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Underdog A cappella group Dynamix competes in internationally renown tournament for the title

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Underdog A cappella group Dynamix competes in internationally renown tournament for the title

Dynamix poses in formal wear before heading off to soundcheck at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, CA. Photo credit: Savana Thomas

Dynamix poses in formal wear before heading off to soundcheck at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, CA. Photo credit: Savana Thomas

Dynamix poses in formal wear before heading off to soundcheck at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, CA. Photo credit: Savana Thomas

Dynamix poses in formal wear before heading off to soundcheck at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, CA. Photo credit: Savana Thomas

By Natalie Hyman

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Dynamix, Moorpark College’s recently-formed A cappella group took the stage for the second time ever on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the 2019 International Championship of Collegiate A cappella (ICCA) West Quarter finals. They were the fifth group to perform out of seven A cappella groups and sung four choreographed songs in front of the cheering audience at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, California.

Colleges from all around the country and internationally came to showcase their talents at these regional ICCA quarter finals. In order to qualify, colleges submit a video of their group singing two songs, and the judges decide which colleges advance to the next round, the quarter finals. The top two colleges in the quarterfinals move onto the semifinals, and from there, to the finals in New York.

Among the college A cappella groups performing at the ICCA West Quarterfinal were Dil Se of UC Berkeley and the Spartan Stellas of San Jose State University. Moorpark College was one of the few community colleges to compete throughout the entire country.

David Stuart, the group’s music director, spoke about their rare chance at competing as a community college.

“I think that at a community college, there tends to be a mentality that we’re only here for a couple years; it’s just a stepping stone to go somewhere better. In high school or university, people feel like they’re there to stay, they’re there to make it sort of like a second home,” he says. “With groups like [Dynamix] it’s for people looking for a little bit more, and [because of this] I think people don’t tend to start these groups as often.”

According to Michael Kronenberg, a second-year group member and choreographer for their ICCA performance, Stuart started the group as a result of seeing a friend perform at the San Diego ICCA, and decided he wanted the experience himself.

“We went to ICCA in San Diego to see our friend perform, and I think that [kind of] sparked his idea to start his own A cappella group,” he says. Because the music department tends to play classical music, Stuart thought starting an A cappella group would add some variety.

Though it was Dynamix’s second year competing at quarter finals, they are growing each year. In Fall 2017, they started out with only about eight members, and were struggling to gain traction. This semester, however, with 20 members and a mostly student-run 2-credit class behind it, Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, they brought a performance that takes them to a new level. Stuart speaks on their journey so far.

“We started in Fall 2017. It was me and three other people who ran the auditions for the first group,” he said. “We had maybe eight to ten people when we first started, and this year we have twenty people.”

Because of their preparations, Dynamix knew what to expect from this year.

“Last year it was really just for the experience; we just wanted to get there and perform on the stage,” Stuart says, “This year we were able to have it be a much better performance knowing what we were going in to, knowing the amount of preparation that we were gonna have beforehand, and it helped to already have a foundation for the group as well.”

The competition winners, Lounge Lizards of UC Davis and Dil Se of UC Berkeley, will move on to the semifinals at Elsinore Theater in Salem, Oregon on Saturday, March 30. Moorpark did not place this year, but they hope to come back stronger next year and get more experience under their belts.

Though they were the newbies, the environment for the competition was an encouraging one; each A cappella group was there to do what they love while uplifting others.

Alyssa Hernandez, Dynamix member and first-time competitor at the ICCA, speaks on the environment at the competition.

“Everybody was there for the right reasons, for the same reasons, just to perform and have a good time,” she said. “And to be in a room with all the people who had the same mindsets as everyone else was really cool.”

Even though the environment was welcoming, Dynamix faced some trouble because of their community college status. Kronenberg speaks on their disadvantage as a community college.

“It’s harder for us because we don’t live on campus and we don’t get to rehearse as much,” he says. “Because we’re a community college, we only get people from our community, rather than UC Berkeley [which] gets people from all over the United States [who might] be really talented musicians.”

Mt. San Antonio College, a community college, also competed alongside Dynamix. Their group name is Fermata Nowhere. Though they have been competing for a while, they are still one of the only community colleges to compete among all colleges in the country.

Regardless of Dynamix’s circumstance, they are grateful for their opportunity to perform and the promise of improvement for the future.

“Because we are a new club, we have so much growth, [and] we can do so many new things,” Hernandez says. “It’s just the beginning.”

On the future of Dynamix, Stuart, who will be transferring next semester, has high hopes that the group will grow without him and keep gaining members to support the club, which will continue being a class next semester.

“What I’m hoping that what we can do is keep it student-run and have people that can fill all of the officer roles,” he says. “The goal is to make sure that this group can run without me. I’m sure they’ll keep competing; I’d love it if they keep getting better.”

If you want to see Dynamix in action, catch them performing alongside Moorpark’s talented vocal students and choral ensembles at the Vocal Showcase on Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the MC Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be found on the Moorpark College PAC website. Prices are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Purchase online for 20% off your ticket.

For those who are interested in joining the ever-expanding group, auditions for Dynamix will be held later this spring. They are looking for singing positions, as well as hoping to fill some leadership roles. Email [email protected] for questions.

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About the Writer
Natalie Hyman, Staff writer
Natalie Hyman is an English student at Moorpark College. She has a passion for telling stories through her writing and hopes she can contribute her best to the team this semester. She enjoys writing about the entertainment industry, such as film and the arts.
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