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Central Connections Magazine

Singers Take the LA Stage

A cappella group, Boots 'n' Cats, makes it to the semifinals

Seven CWU students carried their tune from Ellensburg to Los Angeles for the Varsity Vocals International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) regional semifinals last spring.

Emily Salisbury, Nicole Prigge, Antonio Fernandez, Aryn Chatterton, Bo Mendez, Sarah Hemenway and Ben Lundgren are Boots 'n' Cats, performing covers with toe-tapping beats and creative, custom takes on familiar pop music that force anyone within earshot to groove along.

The name Boots 'n' Cats is not a pairing of cowboy apparel and CWU’s wildcat mascot. Repeating the words boots and cats while emphasizing only the consonants is a way for beginners to grasp the concept of beat boxing, aka vocal percussion. The name was suggested as a joke—but stuck.

Fernandez is the group's resident beat boxer and bass singer. He took home an individual award for outstanding vocal percussion at the quarterfinals where the team finished second out of ten. The win advanced them to the semifinals in Los Angeles.

While the team didn't advance to the national competition in New York, they say the experience was life changing. "We are continually amazed by the doors that open when life is approached with a positive outlook," the group told their nearly 1,000 Facebook fans who helped fund their travel to Los Angeles after their ICCA journey ended on that LA stage.


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