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DeKalb High School's a cappella group places 2nd

DeKALB – Although their chances of a national title ended Saturday, DeKalb High School’s a cappella group is still singing its praises.

The mixed a cappella group, called Enharmonic Fusion, finished in second place Saturday against seven other Midwestern high school a cappella groups, denying them a spot at the national a cappella competition in New York City.

Fusion from Kettering, Ohio, won by 10 points. The final score was 396 to 386, one of the closest results Choral Director Travis Erickson has seen in his eight years of being involved in the competition.

“It’s a learning experience,” Erickson said. “They’re really proud of their experience, as well as a little disappointed about how close it was.”

And it was close. DeKalb and the Ohio group received the same exact number of points in their vocal and visual performances, but a subjective ranking in which judges subjectively decide who won first, second and third places had DeKalb High School fall short.

The result involved a mix of emotions for senior a cappella group member William Ferguson, who said he got teary-eyed after he learned they lost.

“I’m proud of what we did. We love doing what we do,” Ferguson said. “We’re disappointed by what happened, but after a while, we realized we love making music. It’s not about the destination. It’s the journey.”

That journey is not over yet for the group. Erickson said Enharmonic Fusion will perform when DeKalb High School hosts the college quarterfinals at 7 p.m. March 8 in the auditorium.

The group also has discussed recording the same songs they sang Saturday – “She’s So Mean” by Matchbox 20, “How” by Regina Spektor and “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic – to be featured in a Best of High Schools track list by Varsity Vocals, the same organization which hosted the competition.

Ferguson said music will remain an important part of his life. He plans to study for one year at Hillsong Leadership College in Australia writing music.

“I really want to keep music in my life. It’s special to me,” he said.

Nelle Conley, senior a cappella group member, said she thought this year’s group was the best she has ever been part of, even though during her sophomore year, the group performed in New York.

Conley plans to study music education in Augustana College after she graduates.

“I don’t need validation from the judges,” Conley said. “I don’t think you can judge art. They can’t tell us we aren’t good because we got second place.”

Besides, Enharmonic Fusion did get a standing ovation from the audience after their performance.

“That was just amazing,” Conley said. “That was a better feeling for me than getting first place.”

What’s next

DeKalb High School’s Enharmonic Fusion a cappella group will perform when DeKalb High School hosts the college quarterfinals at 7 p.m. March 8 in the school auditorium.

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