Countdown to Palooza: Meet the Supernovas



Alison Nieto Culture Editor

In the weeks leading up to A Cappella Palooza, Culture Editor Alison Nieto will be talking to each A Cappella group to discuss their hopes and aspirations for this year’s concert. A Cappella Palooza will take place on March 23, 2018. 


The Villanova Supernovas is the University’s oldest co-ed A cappella group. It was founded in the spring of 1999, and since then has gone on to mature in both size and sound. The group has been competing in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, or the ICCA’s.  In 2014, the group placed third and 2014 graduate Tommy Monks won best arrangement for the group’s rendition of “Bleeding Love,” originally recorded by Leona Lewis. In 2017, the Supernovas were the champions of the ICCA mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals.  

As for their Palooza set, the group is excited to perform all their songs, as they pick their songs in order of a set-list. “We’re excited equally for all of the songs because without one, it’s not the set-list that we chose,” senior Maura Gownley said. “It’s all a very cohesive sound, so we’re really excited to just perform our whole set in its entirety.” 

With this set specifically, the group is excited to see how the audience reacts to their rendition of songs. “I definitely think that the Supernovas tend to bring this really cool intense sound to pop,” sophomore Clare Reckner said. “We like to create our own versions of each song and not just replicate the same typical things you hear on the radio. It could be a wildcard, whatever we choose to perform.” 

From its set this past semester, the group couldn’t seem to decide which song was the most difficult to learn and perform, as they were all incredibly well arranged and intricate. Senior Steven Lacey joked that he still hadn’t learned all of “Game Winner,” a song originally performed and produced by Vulfpeck, an American funk group founded in 2011. Sophomore Brett Schratz added that “Game Winner” took them so long to learn and perfect. Ultimately, the group turned to freshman Julian Bernas, who stated that “Crazy in Love” was the hardest to put together and perform. “There were lots of different jumps between notes and it was really complicated, but it did sound great in the end, it was just kind of a pain to learn,” said Bernas. 

The Supernovas pride themselves on having a very diverse group. “We have a really diverse skill set and background of students,” Gownley says. “We have all sorts of majors, all different types of years, so of course there is diversity in all of the groups but I feel like one of our strongest suits in our group is just the fact that we really are so diverse and for us to come together and make one cohesive sound is really amazing.” 

Focusing back on Palooza, the group weighed in on its preparation process for the event. “I just love that it’s so hyped up on campus,” senior Charlotte McLam said. “I feel like a lot of our other concerts don’t draw the same crowds and I think that people who don’t normally come out to A cappella really look forward to Palooza because everybody puts their best foot forward and everybody prepares so much. People love to see what we’ve all been working on for so long.” 

Sophomore Allie LeBlanc added that added choreography makes the process different. “The aspect of choreo, when we’re learning, we’re always thinking “Oh, what move is this lyric gonna be?” Leblanc said. “So, I think also the aspect of choreo being equally as important for Palooza is a cool part of it.” 

Gownley added that the group does not have a lot of dancers “so it will be interesting to watch.” Schratz, the group’s resident dancer, will definitely lead the charge in choreographing the set. 

Speaking about their sound as a group, the Supernovas concluded that this year, their sound is a lot younger. “We lost a lot of our older members, a lot of seniors last year, so it was kind of scary going into the new year knowing that we were down a lot of people who had experience,” McLam said. “Now we’ve gotten so many great new people that are passionate about our group and I think we have a lot of room to grow with how many young people we have now.” 

The group is taking a year off from competing in the ICCA’s this year, because last year it exceeded its expectations and want to take some time to do some other stuff on and off campus, according the Reckner. Gownley also adds that experience is important when competing and because the group has seven new members it would prefer to gain more experience and be ready to bring their “A game” next year. 

Ending with a fun fact, Reckner laughed and stated that the group has a sitcom called “The Real Housewives of the Supernovas.” The group also has a mascot in Lacey’s dog Copper. Copper is present for a majority of the group’s rehearsals and is adorable. He will not be making an appearance at Palooza but will be cheering the group on from home.