Port, Grafton groups on a roll

Limited Edition builds on its legacy, Graftonics carves out a reputation of its own by placing first, second again in Varsity Vocals a cappella competition

PERFORMING AT Alverno College’s Pitman Theater on Jan. 26, Limited Edition placed first in quarterfinals of the annual Varsity Vocals a cappella competition. Members of the group are Ivy Anderson, Taylor Piotrowski, Emma Delie, Kaytlin Kassens, Jane Kautz, Lyla Waranka, Celeste Hermans, Laura Cashin, Regan Surges, Eli Buczek, Tyler Grant, Tyler Schaefer, Zach Gephart, Isaac McKinney, Alex Orten, Alex Poull and Hayden Ortiz. Allison Calteux photography
Ozaukee Press staff

One is a group driven by legacy. The other is on a mission to create one. And both are on a roll.

Defending its reputation as an a cappella powerhouse, Port Washington High School’s Limited Edition won the Jan. 26 quarterfinal round of the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella at Alverno College’s Pitman Theater.

Grafton High School’s Graftonics, a relative newcomer to a cappella competition, showed it’s not a flash in the pan by repeating as the runner-up in the quarterfinal.

Both groups, which will meet again in the March 23 semifinals at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, had award-winning individual performances.

Limited Edition’s Alex Orten was named outstanding vocal percussionist.

“He literally just picked it up last year,” Port High Vocal Director Dennis Gephart said.

Graftonics’ McKenna Craun was named outstanding soloist.

While the ensembles shared success in this year’s quarterfinals, they represent two a cappella programs in different stages of development.

Members of this year’s Port High group have a reputation to defend. Limited Edition has advanced to the semifinals in eight of the last 10 years, qualified for the finals in New York City six times and won the championship in 2010, Gephart said.

“This year’s group is working on continuing the legacy of Limited Edition,” he said.

Noting that Wisconsin Public Television is currently filming a documentary on a cappella featuring Limited Edition, Gephart said the interviewer is asking members why they are part of the group.

“Almost everyone has said, ‘I saw Limited Edition when I was in elementary school or middle school and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of it,’” he said.

The Graftonics, on the other hand, are working to build a legacy, and in doing so have found inspiration in other groups,  including Limited Edition, Grafton High Vocal Director Maggie Condon said.

“Obviously Limited Edition has a long history of success,” she said. “This really isn’t a rivalry. If anything, we look up to them.

“In a cappella competition, it doesn’t feel like you’re competing against other groups. You’re competing against yourself to become better.”

Condon taught at Webster Transitional Middle School in Cedarburg before taking a job at DeForest Area High School where, with advice from Gephart, she started an a cappella group. She then came to Grafton High School, where she inherited a fledgling a cappella program.

“Dennis Gephart has been like a mentor to me,” she said. 

Limited Edition and the Graftonics will be among 10 groups competing in the Varsity Vocals Midwest semifinals at the Pabst Theater. The winner will advance to the International Championship of High School A Cappella finals on April 26 at The Town Hall in New York City.


Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login