Fall auditions were successful for the group in that it took two men and one woman and one of those men was a deep bass. Now the bass section would consist of Aaron Tesfai and Ryan Bolger, both standing over 6’4”, and the new Ryan “Alvy” Alvarez, standing at 5’6”. From that point on, Alvy would always be blessed, and cursed, by extremely tall bass partners.

The others welcomed into the group were Ross Golan, who would be graduating in 6 months but achieved a solo at ICCAs and two recorded solos on the upcoming album before officially leaving, and Lisa Townsend, who had come back for her third audition. This time, the group didn’t have the heart to turn her down. She was extremely happy to get in, as becoming a SoCal VoCal was the perfect excuse to finally quit the girls club softball team.

And so, the group ventured up to Big Bear for a very comfortable and rather expensive Fall Retreat. As President Adam Blain would say, “But we had a kick-ass time, didn’t we?” That they did. They rented a lovely cabin with a loft that could sleep 14 people and just enough private rooms with double beds to enable new VoCal relationships, VoCal “secret relationships” and plain old random hook-ups – a mentality that would thrive from that point forward. As most would imagine, that went to a whole new level with the opening of the VoCal house four years later.

Another year passed, sneaking into practice rooms, learning Gabe/Stacy songs/arrangements, singing before football games and rehearsing for ICCA’s. The group once again placed first at Quarterfinals at UCLA. Amy Thomas sang “I Feel The Earth Move” in front of the infamous moving “blob,” Ross Golan sang the award-winning arrangement of “Slumber” and the group closed with a new rendition of “I Had The Time Of My Life,” sung by the gorgeous Meredith Anderson and the sexy Aaron Tesfai.

And, once again, the group traveled up North, only to come home empty handed — even with the girls looking hot, thanks to one special hair straightener. There must have been something about those puke-colored corduroys that kept the group from beating out the new fun boy-group from Oregon, On the Rocks.

Moving on from the tough loss, the group fulfilled a long-time goal and organized a Spring break tour aboard a cruise ship to Catalina and Ensenada, singing at every stop along the way. The VoCals gathered an impressive crowd for an impromptu concert at Catalina, sang in the piano bar after dinner and entered the talent competition. By the end of the trip they had performed an encore performance in front of half the cruise ship and Adam Blain and Ross Golan were signing autographs and taking pictures with high school girls.

Back from the trip, it was time to search for some new male blood, in anticipation of replacing graduating seniors. Working their way through button-filled blazers and blood-gushing neck scabs, the VoCals held an impressive callback on Aaron Tesfai’s 21st birthday. Some would allow final callbacks to ruin their 21st birthday, but not Aaron Tesfai: he showed up an hour late, completely hammered and a complete riot. Nevertheless, the group welcomed a record five new hot men to the VoCals: Jeremy Silver, Eric Peterson, Barry O’Neil, David Weidoff – who came to one practice, never performed with the group and took a “sabbatical” almost immediately – and Michael Hoy, then a Junior, but still an active member of the group for years to come.

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