UI vocal group takes top honor

he Other Guys, back row from left: Aaron Troy, Mike Hoyne, Bill Prokopow, and Trey Hickley. Middle row from left: Brian Krugman, Brandon Pevnick, and Tim Tyler. Bottom: Nathan Brown. Courtesy of The Other Guys

he Other Guys, back row from left: Aaron Troy, Mike Hoyne, Bill Prokopow, and Trey Hickley. Middle row from left: Brian Krugman, Brandon Pevnick, and Tim Tyler. Bottom: Nathan Brown. Courtesy of The Other Guys

By Whitney Blair Wyckoff

The Other Guys a cappella ensemble placed third out of eight groups in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella held on April 29 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. They qualified to compete in the event after they won first place in the Midwest division semifinals on March 25.

“We’re the third best in the world right now, which is pretty good, we think,” said Other Guys Business Manager Nathan Brown, junior in ACES.

The ensemble had not participated in the competition since taking second place at the international level in 2000.

To prepare for the tournament, the Other Guys hired a professional clinician and put on a show exclusively for other campus a cappella groups to get criticism from their peers.

The Other Guys practice two to three hours each day, five days per week, Brown said.

In the international competition, each ensemble is given 12 minutes – about the length of three songs – to dazzle the judges. The Other Guys sang “Tonight, Tonight” from West Side Story, a Beatles medley and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” by Ray Charles. Groups are judged on both vocal and visual presentation.

“I wanted to pick a set of songs that shows the diversity of the group – that shows what we can accomplish,” said Musical Director Bill Prokopow, senior in FAA, who arranged the Beatles medley and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So.”

The group is not only known for its vocals, but also for its comedic antics.

“We are in the process of entertaining, that’s how we’re different,” Brown said. “The audience was in a riot the entire time.”

Prokopow also said the crowd was very receptive.

“We got a big standing ovation, which is unheard of in competitions like these,” he said.

Amanda Grish, director of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella and alumna of the University, attributes the Other Guys’ success to the support from its alumni and its connection with the Men’s Glee Club, a choir at the University and the group’s recruiting pool.

“I don’t think there’s a singer in the Other Guys who didn’t know about the group before coming to college,” said Grish, who was a member of the a cappella group No Strings Attached when she attended the University.

Although Grish said the ensemble was “a contender” in the competition, the Other Guys ended up losing points in the visual category.

“Groups do well because of what individual judges see of them on that day,” she said. One minor deviation can mean the difference between first and third place, she said.

“I wouldn’t say there are identifiable weaknesses in the top three groups,” she added.

Vocal Point from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah took first place, and Out of the Blue from Oxford University in Oxford, England placed second.

Grish said taking first place in semifinals was a remarkable accomplishment. “The Midwest and West are the most challenging regions to win,” she said.

“We were expecting to do a little better, but (third place) is still pretty good,” Brown said.