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Sanibel student sings and performs his way to Broadway on TAG A Cappella group

By Staff | Mar 9, 2016

The Cypress Lake TAG A Capella group earned a trip to theICHSA international competition to be held on Broadway in New York City, April 29. PHOTO PROVIDED

Mark Sheme of Sanibel maybe considered a rookie on the Cypress Lake A Cappella “TAG” group, but he has provided an experienced edge to help himself and his fellow members earn a trip to the ICHSA international competition to be held on Broadway in New York City, April 29.

“It’s going to be a trip of a lifetime,” Sheme said. “This is my first year in the group, but I’ve been singing and performing for a while. I just have a great love for the stage.”

The International Championship of High School A Cappella held regional quarterfinal and semifinal competitions earlier this year, which included 150 groups. The finals will be held in NYC’s Town Hall Theater.

During the competitions, each group has 12 minutes, performing any genre of music and dance (family safe). A Cappella consists of singing and choreographed dancing.

Judging consists of vocal performance, visual performance and subjective rank. The ICHSA finals is an international competition, attracting finalists from all over the world.

“The biggest thing is teamwork, as well as working well independently,” Sheme said. “All you work as a team on stage, it is very individualized in a sense.”

The TAG group from Cypress Lake works together in rehearsal every Monday and they also compete in several shows throughout the season.

Success has been imminent with the TAG group, with their new album, “Bright”, being the Recorded A Cappella Review Board’s Pick of 2015.

Two reviewers also mentioned the album as among the favorite they have reviewed in the last two years.

TAG, which is coached by Cypress Lake’s music teacher Gary Stroh, won the ICHSA Southeast Semifinal Feb. 13, in Memphis, Tenn.

Performing on the Broadway stage will be nothing like any of the members have done before, Sheme said.

“It will be an amazing experience no matter if we win or not,” Sheme said. “The big thing will be to focus and keep calm.”

Sanibel residents can get a taste of what TAG offers with their “Unite” event, in conjunction with the Sanibel Dance Youth Ensemble and Island Ballroom Dancers as a fundraiser at the Sanibel Dance Pilates and Yoga located at 975 Rabbit Road on Sanibel.

The event will be Sunday, March 20, with two performances scheduled at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Event tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children.

All children’s ticket sales will be donated to Jack Tumminello, who is undergoing cancer treatment, while the adult tickets will help fund the TAG A Cappella from Cypress Lake for their NYC trip.

For children tickets, go to www.helphopelive.org and for adult tickets go to www.crowdrise.com.

For questions, call Debbie Sheme at 484-459-3971.