College

Buck That! — A Day To Remember

February 27, 2012   ·   By   ·   No Comments   ·   Posted in College, Competitions, Event

Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 25th, 2012 was a day that Buck That! would not soon for­get.  I had the plea­sure and honor of fol­low­ing them in most of their day long, soon to be epic jour­ney, as they embarked on ded­i­cat­ing the day doing what they love: Singing.

The day began at nine in the morn­ing as they all met up in the lobby of Weigel Hall at The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity.  One by one they strag­gled in, greet­ing each other with excite­ment and nerves.  While envi­sion­ing what their day was to encom­pass, they did not lose sight of each of the three major events that awaited them.

Their first stop was at ten, at the Renais­sance Hotel in Down­town Colum­bus, Ohio where they were set to audi­tion for America’s Got Tal­ent.  This wasn’t a typ­i­cal open audi­tion; this was a closed audi­tion they were specif­i­cally invited to.

Once there, they found the per­son in charge and began the pro­ce­dure that was laid out; Paper­work, ID’s, series of ques­tions, and then wait­ing for their turn to audition.

Walk­ing in the room, the judges were straight ahead with only a small faux wood dance floor in the cen­ter sep­a­rat­ing the audi­tion­ers from Buck That!.  Imme­di­ately upon look­ing at this, they real­ized that per­haps their per­for­mance was not typ­i­cal of most as it was much smaller than what was needed for their choreography.

This was no deter­rent.  They took to the faux dance floor and ran through a mod­i­fied ver­sion of “It’s Gonna Be Me”.  The judges asked them if they had another song that they might be able to see, so with­out hes­i­ta­tion, the guys got into posi­tion and sang “Poi­son”, by Bell Biv DeVoe. The judges con­tin­ued to ask them a num­ber of ques­tions in an attempt to under­stand the his­tory and story behind the group.  After the sim­plis­tic drill of ques­tions and answers, the guys thanked the judges and those hold­ing the audi­tions for their time, and Buck That! exited to con­tinue on the next leg of their journey.

Buck That! was now on their way to Ket­ter­ing Fair­mont High School (home to the renowned Eleventh Hour) to com­pete in the one com­pe­ti­tion that is cov­eted by all col­lege A Cap­pella groups:  The Inter­na­tional Cham­pi­onship of Col­le­giate A Cap­pella, also known as the ICCA’s.

Hav­ing been accepted into the ICCA com­pe­ti­tion ear­lier this year, amongst the deep­est pool of entries the ICCA has ever received, they had already accom­plished more than any other offi­cial A Cap­pella group from The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity.  Buck That!, for the first time, would be com­pet­ing in the equiv­a­lent to the first round of a play-off for col­le­giate A Cappella.

The quar­ter­fi­nal is the first step along a could-be path for any group that com­petes.  Each of the regions, North­east, South, Mid-Atlantic, Mid­west and West, all have a series of com­pe­ti­tions to bring about the best groups from all over the coun­try.  The top two win­ners of each regional quar­ter­fi­nal then go on to com­pete at the regional semi­fi­nal.  Then, only the over­all win­ner of the regional semi­fi­nal is pro­vided the oppor­tu­nity to com­pete for the title in New York City.

Once at Ket­ter­ing, they checked in with the regional pro­ducer to receive their instruc­tions on what to do next.  They were shown to their room where they could place their stuff and begin prepar­ing for the sound check.  As they sat down their items and began to pre­pare for what lay ahead, it began to finally sink in what really was about to happen.

Hav­ing only been around a lit­tle over a year, Buck That! is the first offi­cial group to rep­re­sent The Ohio State Uni­ver­sity at the ICCA’s.  Despite The Ohio State University’s stand­ing nation­ally as one of the largest schools, and in the Big Ten regard­ing every­thing else that it does, it was not until 2009 that A Cap­pella sprung to life on cam­pus; going from one group, the MeshugaN­otes, to nine groups in less than four years.  They are quickly becom­ing an equiv­a­lent rival in Col­le­giate A Cap­pella to some of the best uni­ver­si­ties in the Mid­west, such as the Uni­ver­sity of Up North.

