Serra Sowers

First Take is comprised of thirteen dedicated performers with a passion for music.

Shafana Mohammad, Reporter

First Take, Seminole High School’s renowned a capella group, placed first at the Varsity Vocal quarterfinals of the International Championships of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) on Feb. 17. This is their first time competing in ICHSA and the musicians will be going to Douglasville, Ga. on March 24 for the semifinals.

“We were so surprised we came in first place at our quarter final, and we are headed to semifinals over spring break.  We are excited to represent Florida and Seminole High School!” said First Take director Dalys Parkhurst.

The current season of ICHSA has hosted about 204 singing groups from high schools all across the country. The purpose of the quarterfinals was to determine which groups would move on to the semifinals, or regional tournaments. The group that wins the upcoming Georgia semifinals will represent their region at the final competition at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 20.

Three groups were selected from the quarterfinals to compete in the next level.  First Take placed first with 403 points; Noise Complaint, a group from West Orange High placed second with 364 points; High Key, a group from Apopka High, placed third with 334 points.

 “[Winning] feels amazing. This is our first time competing, so to be able to have won at the first level is  so rewarding,” said First Take senior Shannon O’Donnell.

O’Donnell received a special award for Outstanding Choreography along with senior Jabari Kelly. However, they continue to perfect the choreography for semifinals. 

“We spend about half of our class days making sure our choreography is sharp, and the other half fixing our dynamics and making our musicality stronger,” said O’Donnell.

Participating in First Take has not only allowed the musicians to explore their musical talent and find inspiration, but to also be a part of something greater: a family. As part of the elite a capella group, members of First Take enjoy a very close relationship. They constantly encourage each other to strive for improvement.

“It feels so surreal to be moving forward in Atlanta because it was our first time competing at ICHSA. What I love about First Take is that everyone has something special to share with the group. The talent is endless and we love being an a capella family,” said senior Angel Perez.