With a big win at the Ohio Valley regional singing tournament, the sky seems to be the limit for Chaminade Julienne’s pop a cappella group Vega. The CJ septet, named after one of the brightest stars in the sky, has earned a spot in the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) in New York City this spring after coming out on top at the Feb. 23 event held at Centerville High School.
Finishing with a final score of 398, Vega outshined fellow competitors from Kings High School (Mason, Ohio), Bearden High School (Knoxville, Tenn.) and the second place group from Kettering Fairmont High School by more than 50 points to earn CJ its first trip to the national finals. In just its third year in existence, the group from Dayton will have an opportunity to perform in The Big Apple at the New York Society for Ethical Culture’s Concert Hall this April.
“I’m so proud of all the hard work we’ve put into this group, and it paid off,” said Caitlin Pearn (senior, alto), one of Vega’s three second-year members. “Winning regionals was one of our goals from the beginning of the year, so when we met that goal it was one of the greatest feelings ever.”
Pearn’s performance earned her co-Outstanding Soloist honors. Sophomore Daniel Jackson received an award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion, and the group received an Outstanding Choreography award. As Ohio Valley champions, CJ is slated to compete against nine fellow regional finalists, plus one Wild Card group, in the national championship round on April 19.
Vega was formed in 2010 under the direction of alumnus Joe Whatley, ‘04, CJ’s director of choirs, and the group has been making its voice heard in local and national a cappella circles ever since. This year’s ensemble features student vocalists Pearn and Jackson as well as classmates Cassidy Aughe (sophomore, soprano), Maddie Brown (senior, soprano), Addi Helms (sophomore, alto), David Marshall (sophomore, bass) and Andre’ Tomlinson (senior, tenor).
“This group of kids has become a shining example of what hard work, passion and talent can achieve. Our students rise to the occasion time after time in each of their performances, and it’s earned them the honor of being recognized as the best,” said John Marshall, principal.
“While Vega is the CJ performing arts department’s most visible group, the overall program is continuing to blossom as evidenced by everything from the vibrancy of the Eagle Pep Band to the recent development of our string ensemble.
“Many of our students play multiple instruments, plus sing and perform in our plays and musicals, on top of their participation with athletic teams, academic extracurriculars and service opportunities. After witnessing the diversity of talent and the dedication of time by our students through their on-stage performances, I’m often left feeling that I have the best job in the world,” Marshall said.
If it seems like a storyline out of a movie for the CJ seven, that is probably because their remarkable rise is not far off.
Pitch Perfect, the popular 2012 musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore, is actually based on the college version of the ICHSA, known as the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Both are sponsored by the Varsity Vocals organization.
Shortly after the film’s release in September, Varsity Vocals selected Vega’s single “Price Tag” off its debut studio album -- aptly titled Momentum -- for inclusion on the annual BOHSA: Best of High School A Cappella 2012-13 greatest hits compilation. Before that, Vega won first place at the Kettering A Cappella Festival in November, earning the right to open the event’s marquee concert in front of a sold out crowd at Fairmont High School.
Vega will perform the set that earned them the regional top spot at CJ’s Winter Concert, Tuesday, Feb. 26, and then travel south to participate in the third annual Voices in Harmony Festival hosted at Lexington Catholic High School in Kentucky on Saturday, March 2.
More information about Varsity Vocals and the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) can be found at www.varsityvocals.com.
For more information about CJ performing arts, or to schedule an interview or appearance with Vega, please contact the CJ Communications office at (937) 461-3740 x221 or visit Vega's page at www.cjeagles.org.
UPDATE: At the Voices in Harmony Festival on March 2, CJ was awarded Outstanding Soloist (Caitlin Pearn), Oustanding Vocal Percussion (Daniel Jackson) and Best Choreography (group).