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Villanova A Cappella Group, Supernovas, Caps Off Historic Year with Memorable Performance

Villanova A Cappella Group, Supernovas, Caps Off Historic Year with Memorable Performance

Villanova a cappella group, Supernovas, ended the 2021-22 academic year on a high note as a top 10 finisher at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Hosted by Varsity Vocals, it is the same competition featured in the movie Pitch Perfect.

For the first time ever, the Supernovas took home the Mid-Atlantic ICCA Semifinal Championship, advancing to the ICCA finals. On April 23, they competed on Broadway at the Town Hall Theater in New York City. Competing against 600 other groups, the Supernovas finished amongst the top 10 and made history as the first a cappella group in Villanova history to do so.

The Supernovas’ 10-minute ICCA set (consisting of four songs), titled Delirium, was inspired by and focused on mental health. The group chose to tell a story about finding peace through singing and choreography. 

“We hoped to tell each audience member something they need to hear through our performance and bring awareness to such an important topic,” said Emily Cavanaugh, president of Supernovas.

The Supernovas’ set included songs from artists such as Kanye West, Lennon Stella, Eryn Allen Kane, and Darlingside. A video of the ICCA finals performance can be found here.

“This year, the theme of mental health and inner battle was suggested by a group member, and we all immediately felt connected to it,” says Cavanaugh. “Through our vocals and choreography, we wanted to display every aspect of mental health struggles. More than anything, we wanted to highlight that there is a happy ending—not that the struggles go away completely, but that you can rely on others to hold your head up high.”

The Supernovas received additional accolades in the ICCA quarterfinals and semifinals. Madeline Wujek took home the Outstanding Arrangement award in the quarterfinals and semifinals and Cavanaugh was awarded Outstanding Choreography in the quarterfinals and semifinals. Additionally, Ryan Hartnett received the Outstanding Vocal Percussion award in the quarterfinals.

“As a group, the Supernovas had the same challenges many did coming out of COVID-19, but they got their ‘groove’ back quickly,” said Christine Nass, Assistant Director of Student Performing Arts and advisor for A Cappella. “Even with five new students—making up more than a third of the group—they were performance ready and ready to excel! They learned a lot from this experience, being on that iconic stage, and performing with the absolute best groups in the US. The University is so proud of their accomplishments and can’t wait to see what the next years bring.”

The Supernovas are Villanova’s oldest co-ed a cappella group. Throughout the year, the group performs at a variety of events both on and off Villanova's campus. In the past, the Supernovas performed at benefit concerts for Hurricane Relief, toured New York City and Washington, D.C. with other a cappella groups, and performed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts —along with competing in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.

The Supernovas are composed of students from across various academic majors and disciplines—environmental science, nursing, neuroscience, criminology, communication, and more. Its members include an ROTC Cadet, as well as a member of Villanova’s swimming and diving team.