Competitive A Cappella at Brookfield Central

Pitch Perfect, but make it high school


Allison Hickmann

True Blue A Capella Members posing together before the competiton.

Selie taken by A Capella advisor with all members (Allison Hickmann)

On February 18th, Brookfield Central’s student-led a cappella group, True blue A Cappella (TBA) competed against nine other high schools’ A Cappella groups at the second Midwest Quarterfinal in Oak Creek at the Oak Creek Performing Arts Center.

TBA is Brookfield Central’s only competitive A Cappella group. They are an audition-only ensemble. True blue acapella was founded in 2020 and this was its first year as a competitive A Cappella group. 

How does competitive a cappella work?

Varsity Vocals is the company that facilitates the International Championship of High school A Capella (ICHSA), many people know about this competition through the popular pitch perfect movie franchise, where college students compete against other A Cappella groups. The College version of this competition is called the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Competitive A Cappella has been around since 1995, and through the years this competition and style of music have increased in popularity.


TBA spent over four months preparing for ICHSA, but before preparing for the quarter-final, they submitted an application and were selected. TBA met two times a week during the musical season, three times a week until January, and in the few weeks before the competition, they met four times a week. 

Choreographer Madeline Hedtke (‘23), an alto stated, “ we had our weekly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rehearsals, then we added Thursday mornings as we got closer. As the choreographer, it was my responsibility to work on the choreo outside of rehearsals so I spent a lot of time in my room after school perfecting our choreo. The lucky side of that though was I never had to work at memorizing the music because I had already listened to it so many times while choreographing.” 

Competition Day

At 2:00 PM all the groups arrived, and they were all ushered to the auditorium, the Oak Creek Performing Arts Center, where they all would be performing later that evening. There, the Varsity Vocals producer spoke to the groups and went through all of the protocols. After that was finished the most anticipated part of the meeting was about to begin, the competition order. Each group sent one representative to the stage to pick a number out of a hat that would then become their performing order. The first person to pick was from TBA, Simran Dhaliwal (‘23), she picked 7. This was their order for soundcheck and the show.  During soundcheck, everything started to feel real. All of the members picked up their assigned mic from the table backstage and walked on stage to perform their set. When asked about when the competition started to feel real, Hedtke stated, “I think the first moment that we picked up the mics and heard ourselves through them really signified that this was real and we were going to be performing in a couple of hours. Either that or waiting backstage with the group to go on stage and feeling that nervous/excited energy from everyone.” 

TBA performed late that evening with the other nine groups. TBA did not place but their performance was still well received. 

For those who are interested in auditioning for TBA, Hedtke has some advice, “Make sure you really love to do this, because if you get in and you’re not ready to give 100% for the group and competition you will not have a good time, but if you love singing and performing, this is the place for you.” This group requires a lot of time and commitment, but the experience is very rewarding.