The SoCal VoCals, a USC a cappella group, will complete their tour of Hong Kong and be back in Los Angeles on Wednesday after performing at the 2016 Hong Kong International A Cappella Festival on March 11 and 12. The group, on the heels of its victory in the 2015 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, received a special invitation by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups to perform at the annual event, which brings overseas a cappella groups together.
The Hong Kong youth group has been organizing this two-month-long festival for the past seven years. The festival includes indoor concerts, public and street performances and workshops and has become an eagerly anticipated annual event by many in the community. The 2016 edition of the international extravaganza saw an audience turnout of more than 5,000 at the arena in Queen Elizabeth Stadium.
A team of 14 singers consisting of veteran and new spring recruits was led by Jonathan von Mering, Nathan Heldman, Henry Mattei, Aaron Jung and Devon Lawrence. Apart from the SoCal VoCals, other popular a cappella groups from across the globe shared the stage. Seven from the U.S., Ommm from France, Metro Vocal Group for Hong Kong, HamojiN from Japan, HKFYG Hong Kong Melody Makers and festival ambassador Ng Yip Kwan also attended the festival.
The group said that their performance was well-received by the audience, and that it was one of the best appreciations they have received.
“Other than general sound concerns, our main goal was to perform with energy,” said von Mering, president of the SoCal VoCals. “The audience was very receptive — they were bigger a cappella fans than we usually see in the [United] States.”
Other a cappella groups from the USC community felt that the group’s achievement represented the greater work of USC’s vocal groups. Eric Hahn, a member of the mixed a cappella group Reverse Osmosis, lauded the SoCal VoCals’ work overseas and emphasized the support that such groups on campus give each other.
“Everyone in the a cappella community is very close, and everybody gets to know each other,” Hahn said. “It’s always cool to see friends of ours get real recognition in the broader a cappella community.”