TCU A Cappella groups take on semifinals in Los Angeles


By Luke Morand

Two TCU a cappella groups spent part of their spring break performing at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

The ICAA is an annual event recognizing the art of student groups who sing without the accompaniment of instruments.

But there is a lot more to it than a lack of instruments.

From specialized choreography to the precise arrangement of their songs, a cappella groups dedicate a lot of time, effort and money to make their way.

That is the case for License to Trill, TCU’s mixed a cappella group, and The Horned Tones, TCU’s all male a cappella group.

Photo courtesy of License To Trill
Photo courtesy of the Horned Tones      

Back in February, the ICAA quarterfinals for the Southeast region were held in San Antonio.

These two TCU a cappella groups made their voices known and qualified for the semifinal round after their success at the quarterfinals.

License to Trill and The Horned Tones made their way to the University Of California Los Angeles for the 2017 ICAA Southwest semifinal round.

From rehearsals on campus, to the big stage in Los Angeles, these groups had to find a way to raise the funds to make it to the semi final competition.

They utilized the fundraising platform GoFundMe.

“We couldn’t be here without GoFundMe,” said Raymond Shideler, the president of The Horned Tones. “We had a lot of people who really needed the help.”

License to Trill placed incentives on their fundraising efforts, offering rewards to donors depending on the amount given.

These rewards ranged from a thank you video, to a private concert from the group.

“We never had imagined that we would receive the support that we did,” said Sophie Bougeois, soprano for License to Trill.  “We just had to put a really good face to the group and just always be on our A game.”

With the funds to get there, the Ensemble groups readied their 12 minute sets and took the big stage.

License to Trill performed first and sang their mashup of songs.

The Horned Tones performed later on in the show with parts of their arrangement receiving cheers and laughs from the audience.

After the performances were over, the judges went backstage to decide the winner.

With a final decision made, neither TCU a cappella groups advanced to the next round in New York City.

While License to Trill and The Horned Tones traveled to Los Angeles with the hopes of qualifying for the next round, they made it clear that this journey has been about more than just winning.

“There originally were 400 groups when we started off,” Shideler said.  “Just the fact that we made it this far is an incredible step for TCU a cappella.”

For now, License to Trill and The Horned Tones will continue to practice, plan and perform, all in preparation for the chance to qualify again next season.

“We are the real deal,”  Shideler said. “This is both of our groups’ first time at semifinals and it’s definitely not going to be our last.”