April 13, 2021

By Nala Washington ’24

Susquehanna University’s a cappella ensemble, Harmonic Combustion, has advanced to the semifinal phase of the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

Harmonic Combustion performed “When It’s All Over,” originally performed by RAIGN and arranged by Sophia Rhyins ’22 and Tyler Shadle ’22, during the quarterfinals of the competition. The composition was awarded Outstanding Arrangement.

“I was in complete disbelief,” Shadle said of the Outstanding Arrangement honor. “It was something that we were hoping for, but there was such a large amount of talent in our quarterfinal.”

The group arranges most of the songs they perform. Judith White, adjunct professor of music, leads the group through competition as their advisor.

Given the pandemic, the competition has taken place virtually. Groups were required to send in a video performance to qualify. From there, Harmonic Combustion sent in some of their best songs from 2020 and created new videos that could be done remotely, hybrid or fully in person while following all COVID-19 protocols. For Harmonic Combustion, they had to choose the hybrid option.

“Most of the vocals were recorded on members’ cellphones, and each individual ensemble member was also required to send in a video of them singing their part,” Shadle said.

The semifinal round of the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella was held April 10.