Oakland’s Vocal Rush Competes in National A Cappella Competition


Caption: Vocal Rush (left to right): back row – Barbara Deveuax-Griffith, Genesis Chambers, Divine Pongtorn, Yasmeena Datcher, Reilly Savage, Mikaela Swanson; front row – Caretha Richardson, Music Director and Founder Lisa Forkish, Lauren Blakely and Hannah Herzfeld. Not pictured are Ella Garcia, Imani Wilson and Andrew Creekbaum. Photo courtesy of Vocal Rush.


This past weekend, Oakland School for the Art’s renowned a cappella group Vocal Rush took the stage at The Town Hall venue in New York City for the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) Finals. After delivering a standout performance, they were crowned ICHSA champions for the fourth time since the group’s inception in 2011.

Vocal Rush – a group of 12 high school students from Oakland School for the Arts – was one of the top nine groups in the country to win their semi-final competition and advance to the ICHSA Finals this year.
Filled with excitement and conviction, Vocal Rush owned the stage, singing about the power of love, light and mercy to heal our hearts and change our broken world. Their set included “All Is Full of Love” by Bjork, “People” by Laura Mvula and “Have Mercy” by Eryn Allen Kane.


The singers also performed two of their songs as part of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals at the historic Beacon Theater.

As this year’s ICHSA champions, Vocal Rush received a cash prize, trophy and for the first time, they will advance to a competition hosted by Varsity Vocals, The A Cappella Open. The A Cappella Open is held on September 23, 2017 at Carnegie Hall where Vocal Rush will compete against professional and college groups for a chance to win $25,000.
Vocal Rush students are Lauren Blakely, Hannah Herzfeld, Ella Garcia, Genesis Chambers, Mikaela Swanson, Reilly Savage, Caretha Richardson, Yasmeena Datcher, Barbara Deveuax-Griffith, Divine Pongtorn, Imani Wilson and Andrew Creekbaum.


Led by Music Director and Founder Lisa Forkish, Vocal Rush also received national ICHSA championship titles in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016; a first-place win at the L.A. A Cappella Festival; and has competed on the NBC a cappella show “The Sing Off.”

What’s next for the high school a cappella sensation? On Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m., Vocal Rush will perform alongside the Vocal Music Department from Oakland School for the Arts in their annual show, “Mixtape: Next Generation Artist Connection” at The Fox Theater in Oakland.

The show will feature covers of local Bay Area legends and rising acts such as Ledisi, Fantastic Negrito, Goapele, The Seshen, Green Day and Kev Choice. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com.


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