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Graftonics advance to semifinals PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:17

Grafton High School’s a cappella ensemble makes history after edging out Appleton East by two points in Varsity Vocals competition

    Grafton High School’s a cappella ensemble, the Graftonics, achieved a milestone last Saturday by advancing for the first time to the Midwest semifinals for the Varsity Vocals International Competitive High School A Cappella competition.  
    “We really focused on our performance and what we could do to improve as a group,” Maggie Condon, the high school’s first-year choral director, said. “It was a surprise for us and we weren’t counting on it, but it was a nice way to end the day.”  
    The team narrowly edged out Appleton East High School’s Insongniacs for second place, 298-296, while Port Washington High School’s Limited Edition stole the show with 410.
    “I was more focused on the students’ performance and getting them to feel good about where they were and how they were performing, and not so much on the competitive side of it,” Condon said. “I find that when you focus on the competition, you’re going to be disappointed if you don’t get where you want to be.”
    Seven other teams competed in Port High’s auditorium and the top two advanced to the Midwest semifinals scheduled for March 10 in DeKalb, Ill.
    “There are five other semifinal competitions in the country, so we’re technically rated as one of the top 50 a cappella groups in the nation right now,” Condon said.
    The high school’s a capella ensemble has come a long way since it was formed five years ago and began competing two years later. The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday after school and Sunday afternoon.
    Before the ensemble entered the quarterfinals, it had to submit a video to the ICHSA selection committee in October to prove they were of the right caliber to perform in the competition.
    The Graftonics performed a three-song set list for the quarterfinals, which included contemporary a cappella versions of “Happiness” by NEEDTOBREATHE, “Hold My Heart” by Sara Bareilles and “River” by Bishop Briggs.
    Senior Lee Kottke won the outstanding arrangement award for the song “Happiness”.
    Condon said she doesn’t want her students to rest on their laurels and thinks they can perform even better than last weekend.
    “I like to focus on competing against ourselves more than anything else,” she said. “We have our score sheets from Saturday’s competition, so we’re going to review those and look to advance our own performance. I would like us to get a better score than we did at quarterfinals.”
    If the ensemble advances from the semifinals, it will compete in the international finals in New York City in April.
    “I’m not too focused on what happens next,” Condon said. “I just really want to concentrate on one performance at a time.”

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