Alumnus leads

Ben Bram ’06 led the University of Southern California SoCal VoCals to win the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella last Saturday in New York City.

Bram began taking vocal lessons in the summer following his high school graduation.

He is now a sophomore at USC and sings bass in the SoCal VoCals, a 19 member acappella group created in 1996. Bram is also the Music Director of the VoCals.

Upon winning the ICCA West Region Semifinal on March 15 at the Marin Center for the Performing Arts, the VoCals moved on to compete in the finals at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts against the semifinal winners from the five of the six other regions.

Winning the semifinals against eight other collegiate acapella groups was “incredible,” Bram said. “We had never made it to the finals before. It was a shock to us; we were so thrilled to be moving on.”

The VoCals sang “Somebody to Love,” a choral version of “All Things You Are” and “Feeling Good” as performed by Michael Bublé.

“‘All Things You Are’ was the most moving number. It brought people to tears at both the semifinals and finals,” Bram said.

The judging proceass at the finals consisted of five judges individually critique and score each group in five categories.

The categories are Vocal Performance, Visual Performance and Subjective Rank. The VoCals won the ICCA finals under the musical direction of Bram with 454 points.

Judges also deliberate to determine the recipients of the awards for the Outstanding Male and Female Soloist, Outstanding Arrangement, Outstanding Vocal Percussion and Outstanding Choreography. In the semifinals and finals, members of the VoCals received the awards for Outstanding Male Soloist and Outstanding Choreography.

“Of course as parents, we are beaming with pride and we are so grateful to his H-W teachers and mentors who nurtured him,” Bram’s mom, Julie Bram said. “They gave him the skills which now have allowed him to soar.”