In Fall 2000, the group held auditions, though there weren’t many spots to fill, if any. Nervous, fresh-faced freshmen, and future VoCal “rockstars,” Amy Thomas and Lisa Townsend were in the final callback group, but the VoCals decided not to take any new members, for the second time in VoCal history. In some ways, taking no new members had a negative impact on the group: there was no one to teach, no one to keep the current members on their toes, and no one to impress.
Nevertheless, On Sept. 16, 2000, alumni greeted the current group at their third annual “welcome” party (even with no one to welcome), but this year, there was a twist. After introductions, lots of food and a little singing, Matt MacPhail pulled out some champagne and asked everyone to join him in a long toast. The group was stunned when Matt ended his toast on one knee, proposing to Ann Lyles. VoCals can make a lot of noise when they want to, and the excited cheers were so loud that Matt could hardly hear Ann’s “yes”. Fortunately, she was also nodding.
In the Fall of 2000, the VoCals sang at the Weekender Rally in San Francisco, returned to SCAMFest, did their part to “Save Tommy”, and proudly presented their first WC Concert entitled “Urinal Harmony”. The acoustics are great in there!
By December, it was obvious that the group would need to audition for new members before entering ICCA’s. The VoCals held auditions looking for a tenor and a mezzo on January 11, 2001. This would only give the new members about a month to learn the group dynamic, the songs and the routine, but the chosen newbies, James Snyder, Meredith Anderson and Amy Thomas (the first girl to be brought into the group as a tenor) were up to the challenge.
The group took first at the ICCA quarterfinals in Pomona, but despite having a set complete with a Gabriel Mann song arranged by Stacy Burcham and a showstopper with lots of glitter, the VoCals did not move onto New York for the finals. It was a big disappointment for a group with such high hopes. As Adam Blain tells the story, “While the Overtones were celebrating their victory, the VoCals had to sweep up the remaining confetti from the stage”.
On March 24, the VoCals and their alumni celebrated the group’s 5th anniversary (which was actually on Feb. 11) with a party in their traditional rehearsal space, the living room at Marks Hall. The party included a special performance by the VoCals, lots of food brought by everyone, and a trip to Asylum Studios to record the USC Alma Mater and Tusk just for fun.
Spring 2001 kept the VoCals busy with recording sessions, Valentine Grams, an SGM hallway concert with Brandeis University’s VoiceMale and the USC Sirens, another SGM hallway concert with Cal DeCadence, the Fourth Annual “Love Sucks at Caltech” a cappella jam, a performance at Alhambra High School, singing the national anthem for two USC men’s baseball games, entertaining prospective Trojans at Preview, and a year-end concert to bid farewell to die-hard VoCals Jade Williams and John Heaton. Oh, and by the way, they also opened for Rockapella at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Yes, THAT Rockapella!
On June 16, 2001, Ann Lyles and Matt MacPhail became the first two VoCals to get married. As of 2011, this distinction is still shared by only one other couple: Bryce Ryness and Meredith Anderson. Both Bryce and Meredith were present when the VoCals entertained guests at Ann & Matt’s wedding reception at Town & Gown. Founders Brock Harris and Audra Levi were in the wedding party, along with Ryan Bolger. As promised more than four years earlier, Stacy Burcham played the trumpet processional for the ceremony at the USC Catholic Center. Stacy caught Ann’s bouquet, and VoCal alumnus Michael Villegas caught the garter.