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Nor’easters a cappella team wins top prizes in national competition

The Nor’easters won first place in a performance competition earlier this month at Sojam, the country’s largest collegiate a cappella festival.

“It was pretty life-changing for a lot of us,” said David Crozier, president of the university’s student a cappella group and a fourth-year electrical and computer engineering major. “It was really, really cool. We have been rehearsing nonstop, so getting recognized for our work was really huge.”

The Northeastern team was one of six groups from across the nation chosen by a selection committee to participate in the competition at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh, N.C. on Nov. 2. The voices-only co-ed ensemble beat out teams from the University of Colorado – Denver, Vanderbilt University, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State University and the University of South Carolina to take first place.

The Nor’easters performed five songs in the invitation-only competition: “Sweet Nothing” by Calvin Harris, featuring Florence Welch; “Cold War” by Janelle Monae; “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber, “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran; and a medley of “Don’t Wake Me Up” by Lianne La Havas and “Spectrum” by Florence + the Machine.

The group also won an award for staging the best performance and two members — Shams Ahmed and Beejul Khatri — won individual awards for best music arrangement and vocal percussion performance, respectively.

The group won more than bragging rights: Prizes included a one-on-one with Penatonix, the winner’s of NBC’s a cappella competition, “The Sing Off”; a featured article about the Nor’easters on the website of the Contemporary A Cappella Society; and a collaborative recording session with the professional groups at the competition comprising  Penatonix, The Edge Effect and the Finnish group FORK.

“Penatonix is the rock star of a cappella right now,” Crozier gushed. “So getting to work with the group was just amazing. The number of professionals in the industry we got to work with was just phenomenal.”

The Nor’easters released its third album this year and is currently recording another. The group will host its annual “Best of the Northeast Region a Cappella Showcase” featuring some of the top collegiate groups from across New England on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in Blackman Auditorium.

“It was great to win at Sojam and now having the spotlight come to Northeastern is just absolutely amazing,” Crozier said.