Noteworthy, a female a cappella group composed of BYU students, linked arms through the streets of New York City in April, shouting word of their victory after placing first at this year’s International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Strangers walking by just smiled, oblivious that these nine harmonious ladies had every reason to celebrate.
In 11 years Noteworthy is only the second all-female group to win the finals. Although the troupe is young, formed in 2004, they outsang more than 150 groups—many that have been around for 20 years or more.
“We went on stage relying on each other for strength,” says Courtney A. Jensen (’09). “We worked on the picky details beforehand to make it look and sound effortless.”
“All these girls are best friends to me now,” says Jackie L. Donkin (’07). “We really came together for a worthy goal and pushed each other to get there.”
BYU groups have now won the championship title two years running after Vocal Point—BYU’s all-male a cappella group formed in 1991—took first in the same competition in 2006.
“We’ve always been seen as the baby sister group of Vocal Point,” Jensen says. “I’ve always idolized them, so when we won this year I was so amazed.”
Prior to the a cappella finals, all nine Noteworthy members practiced 10–12 hours a week, studying for school exams at the same time. They were unsure about how their choreography would be received by the judges. While most of the groups swayed back and forth in circles, Noteworthy threw hip-hop, military style marching, and cheerleader lifts into their performance.
The group had exactly 12 minutes to sing four songs. After they sang “How Great Thou Art,” the audience clapped so long that they were forced to begin their last song over the applause.
“People came up and told us how amazing the song made them feel,” Donkin says. “This was really all about missionary work and what we are able to share through our music.”