Singing in harmony to the top

By Amanda M. Perez

Singing in harmony to the top

By Amanda M. Perez
Two University of Miami a cappella groups, Tufaan and BisCaydence, celebrated big wins in different competitions.

Pure bliss was the feeling several University of Miami students had the moment they heard their a capella group, named Tufaan, won first place in the Association of South Asian A Cappella championship competition in Washington, D.C.

For newly graduated senior, Saad Nooruddin, the announcement was a day he hopes he will never forget.

“So many emotions were expressed,” said Nooruddin about the April event. “I remember hearing our names and shooting right up to celebrate. It was a surreal moment.”

Nooruddin, a co-captain of the group, is one of 21 students who made up the team now known as the best South Asian a cappella team in the nation. Founded in 2011, UMiami Tufaan quickly turned into an a cappella group that was unafraid to explore a variety of music from different cultures.

“It’s so nice to see all the hours we put in pay off. We had countless weekends of practices and long hours. To see all the hard work pay off is a feeling you can’t really beat,” said Nooruddin.

With Tufaan’s members hailing from all over the world—from Colombia to Italy to Japan—they pride themselves on the rich cultural diversity that they bring not only to campus, but to competitions as well.

“Our group is very diverse. Most of us aren’t even Indian,” said Arjun Malhotra, a now graduated senior who was also a co-captain of the group. “Another impressive aspect of our group is that more than half of us aren’t even music majors.”

Malhotra pointed out that he recently graduated with an Exercise Physiology degree, and his co-captain, Mooruddin, graduated with a degree in Microbiology and Immunology.

“What makes us so special is that we have such a vast array of people who have combined together to make something we all love,” Malhotra said.

The two believe another aspect that played a key part in their victory is the family concept they instilled in the group from the beginning.

“Our first step before we even get into music is to make everyone feel like family,” said Malhotra. We always make sure everyone is on the same wavelength because we spend so much time together.”

Another University of Miami a capella group who encourages a family dynamic is the team BisCaydence.

Their unique sense of comradery helped them attain the title as runner-up in the 2019 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals in New York City. Michael French, a junior who takes the role as the team’s business manager, is still in awe of their incredible win, which occurred in April.

“It was insane. I’ve been part of the team since freshman year, and the farthest we had ever gotten was second in quarterfinals,” said French. “The people who would place second in finals are the groups we would look up to and draw inspiration from. We really can’t believe we’re able to do that for others now.”

The group, which was established in 2011, features some of UM's top vocal talent and embodies the spirit of harmonic cohesiveness. They say their goal is to share their passion for music with the world. Jillian Hobaica, a junior studying Musicianship, Artistry Development, and Entrepreneurship at the Frost School of Music said the win signifies validation.

“I learned you can do anything you set your mind to. We really worked so hard these last couple of months to just give the best show possible,” said Hobaica. “Having this validation that we did our best and people enjoyed it is an amazing accomplishment for us.”

She said it would not have been possible without her team she now calls her family.

“I couldn’t imagine being able to put what we did on stage with anyone else,” said Hobaica. “Our blend is amazing. Knowing that we each have our own role to play I think also helps with our confidence as a group,” Hobaica said.

Being part of BisCaydence has also taught her the meaning of hard work.

“I know I will be prepared to work hard at whatever industry I will enter after graduating UM,” she said. “I know that in the music industry you need to know how to hold your own. This group is preparing me and helping me to make relationships and business connections that will be nice to have once I’m in the real world.”

To keep up with Tufaan and BisCaydence be sure to visit their Facebook and YouTube pages for more information.