HomePitch Slapped Taps Into SoJam

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Pitch Slapped doesn’t take things slow.

The Berklee College of Music group, which is only in its sixth season, arrived at SoJam 2011 carrying a winning title from the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella and an appearance in NBC’s “The Sing-Off” under its belt.

Come Sunday morning, the group left with first place in the weekend’s collegiate competition, three special awards, recognition as the opening act of The Boxettes and Naturally 7, and a sense of amazement about the world of a cappella.

“We’re all in shock right now,” said Ingrid Andress, this year’s winner of Best Female Solo, on Saturday night. “I can’t believe what just happened.”

Friday night, Pitch Slapped closed SoJam’s collegiate competition with “Bright Lights Bigger City” by Cee-Lo Green, “We Can Work It Out” by The Beatles and “Love On Top” by Beyonce.

The group, comprised of 14 members whose primary instrument of study is voice, walked away that evening with Best Male Solo for Mark Joseph and Best Arrangement for Hannah Juliano for his performance and her arrangement of “Love On Top”; and Best Female Solo for Ingrid Andress for “We Can Work It Out.”

The group also won first place.

The members were thrilled to take home the top spot, primarily because it is the group’s first year in attendance.  They also said this win seems more heartfelt than ones they’ve competed for in the past.

“The feeling of community [at SoJam] is amazing,” Dustin Hyatt said. “It’s been something we, as a group, haven’t gotten to experience.”

Samantha Schultz, Pitch Slapped’s assistant musical director, said the “genuine love” and passion for music all of SoJam’s attendees share made the competition and performance even more powerful.

“It’s such an honor [to have competed],” Schultz said.

Hannah Juliano, Pitch Slapped’s musical director, and Ingrid Andress, both of whom until recently appeared with Delilah in the third season of “The Sing-Off,” said because the group is still so young, exposure to industry professionals, world-renowned groups and other collegiate singers is extremely helpful to Pitch Slapped’s growth.

“As a scene, we’re still learning a lot about a cappella,” Juliano said.

Jennifer Waris said the time the group spent at SoJam also taught the members they have a long way to go before reaching perfection.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” Waris said. “We have so much to work on. It’s inspiring.”

The road to SoJam was certainly not paved in gold – a fact each of the members recognizes and laughs at sheepishly.

A grueling rehearsal schedule while balancing the entrance of new members doesn’t make for an easy start to the semester, the members said, but having a common goal for success made it possible for the group to push on.

“We were trying not to rip each other’s heads off,” Sam Fischer said.

And now that SoJam’s a memory, the group has more “fun” things in its future: a tour, an album and clinics to spread the a cappella love and knowledge.

Since the group is committed to releasing an album by the fall of 2012, ICCA is not in the works for this year. The group vows to take this school year a little easier than recent years.

And after seeing the professionals at work, the group said its eyes are open to new possibilities for the future of its music.

“We can be innovative and creative and engaging,” Juliano said.

“We’re breaking out of the box,” Andress said. “It’s very liberating.”

[photos courtesy Michael Eldredge / Living Fiction Photography]