Nor’easters to compete on international stage

The Nor’easters will compete for the top prize in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella on Saturday. In this file photo, the group performs at #RiseUpNU in Blackman Auditorium. Photo by Emma Putnam/for Northeastern University

This weekend, one of Northeastern’s a cappella groups, the Nor’easters, will compete in the final round of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The Nor’easters’ appearance comes on the heels of their first-place finish in the semifinal round of the tournament at the end of March. We caught up with Sofia Berg, SSH and AMD’19, a soprano in the Nor’easters, on the eve of The Nor’easters’ April 22 appearance in the championship.

You took home first place in the ICCA northeast semifinal round. What was it like hearing your group’s name announced as the winner?

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how to describe my feelings when they called our name at semifinals. We had spent many hours, days, and months preparing for ICCA, so knowing that we were going to be able to showcase our hard work at finals was by far one of the best feelings I’ve experienced with this group. We take pride in all of the work that we craft as musicians, as students, and as experiential learners throughout our time in the group. However, I truly understand what it meant to be proud to be a Nor’easter when I heard our name being called.

How are you feeling in these past few days before the competition?

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I feel really well-supported, loved, and truly prepared for Saturday. Nerves are just a part of anything you care about—if you aren’t nervous, then maybe you aren’t putting as much pressure on yourself as those who are. We often say as a group that “it takes 100 percent of every member to put on a performance at 100 percent of the group’s capacity.” But nervousness aside, knowing I get to take a road trip to New York with my best friends, drink more tea in two days as a group than I do in a year combined, and perform on stage as a family, makes me the happiest version of myself. This weekend is going to be one of the best of the year for us, and I can’t wait to share some more fantastic memories with this group.

What would it mean to win or place?

Just placing at the ICCA finals would be a dream come true for so many of us. We’re lucky enough to have a member, Meghan Bliss, who has not only competed in the ICCA three times, but has made it to finals three times and I can’t wait to share her last ICCA experience with her before she graduates in a couple of weeks. For some groups, it might be about having your work validated with a trophy or an award, but this year our group has really focused on just falling in love with all the work we produce. I’m in love with our music, our sound, our blend, and our technique as it stands right now—and while a trophy would be really nice, I’m just as proud to be going to finals and letting a few hundred more people listen to our work.

Despite the fact that it’ll be a competition, is there any other group you’re looking forward to watching?

I’m looking forward to hearing all of the groups that are competing. They have all been judged as the top groups internationally, so I can’t wait to hear what sets each of them apart.