Inside CAS

College of Arts and Sciences


UNCW Seabelles Compete in International Collegiate Championship

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Written by Stephanie Spencer ’18; Photo by Jennifer Chin

The Seabelles, UNCW's only female a cappella group, recently travelled to Florida to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). The ICCA is a highly competitive a cappella competition.

If this sounds familiar, it is because the ICCA was featured in the film “Pitch Perfect!” The Seabelles submitted a video of their set in October and were invited to compete in November. “It is pretty selective, really,” said Maddie Controne, a biology major. “They have to pick groups from all over the world. So it really is an honor to be selected just to be a part of it.” 

This was the first time that an a capella group from UNCW was invited to compete in the ICCA. Charlotte Kornegay, a communication studies major, shared how the ride to Florida went. “It was about an 8 hour or 9 hour drive. Getting up at 3 a.m. to start our drive was pretty fun though. I was expecting all the girls to sleep in the beginning, but we were all so excited, we stayed up and we jammed to some good music.”

While they were in Florida, the Seabelles were also able to bond over their shared opportunity. “I personally liked it because of the bonding experience. Everyone was together, we celebrated a birthday, and it was just a lot of fun,” said Sarah Morrison, a psychology major.

Preparing for the ICCA was one of the biggest challenges the Seabelles faced, according to Kornegay. “We literally practiced for a few hours every single day. I cannot tell you how much sleep I lost the first few weeks of the year. It was so worth it though because we bonded so much as a group. It was hard, but we did it, and we worked hard to get to Florida.”

When the Seabelles arrived at the ICCA, they encountered about 450 different schools, which they were competing against. “The best part of the ICCA was being able to have the opportunity to see what other groups our age could accomplish. It gave me a lot of inspiration as to what we could achieve as an a capella group,” said Controne.

The Seabelles made it to the quarterfinals. “In that ranking there are 10 groups, and from there the top two make it to semifinals. I hope, in the future, we can advance past quarterfinals. It would be huge for us,” said Haley Norris, president of the group.

The UNCW administration, the UNCW community, and the local Wilmington area supported the Seabelles’ participation in the ICCA competition. In order to travel to Florida, Norris, requested support from the Campus Activities & Involvement Center and Chancellor José V. Sartarelli. “We have a lot of support for sure. When we had the news interviews about the ICCA, everybody in the Wilmington community rallied around the Seabelles. That was definitely a huge part of just going to the ICCA...knowing we had that support,” said Briana Ross, a communication studies major. 

Kornegay reflected on the Seabelles popularity on campus, “Music is so important. It's the emotion and the song that really hits hard. Music can add the perfect touch to any situation, event, or feeling. The Seabelles are so important because we can bring people together. Forget about the crazy things going on in this world and enjoy some beautiful music.” 

Currently, there are 16 members in the group:

Jordan Cannon
Madeleine Cutrone (music director)
Avianne Harris
Charlotte Kornegay

Jessica Freedman
Callie Heisler
Lyndah Muthama
Haley Norris (president)
Megan Yadusky

Allison Boggs
Angela Cotton
Sarah Morrison (treasurer)
Brianna Ross (vice president)

Kelly McGhee
Erica Ranosa
Rose Reese