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April 6, 2007

Conn-Men's Disney Dreams Destroyed

The Daily Campus (CT):

The UConn Conn-Men won't be going to Disney World after all. The Conn-Men, who won first place the in northeast regional National Championship of High School A Capella (NCHSA) College Tournament on Feb. 10, recently found out that their dreams of capturing the national title in Florida will no longer come true.

Dan Carroll, an 8th-semester communication major and vocal percussionist for the group, said that about two weeks ago the Conn-Men were notified by e-mail that the NCHSA competition was canceled due to financial restraints and a lack of participants.

"For the last several weeks, we have tried to find replacements; trim down the event to minimize costs, but at the end of the day, there is a $90,000 gap that simply cannot be bridged," said Mark Surprenant, Executive Director of the NCHSA, in an e-mail to the Conn-Men.

In the e-mail, Suprenant said that effective immediately, all programming and events for NCHSA are suspended permanently.

"The day after we applied for funding to USG was the day we found out, so we never actually raised the money necessary since we had to withdraw our funding application," Carroll said.

However, the group did receive several private donations that Carroll said will go towards their spring semester concert.

NCHSA is "America's oldest and largest high school a cappella competition," according to the NCHSA Web site. According to Surprenant's e-mail, the organization was formed four years ago at the high-school level. This would have been the first year that the NCHSA sponsored a collegiate tournament. The event was supposed to take place in Orlando, Fla. from May 6 through May 10.

For the past four years, Suprenant said it was his goal to expand NCHSA, investing his time and $140,000 of his own money.

"Financially, personally, emotionally and physically; NCHSA has destroyed me," he wrote.

Carroll said that the Conn-Men are disappointed but "have all made a joke out of it," and are narrowing it down between two competitions to enter next year.

"Right now we have narrowed it down to 'America's Next Top Model' or the Nathan's Hot Dog eating competition, but nothing involving singing," Carroll said.

For now, the group remains focused on their spring semester show. The concert will be held in the Student Union Theatre on Friday, April 13 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

"We are graduating three seniors, including myself, and I can assure you that we want nothing less than to put on the best show ever. That includes anything that Disney sells tickets to," Carroll said.

Posted by acapnews at April 6, 2007 10:16 PM