After a semester of hard work and practices, a UTD a cappella group won a competition in early December.
UTD Dhunki won Anahat, a competition that is one of seven “bit-comps,” where South Asian a cappella teams compete to earn points. These bit-comps lead up to a final competition held at the end of the school year, the All-American Avaaz, where the top-scoring teams from across the nation compete for the final prize.
“We’re planning on going to another comp in January in Pittsburgh, and we’re hoping we can place there too,” said Namratha Niranjan, a psychology and child development sophomore and one of the two leaders of the group.
After their win at Anahat, Dhunki is now in second place in the “race” to the final competition. To participate in the All-American Avaaz, Dhunki will need to maintain its performance and remain at the top of the country’s a cappella teams. The competition in January will also award points that will ultimately add up to determine if Dhunki will be able to qualify for the final.
“Our set and our team, it’s very emotionally intact, we connect with each other a lot, so the only thing we told the team is to just have fun, pretend we’re just in the rehearsal room, because that’s the easiest way to calm down,” said Aashika Ashok, a biology sophomore and the other leader of the team.
The group faced another obstacle — the overall inexperience of the team, as the team is composed of mostly first and second year students, with only one member that is older.
“We had rehearsals every day during the weeks leading up to the comp, and at one point we had a member who wasn’t able to make it to three of those,” Niranjan said. “A lot of us lost our voices the week before the performance.”
The group held regular practices throughout the semester, but to prepare for the upcoming competition, they rehearsed even more. Having practice every day proved to be a minor concern for Dhunki’s members after the group won at Anahat.
“Every single person pulled through,” Ashok said. “That’s the thing about a cappella, every single voice matters. For us to pull through like that, it really meant a lot.”
Anahat is not the end of the road for the group, as more competitions are coming up through the rest of the school year, leading towards the All-American Avaaz.
“Really, we just want to share our love for music because we’re very close this year and our (sound) is really good, and we wanted to share that with as many people as possible and expose Dhunki more,” Ashok said.