Ryan Chartrand

Cal Poly’s a cappella group Take it SLO took third place in last weekend’s International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Quarterfinals, held at UC Santa Barbara. The group will not move onto the semi-final competition, but were happy with the outcome.

“It doesn’t bother me at all that we didn’t get to go on to West Coast Finals,” said Nicolle MacDonald, business junior and student manager of the group. Honestly it was a really good experience for us; no one in the group has ever competed before.”

Take it SLO actually tied for second, but ended up in third place after the subjective judging portion of the competition. UCLA’s Scattertones performed a medley of “oldies” that was different from other groups that stuck to modern, popular music.

“Their vocals were really tight because they just recorded a CD and they were ready to perform,” MacDonald said.

However, Take It SLO found this competition to be an opportunity to get its name into the a cappella community and will consider competing again next year.

For now, the group has been asked by the athletics department to perform at different sports events. Coming up, Take It SLO will be singing the national anthem on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the men’s basketball game against UC Santa Barbara.

“We are hoping to make it our own,” said civil engineering junior Alicia Baratta. “We are looking to get some type of foundation and then go and make it our ‘poppy’ style.”

Baratta also mentioned that the group has started practicing for their upcoming performance as of Tuesday, working on the national anthem and new pieces that will be challenge the group because they lost many of their male vocalists.

“We lost a lot of our guys so we are having auditions to build up a whole new repertoire and, hopefully, by our next show, we’ll have five new songs,” MacDonald said.

Along with auditions for male singers, Take It SLO is also looking for tenors and beatboxers, since the group lost two members this past week.

Male vocalists, including beatboxers, help the group’s tempo and make the songs more recognizable, Baratta said.

Music senior and beatboxer Scott Johnson is one of the members that wil need to be replaced after he leaves the group in June.

“I’ve been beatboxing for at least four years; mostly for fun, but recently it’s also to improve the sound of the group,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that in the fall the group was lacking a vocal percussionist, and two friends in Take It Slo invited him to try out and he joined the group.

After competing as a member of the group since the fall and meeting an underground a capella group from another school, Johnson said he has enjoyed the experience.

“We were excited to place third in our first ICCA appearance, though we thought we earned higher,” he said. “We’ll keep doing the best we can.”

With new singers emerging and old singers leaving, the upcoming auditions are important because the group has always had a low number of males.

In 2005, MacDonald auditioned with 40 to 50 other students, and she estimated 15 to 20 were men.

The audition on Feb. 3 will be crucial for Take It SLO’s male voice and they are hoping to receive people that stand out from the rest and can truly demonstrate their distinguishing qualities.

For more information, check out the Take It SLO Web site at www.takeitslo.com

For some samples of the Take it SLO songs, visit its MySpace account www.myspace.com/cptits. Some song samples include “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, and medley of songs by ’80s rock band Journey and Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” Take it SLO has been running for the past five years and is open to all Cal Poly majors.

Take It SLO – Always something there to remind me

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