Big Bing Theory Places at Competition

BBT sings on stage at the ICCA

March 14, 2023
Natalie Marssdorf ('23) | Marketing & Communications

My arms lofted onto the shoulders of the two singers next to me as our group huddled together to stay upright. The producer on the mic was speaking painfully slow, holding the judge’s fate for us in her hands.

“So, our quarterfinal third place group...”

There was a long pause. Time stopped and I felt all the stress, tears and sleepless nights that had gone into this day, those 9 minutes and 21 seconds on stage. Suddenly, her voice booms through the theater.

“Big Bing Theory!”

My feet left the ground and a scream of joy fell out of my mouth. The whole group was stuck in place, jumping and hugging one another with shock or gleeful smiles on their faces. Somehow, my co-director Teagan Servais ('24) and I pushed through to the front of the stage, beckoning them all to follow, to revel in the first-time success for Gonzaga’s student-led a cappella group.

After six years of competing, this is the first time Big Bing Theory has placed or won any special awards at the International Competition of Collegiate A cappella (ICCA).

First promoted widely by the movie Pitch Perfect, the ICCA is a chance for a cappella groups to grow a community with other colleges, present their hard work, and compete against some of the top collegiate a cappella groups in the nation. Each group must present a 10-minute set, typically comprised of three to four songs, complete with choreography.

BBT stands on stage after accepting their award
Big Bing Theory accepts the awards for third place group and best soloist, Jonah Rieder ('25).

This year, our ICCA prep began back in July of 2022, when Teagan and I began crafting the story that we wanted to tell through our set. It’s a journey of feeling lost but slowly finding yourself through the help of others. Cliché maybe, but certainly a theme that has personal meaning for each member of our group.

We first dove into our ICCA music in October, a four-song arrangement crafted for us by one of the big names in a cappella music, Tom Anderson. Our rehearsal times were split between the arrangement and our holiday music, meaning that each member had to dedicate time outside of BBT to learn their part, including working individually during the latter half of their winter break. Jumping back into the school year, we faced three weeks of daily rehearsals to solidify our choreography and musical details. The final product we presented would not have been possible without dedication and love from the whole group.

When the day of ICCA’s arrived, it was surreal to be standing on a stage I had only been on during my freshman year; the next two years’ competitions canceled during the pandemic. No other member of the group had competed at an in-person ICCA. To mark their first time on that stage with a success is all that I could have asked for. It sets them up to go further, get better and grow closer over their remaining three or four years in the group.

To further affirm the hard work of the group, BBT is excited to announce that we will be preserving this year's ICCA set forever by professionally recording an album!

This opportunity will allow our group to take the next step in its development as a club at Gonzaga. Funds we raise will directly support the cost of recording, which includes editing, mixing, mastering, producing and the ability to work directly with an award-winning a cappella sound engineer. The best part is that you'll get to listen to the results on Apple Music and Spotify!

Visit our GoFundMe to support our album

This ICCA journey helped us find our sound. The arrangement, the dedication, the experience of competing, and the camaraderie of this team has left us sounding the best we ever have. I’m endlessly proud of these singers, and I can’t wait to see where BBT goes next!