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Bringing It Home – The Saint Rose Blog

Club Focus: The Girls Next Door Enter International Competition

Picture of The Girls Next Door from their Instagram account.


The Girls Next Door, the College’s all-women a capella group, will compete with their 13 members in the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella (ICCA) Central Quarterfinal at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) EMPAC Building in Troy, New York, on Saturday, January 25 at 7 p.m. The Golden Notes, the College’s co-ed a cappella group, will also compete with their 16 members. Nine groups will faceoff on Saturday, and the two top groups will advance to the ICCA Central Semifinal.

Girls Next Door President Lizmarie Garcia Rivera’20 is a music education major and a tenor in her a capella group. We caught up with her before the competition Saturday to find out what’s next for the team.

Q: Is this the first year Girls Next Door is competing in the ICCA Competition? If not, how many years have you done it?

A: The Girls Next Door has competed previously two other times in 2016 and 2018. In 2016, the Girls placed in quarter-finals and made it to semifinals where they were the only all-female group to proceed that far that year. This year will be the group-as-a-whole’s third attendance with five of the current 13 members completing ICCA preparations for the 2018 and 2020 performances.


Q: What do you do to prepare for the competition?

A: We have to prepare a 12-minute set (not a second more will be allowed) completely a cappella with meaningful choreography. The Girls Next Door typically rehearses a total of four hours a week, but the week before the 2020 competition, we more than double the amount of time spent together, putting hours into the three songs we’ve selected to showcase.


Q: What do you hope to gain from the experience?

A: We hope to gain so much from this experience, that’s why we go every other year! In just five short months that all 13 of us have been together, we’ve put so much effort into performing something people will be just as excited to see as we’re excited to show. We’ve come so far musically and surprised ourselves despite our imperfections.


Q: What goes into preparing for the competition?

A: Our preparations for the competition include perfecting the songs we’ve selected, synchronizing our choreography with the vocals, and then, enjoying the benefit of all of our hard work on the day of the performance with our fellow competitors.


Q: What do you plan on performing?

A: We will be performing our arrangements of “Leave” by Jojo (2004), “Photograph” by Ed Sheeran (2014), and “How to Be a Heartbreaker” by Marina and the Diamonds (2012).


Q: What is your favorite part about participating in competitions like this?

A: The chance to perform for a sizeable crowd of friends, family, and community. From a purely musical standpoint, though, it’s most exciting for us to meet and perform alongside other groups from other schools and get feedback from the judges on how we can continue to grow.


Q: What’s next for Girls Next Door if you win (or don’t win)?

A: What’s next? If we placed first or second place that would be so exhilarating and exciting for us, and that would mean we’d compete at a more regional/local semi-final location in the future. If we don’t place high enough, it is not a waste by any means. Every group on that stage deserves recognition. It’s a fun experience nonetheless. They give out awards as well for the “bests of the night” for female soloist, male soloist, beatboxer/vocal percussion, and original arrangement. In 2018, a Girls Next Door member got the best soloist and a Golden Notes member got the best beatboxer.


Q: How can students support the Girls Next Door?

A: Students, community members, family, and friends can support the Girls Next Door by coming to the event if you’re available on January 25 at RPI’s EMPAC Building. Here is a link to where they can get tickets: If you cannot make it and/or would like to consider helping the Girls Next Door by donating to our student-run group or sending a well-wish before the competition, please reach out via social media! Thanks for the continued support!

Instagram: @gndsaintrose

FB: @The Girls Next Door

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