, which allowed them to advance to semifinals. Each group competing in the ICCA semifinals must prepare a 12-minute long set, which Wethall said is generally a repeat of the set performed at quarterfinals. The winning group then advances to the ICCA finals in New York City, set for April 22nd. No Comment competed in the finals in 2013, but has not been back since.
“What sets us apart is we’re all very competitive,” said Ramya Jaishankar, a communications major and first-year member of the group. “When you look at this group, the people in it always give like, 110 percent.”
Indeed- the group typically practices nine hours a week, but that all changes while they prepare for ICCA competitions.
“When ICCA comes around, we rehearse every single day preparing for that,” said senior advertising major and No Comment veteran Hannah Loftus. “It’s a lot of work for sure.”
The group’s music director Trent Calderone, a junior majoring in material sciences and engineering, stressed that late nights and extra rehearsals were on the horizon for the group.
“Tomorrow we’re going to meet from 9-11 p.m. to try to accommodate everyone,” he said during their rehearsal Tuesday night.
However, No Comment’s members all agreed the hard work associated with being in the group is worth it.
“There’s nothing like getting to sing onstage with your best friends,” Wethall said. “It’s true that we’re competitive and everything, but we really are a family.”
To learn more about the group and some of its members and hear them in action, click here.
Being that I am a print journalism major, I was glad we got to write a story for this project. I didn’t have much of an idea for a subject at first besides doing something music-related because it was an audio-only project, but I have a friend who is a former member of No Comment, so things just lined up. I will say I felt a little bad intruding on No Comment’s rehearsal, seeing as they were so busy, but I was glad they let me stay. I was really happy with how this project came out- I thought the video complemented the story well, and I thought it was a great subject for an audio piece. Also, I used to be a choral music education major, so I was happy to spend time around singers again. It felt like I was getting to marry two passions. I will say that formulating a script according to a specific template was new for me because I am not a broadcast major, so that aspect of it felt tedious. Also, I am not someone who generally transcribes the entirety of my interviews; I always take notes during my interviews, and I usually mark in my notes the time on the recorder. Then, I rewind my recording afterwards to find the quotes I need- it was a trick they taught me when I wrote for the Daily Illini. However, despite that, I am pleased with the final product.