For the last 17 years, Varsity Vocals has hosted the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA), an a cappella competition for high school a cappella groups all around the globe. The Masters School a cappella group, Dobbs 16, have reached the ICHSA quarter-finals after producing and submitting a video compilation of their work to Varsity Vocals.
Dobbs 16 will perform at the ICHSA quarter-finals at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on February 4. They will be facing up against eight other schools in the North east including nearby a cappella group, Rhythm on Rye, from Rye High School. Dobbs 16 has to place in the top two to advance to the ICHSA quarter-finals.
Junior Angel Henriquez, the bass voice part captain of Dobbs 16, is very excited to be able to compete with the group. Henriquez explained the process it took to learn each song.
“The Dobbs 16 class has four classes to learn each song,” said Henriquez. For the first class, students have already learned the song in advance and continue vocal work. For the second class, members took a quiz on the music they learned. During the third class, members auditioned for solos in the song. For the fourth and final class of the cycle, everyone has memorized their music and is ready to perform it live.
Henriquez then noted how unique Dobbs 16 is compared to other groups. He said, “The interesting thing about our group compared to other a cappella choirs that I’ve seen is that the scores are made in-house by our own Eden Leach [class of ‘23]. They compiled the scores for every single song that we have in our repertoire this year.” He continued,“ It’s really an asset to have the arranger’s version in our presence, so if there’s something that needs to be changed on the fly, we always have that asset there to ask questions or change the dynamics.”
Junior Caterina Stoica, a member of the Alto voice part, had nothing but praise for the group’s student leaders, including Leach’s work writing arrangements, saying, “We have student leaders who do a lot of complicated things. Eden Leach has arranged all the music this year, which is absolutely incredible. It’s a challenging feat, but it turned out amazing.”
Stoica also shouted out other student leaders, including their student choreographer, Shaza Murigande ‘24, and the several voice part captains. She said, “Our voice part leaders play a big part in uniting our group as a whole, and leading some of the newer members of our group.” She continued, “I think the student-led aspect of this group really shows how involved all the members are.” She then explained that these leadership positions and extra work are volunteer-based.
Stoica said, “Shaza is going to be choreographing all our songs for ICHSA, so she’s had to look back on all the past performances Dobbs 16 has done, and other a cappella groups, and see what’s interesting and what can be done on stage to really enhance our performance.”
I think the student-led aspect of this group really shows how involved all the members are.
— Caterina Stoica
Henriquez emphasized how badly he and the rest of the choir want to win it all. He said that they will work extremely hard to prepare for their Quarter Final Competition set, so they can give a flawless performance up in Troy on February 4.
Stoica highlighted the importance of the group’s dynamics and working relationships in achieving this goal, explaining the impact it’s had thus far on their success. “We’ve worked a lot on bonding together as a group and within our individual voice parts, and working on the cohesive aspect of our group, because one of the key points of a cappella is being one united body.”
“All these features of our group really make it our own and so unique to masters,” Stoica concluded. “It’s not just a class where we go in and are told what to do, but we’re involved as students and as singers in this group, and we really want to see it thrive.”
Senior Aofie Fortuna performing with Dobbs 16