Soon after Buck That! got set­tled into their room, it was time for an ICCA meet­ing with the folks from Var­sity Vocals on the rules and pro­ce­dures.  As all the groups began enter­ing the room with their var­i­ous match­ing jack­ets, polos, blaz­ers, and uni­forms, it was clear that Buck That! was amidst the elite in their region. After a brief­ing on the rules, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each group went on stage to draw a num­ber, which would deter­mine the per­for­mance order. Buck That!’s pres­i­dent, D.W. Routte, drew a piece of paper and opened it to see “6” writ­ten. This meant Buck That! would be open­ing the sec­ond half of the show, an excel­lent draw for them.

After the draw, Buck That! went around intro­duc­ing them­selves and meet­ing other groups they had only pre­vi­ous heard about, fill­ing the time until their short, ten minute sound check.  Just as they were really mak­ing sure their set and sound was ready, their time was up.  All they could do now is wait.

Thirty min­utes before the show began, they sat among their room talk­ing and prepar­ing them­selves men­tally for the event.  Their set was not until the sec­ond half, but they still con­tin­ued to talk and go over items as if they were on in two minutes.

The show began at eight.  The first half was full of enter­tain­ment as mul­ti­ple groups got to per­form their pre­pared twelve minute set.  Full of rock songs and bal­lads, with every­thing from Adele to a mod­i­fied (and hilar­i­ous) ver­sion of Mr. Grinch, the audi­ence showed their equal and joined sup­port after each set with the expected amount of applause.  This went on for a lit­tle over an hour and at nine-fifteen, the first round of groups had com­pleted and a brief inter­mis­sion began.

Dur­ing the inter­mis­sion, Buck That!quickly exited the audi­to­rium after watch­ing their fel­low com­peti­tors take the stage and headed straight for the warm-up room, since they were first up dur­ing the sec­ond half.  They began dis­cussing what they just saw which quickly turned into last minute reminders about all the lit­tle things they had been pol­ish­ing; Keep chore­og­ra­phy tight and together, remem­ber the scene changes, look for­ward… the list went on.

Going over some notes.

Going over some notes.

Music Director, Doug Burnner, giving last minute pointers and reminders.

Music Direc­tor, Doug Brun­ner, giv­ing last minute point­ers and reminders.

As the inter­mis­sion win­dow grew to a close, they formed a cir­cle for some last minute pep-talk about how far they have come and that regard­less of the out­come they already had learned so much from watch­ing the others.

Last minute song and chat before they go live.

Last minute song and chat before they go live.

When all was done, they headed for the stage door.

Heading for the stage door.

Head­ing for the stage door.

Begin round two: Nine-thirty pm.

After the host did the typ­i­cal read­ing of the group biog­ra­phy for intro­duc­tion, Buck That! ush­ered them­selves to the stage quickly, tak­ing their place to begin their set.

Their energy was high and showed no fear or uncer­tainty about what was to hap­pen next.

While not flaw­less, their set exe­cu­tion was any­thing but bor­ing.  With each scene change and tran­si­tion they con­tin­ued to put their energy at full and show­ing the world they were here to win.  The soloists were pas­sion­ate and engag­ing, and never drowned by the back­ing voices.  Their set con­tin­ued to build energy with the very end con­sist­ing of a well arranged mash up that con­sisted of all three songs they just per­formed which really brought it home.

After the last note was sung, the audi­ence rang with applause which echoed their feel­ing of the per­for­mance.  Amaz­ing!  Each clap was filled with more than just plac­ing two hands together.  They were willed with enthu­si­asm and excite­ment, all wrapped into an engag­ing power as each clap echoed what they had just felt from Buck Thats! per­for­mance.  The rest of the sec­ond half, while bet­ter than the first, went off with­out a hitch as each of the remain­ing groups also gave their all as they com­peted for the cov­eted first and sec­ond place spots.

At 11:15pm, the results were finally in.  Kettering’s’ own Eleventh Hour had wowed the audi­ence for the past fif­teen min­utes while the scores were being tal­lied by the judges.  All groups joined the pro­ducer on the stage to await the results.

First began the spe­cial awards:

Best Arrange­ment:  Doug Brun­ner of Buck That! for Kryptonite

Best Vocal Per­cus­sion: Meg Hickey of Rip Chords from the Uni­ver­sity of Illinois

Best Chore­og­ra­phy:  “Buddy” Gan­non of Buck That! for the entire set.

