February 2, 2013

Stephanie Trull, a BFA Musical Theatre student at the University of Central Florida, has captured the Outstanding Soloist award at the International Championship of Collegiate (ICCA) A Cappella Quarterfinals.

Trull participated as a member of the coed group Gemini Blvd., which took second place overall at the competition, guaranteeing them a spot in the ICCA South Semifinals on March 23 at Vanderbilt University. UCF student Jeff Ting also won an award for Outstanding Vocal Percussionist.

Trull joined the a cappella group three years ago as a freshman. She intended on majoring in Film and was interested in the singing group as a way to make friends. Once part of Gemini Blvd., she realized she didn’t want to do anything for a career that didn’t involve singing, and she auditioned for the BFA Musical Theatre program.

“The majority of the group has no theatre background, though” says Trull. “We do a cappella as a fun outlet because we enjoy the music and the performance aspect. Most people are having fun, not looking at it as a career choice.” The range of majors in the group includes Statistics, Global Studies and International Relations, Biomedical Sciences, and Music education.

“This group solidifies our mission to integrate our musical theatre majors into other artistic disciplines,” says Musical Theatre faculty member Earl D. Weaver. “Having the opportunity to collaborate with artists in other departments like Music strengthens their educational experience and broadens their skill set as musical performers. This is an excellent example of how an interdisciplinary project can benefit all its participants.”

Trull believes participating in an a cappella group is beneficial for all students, regardless of major. It enhances education, and teaches discipline, scheduling, and organizational skills.

UCF has four a cappella groups: the all-female So Noted and KeyHarmony, the all-men’s group Crescendudes, and the coed Gemini Blvd. The four ensembles are housed under the Registered Student Organization “Contemporary A Cappella.”

Interest in the singing groups on campus has soared with the popularity of Fox’s Glee and the movie Pitch Perfect, which features the ICCA. More than 100 students auditioned to be part of Gemini Blvd. this fall.

“We aren’t letting our win affect our group,” says Trull. “We had a big dinner so we could all watch a video of the performance. The group is first and foremost for fun and to be a family for each other. We don’t want this to be anything that comes between us and the other groups on campus. In fact, they are even helping us fundraise so we can get to the competition.”

Gemini Blvd.’s winning set included music from VV Brown’s “Shark in the Water” and two mashups: “Skinny Love” by Birdie with “Almost Lover” by Fine Frenzie and “We Found Love” by Rihanna with “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston. They will keep the same set for the semifinals. The music director for the group is Christopher Szczerba.