Kent Clarks take second at ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals


Members of the Kent Clarks pose for a photo.

Madeline Scalzi

The Kent Clarks placed second at the 2018 Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Midwest Quarterfinal on Saturday, held at Wapakoneta High School, near Dayton.

While the Kent Clarks have been selected to participate in the ICCA Midwest Quarterfinals five times since their founding in 2011, this second place win marks the first time Kent State’s first premiere contemporary a cappella group will be advancing to the ICCA semifinals.

“We are so excited to have made it this far,” said Rachel Rudel, a senior human development and family studies major. Rudel joined the Kent Clarks as a freshman in Spring 2015, and is now the president of the organization.

“It’s going to be interesting because we have never faced this, ‘Oh, after quarterfinals we’re still going to be rehearsing’ thing,” Rudel said. “But we will figure it out all together.”

Rudel and Justin MacDonald, the Kent Clarks musical director who is affectionately nicknamed “Juice” by his Clarkmates, said they credit their success in part to the Clarks’ extensive dedication to preparation.

“This was the first time we’ve learned our set as far in advance as we did,” Rudel said. “We had a retreat back in September to learn the music, so by the time we performed it, it was kind of like second nature.”

While they don’t consider Saturday’s performance their best run-through ever, they both agreed that overall they had a solid set and performance.

“We gradually went sharp throughout the whole thing, so by the end of it our soloist had to sing a lot higher than they are typically used to singing, but we all kind of acknowledged that it was happening, and we powered through it together,” MacDonald said.

“We shifted up together so it wasn’t noticeable,” Rudel said.

The ICCA semifinals will be held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, March 10, giving the group just over one month to practice.

“A lot of the points that we lost (in the quarterfinals), we will be able to hopefully make minor adjustments throughout the next month and a half to be able to fix, and hopefully earn some of those points back,” MacDonald said. “This is kinda new territory for us, so a lot of it will be about fundraising and how do we get there.”


Madeline Scalzi is the student life and education reporter. Contact her at [email protected]