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Ram Jams Perform Alongside Best in the Nation

Though considered “young” compared to other high schools a cappella groups, the students of Ram Jams proved their prowess by performing their way through quarterfinals and Mid-Atlantic semifinals to shine on stage for the national finals of the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA).

Earlier this month at the Town Hall venue in New York City, Ram Jams faced groups from California, Texas, and other regions including the eventual winners from Kansas City. They performed a three-song set that focused on the difficulties of growing up, and that was the product of collaboration.

“Students are heavily involved in every part of the process," said Ram Jams Director Matthew Wolf. They contributed ideas, and Wolf chose a few to weave into a theme.

They performed “Growing Pains” by Alessia Cara, “Runaway” by AURORA, and “I Know A Place” by MUNA with each song featuring a Ram Jams soloist. Choreography, facial expression, and body language helped translate the moods, feelings, and stories of those songs. At the end, every Ram revealed a rainbow-colored wristband that expressed support for the LGBTQ+ community.

Junior Gerry Alvarez took home an award for Outstanding Choreography in the quarterfinal round. This was the second year Ram Jams were named champions of the Mid-Atlantic region. At the national-level event, they joined other schools to be directed by Ben Bram of the a cappella break-out group Pentatonix, and senior Tommy Gilligan was picked from the 250+ students to perform with the electronically boosted bass microphone.

All 18 members of Ram Jams are part of the High School's Chorus program. They were chosen after auditions in October and had just three months to select music, plan choreography to emphasize the theme, and practice for quarterfinals. Unlike Chorus with its dedicated class time, Ram Jams work after school one day per week until ramping up to twice a week during competition season. The run-up to the national-level event, dubbed “Jam Week,” involves daily rehearsals of two to three hours.
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