Geneseo’s premiere co-ed a cappella group Exit 8 traveled to Syracuse University to compete in the Regional Quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella on Saturday Jan. 31. Led by president senior Jenna Cecchini, vice president junior Nicole Peinkofer and musical director junior Sam Weinstein, the group placed fourth out of 10 schools at the event. Founded in 2003, Exit 8 is Geneseo’s oldest co-ed a cappella group. This year marks the first time a Geneseo group has participated in a competitive intercollegiate a cappella event. This experience signifies a major step forward for the group; utilizing a nationwide increase in the popularity of a cappella to take the group to the next level.
“A lot of us joined the group hoping to someday compete,” Weinstein said. “I knew I wanted to do this from the moment I got involved in a cappella.”
This new opportunity hasn’t come without apprehension from the group, however. “We had never even competed before in a smaller competition of any kind,” Weinstein said. “This was very new to us.”
Peinkofer echoed Weinstein’s sentiments and added, “We normally don’t do choreography, so that’s something new we’re also doing because a lot of the groups do choreography.” Despite the challenges, the growing pains were all part of the process for Exit 8.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re in a position like this,” Cecchini said. “I think it’s a cool privilege that we have.”
Though Exit 8 did not place high enough to move on to the next round of competition, the experience was ultimately more positive than negative for the group. Weinstein explained the positive mentality of the group prior to the event.
“With the ICCAs, we are going there to perform,” he said. “We are going there to show the a cappella community what we’ve been working on … and we’re really happy about that.” To Weinstein and the group, the ranking was not as important as the opportunity to compete.
With one trip to the ICCAs under its belt, Exit 8 has started to think about the future. “Now that we know that [selection for the competition is] something that is attainable and it’s something that we can achieve as a group, I do hope it’s something that becomes a tradition,” Cecchini said.
While selection may have been a surprise this year, Exit 8 has high hopes to build on the experience for the future. “I don’t think that we really expected that we would stand out as much as we did,” Cecchini said. “Now that we have this opportunity, I think that in the future the group might be encouraged to do something like this.”
Despite their elimination from the competition this year, the members of Exit 8 looked back on the experience fondly. “It was a great experience and it’s something that has brought our group closer together,” Cecchini said. “I hope that the other groups on campus will be encouraged to do similar types of things.”