Eighteen Hilliard Bradley High School students are scheduled to perform Saturday, March 17, in a regional semifinal competition of the International Championship of High School A Cappella at Bowling Green High School in northwest Ohio.
The Shades of Blue vocal group consists of sophomore, junior and senior boys and girls who also are members of Bradley's symphonic choir.
The group advanced from quarterfinals Feb. 23 at Centerville High School and will be one of 70 schools competing in the semifinals, said Kristin Hodgson, director of Shades of Blue. The finals would be April 20 in New York City.
To advance, Shades of Blue would need to place first among the schools from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan to become one of 10 schools to go to the finals, Hodgson said.
But a second- or third-place finish among all the schools would qualify it to submit a taped performance for consideration as a wild-card entry in the final competition, she said.
"We have been rehearsing eight to 10 hours a week, outside school," Hodgson said, more than double the typical four hours of rehearsals. "This is completely student-driven."
The group's numbers include Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" and the more contemporary "Unstoppable" by Sia and "Praying" by Kesha.
Seniors Nate Centa and Sonia Clark are among the members of Shades of Blue.
"This year was different from the past because we took initiative and learned the music on our own," said Centa, who plans to major in music education in college. "Over the summer, we came in with our music already learned and prepared, and we were able to refine our product immediately once the school year started, instead of taking months to learn our pieces."
Clark said she plans to major in vocal performance in college and her experience in Shades of Blue will prepare her well.
"I think just seeing the growth, even from last year when I was first in symphonic choir and Shades of Blue, my personal work ethic has improved, astronomically," Clark said. "Seeing our growth as performers and musicians has been really gratifying."