The Buffalo Chips have reached a new high note.
For the first time in their 15-year history, the club has qualified to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella finals. The ICCA finals will be held on April 24 at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.
The Buffalo Chips have been designated as the best a cappella group in the Mid-Atlantic region. They join the University of Southern California of the West region, the University of Georgia of the South region, Northwestern University of the Midwest region, and Berklee College of Music from the Northeast region. This year's National Wild Card Champion is the University of Oregon.
"We're going up against very established a cappella groups," said Dan Stafford, a sophomore psychology major and the assistant music director for The Buffalo Chips. "We're definite underdogs, [but we're] pretty excited; we've never been there before in our 15-year history."
This year, The Buffalo Chips qualified to compete in the ICCA quarterfinals in Pittsburgh, where they came in second to the University of Toronto's group "Onoscatopoeia." After winning "Best Solo" and "Best Arrangement," The Buffalo Chips advanced to the semifinals at Rutgers with UT's "Onoscatapoeia". Here, they placed first against seven other competitors and took the award for "Best Choreographed."
Next on their exciting path is the final competition where they will be performing "Fireflies" by Owl City, "Drive" by Incubus, and "Army" by Ben Folds. Each song is accompanied by a choreographed routine in which the group's unity is accentuated.
Outfitted in their deep blue shirts and loosely swinging white ties, The Buffalo Chips are a true representation of UB pride.
According to Darren Cotton, a senior linguistics major and the business manager for The Buffalo Chips, the colors were selected to radiate a UB-theme and make the movements more noticeable.
"We're glad to get the UB name out there," Cotton said.
Preparation has been and will continue to be more intense in order to be fully ready for the competition.
"We've been practicing three times a week," Stafford said. "Throughout the year we learn arrangements …and running choreography. Now we're in finals-mode full swing."
Despite their concern that they will be competing against groups that were established earlier, The Chips trust that they will be competitive and adequately prepared.
"We're looking at videos on YouTube.com and we [know we] can do this," Stafford said. "It's a big stage and I'm sure some of us will have nerves, but we'll get over it.
Past the nervousness, enthusiasm pervades the general atmosphere of the group.
"I think it's awesome to go to NYC with friends," Cotton said. "It's nice to have supportive alumni; they were psyched for us too."
The Buffalo Chips also had their 15th Anniversary Alumni Show at Slee Concert Hall in which alumni came from across the country to celebrate and observe the progress the men have made since the group's founding.
The Chips are making incredible and unprecedented strides but haven't forgotten what brought them together in the first place.
"It's really fun… that's why we do it," Stafford said.