Actual Place­ment:

Sec­ond run­ner up (3rd Place): Michi­gan State Uni­ver­sity – State of Fifths

First run­ner up (2nd Place):  Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois — Rip Chords

The Rip Chords were good and very deserv­ing of either first or sec­ond place so this was a no brainer.  How­ever if they got sec­ond, the ques­tion still remained as to who got first because again, the evening did have quite a great num­ber of per­for­mances.  The room remained dead silent as the pro­ducer removed the paper to read the name off the sheet…

First Place:  Buck That! of The Ohio State University.

Just like their per­for­mance over an hour prior, the crowed went crazy with enthu­si­asm.  While the other groups began to usher them­selves off stage so the win­ning group could per­form a clos­ing num­ber, the look among the mem­bers of Buck That! was the equiv­a­lent of a deer in head­lights.  There was blank amaze­ment and sheer shock amongst them that resulted in a sort of stam­mered stage pres­ence as the stage emptied.

As the last few peo­ple exited the stage, Buck That! had momen­tar­ily over­come their emo­tion to con­gre­gate and per­form their clos­ing number.

Performing their show closing number after the awards.

Per­form­ing their show clos­ing num­ber after the awards.

It was 11:30pm and the show was offi­cially over.  Buck That! headed back to their room to begin gath­er­ing their belong­ings, share in emo­tional com­radery and pre­pare for the next stage of the jour­ney.  Before leav­ing the room, they pulled together to sing Car­men Ohio as a way to close this part of the night.

Emotions run high as they embrace and reflect on their win.

Emo­tions run high as they embrace and reflect on their win.

Hugs all around as their hard word payed off.

Hugs all around as their hard work payed off.

"Buddy" in excitement not only for the group, but also his win for best choreography.

Buddy” in excite­ment not only for the group, but also his win for best choreography.

 

And back to Colum­bus for part three.

Leaving Kettering and heading back to Columbus.

Leav­ing Ket­ter­ing and head­ing back to Columbus.

 

90minutes after leaving, smiles still exist despite being 1:30am.

90minutes after leav­ing, smiles still exist despite being 1:30am.

1:30am:  Back in Colum­bus they recon­vened at the Ohio Union to pre­pare to sing for Buck­eyethon, a 24hr dance marathon for can­cer aware­ness and research.  Once all were together inside, they imme­di­ately found their go-to per­son to begin prepa­ra­tions for the next per­for­mance at 2:00am.  At this point, there were no warm ups needed as they all still had mod­er­ate amounts of adren­a­line run­ning in their veins and were surely singing in the cars on the drive back.

2:00am:  Buck That! takes the stage for Buck­eyethon and opens just like they did hours ear­lier, except now they went from hav­ing a set, to a win­ning set.  While not nearly as per­fect as ear­lier that evening, no one cared.  The room full of col­lege stu­dents (albeit mostly females) ogled at the charis­matic group on stage and sang along with each of the songs, scream­ing at them as if Buck That! were N’Sync and this was 1999.

Performing their set for Buckeyethon, enthusiasm is not lacking in the least.

Per­form­ing their set for Buck­eyethon, enthu­si­asm is not lack­ing in the least.

Rocking out "Poision" by Bel Biv Devoe.

Rock­ing out “Poi­sion” by Bel Biv Devoe.

Once done, every per­son in the venue was seem­ingly just as excited, if not more, and con­tin­ued about their danc­ing as Buck That! exited back into the hallway.

2:20am:  Time for food.  Head­ing down to Sloopy’s, they finally sat down to rem­i­nisce about what an over­whelm­ing and fan­tas­tic day it has been. All through the day, regard­less of the three major events, they had also sung Happy Birth­day three times for three dif­fer­ent peo­ple, and also ser­e­naded a girl who just wasn’t hav­ing a very good month.  All while, each time being asked, remained chip­per and never said no.

What happens when a girl is feeling down? Buck That! happens.

What hap­pens when a girl is feel­ing down? Buck That! happens.

Shows are all over, and nothing but a large smile from Buck That! President, D.W.

Shows are all over, and noth­ing but a large smile from Buck That! Pres­i­dent, D.W.

While eat­ing and chat­ting, they never lost sight about what the real world brought them next; Home­work, rela­tion­ships, class project, it was never end­ing.  They talked about the whole day like it was any other.

With their day hav­ing drawn to a close, the mem­bers of Buck That! remained hum­ble.  Excite­ment about both the results of the day’s events, and what lay ahead for them was ram­pant among their minds.  As all was said and done, this was surely a day they will never forget.

3:30am and the day is done.

3:30am and the day is done.