Pebblebrook's Sonic Edge Wins National Championship in NYC


The Cobb County Center for Excellence in the Performing Arts (CCCEPA) is located on the campus at Pebblebrook and has been steadily making its presence known well-beyond Cobb School District. The performing arts magnet school includes several different areas of study, including drama, dance, technical theatre, and choral and vocal music.

"The level of training and caliber of talent that is fostered here at the CCCEPA is top-notch," said Director Robert Connor. "While we expect a lot and train hard to push, motivate, and mold our students, they are seeing the fruit of their labor and being exposed to opportunities that many other kids are not. They are having life-changing experiences!"

One such experience was a recent national championship for Sonic Edge, CCCEPA's 16-member a cappella ensemble. Sonic Edge has existed for only two years and began competing this school year. To be crowned national champs for the Varsity Vocals International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) in its first year of competition is beyond remarkable and a testament to the top-notch talent at CCCEPA on both sides of the curtain.

CCCEPA's Choral and Vocal Music Director Trey Giddens has done a fantastic job with the group, training them as singers and as performers who must handle high levels of stress and expectation. Sonic Edge beat out 212 other groups and more than 3100 other students. And they did it on Broadway - the actual Broadway in New York City.


"Our students got to sing on Broadway and have the world and many industry professionals tell them that they are the best!" said Mr. Giddens, barely containing his joy. "For many of our students, the end goal is to make it on Broadway one day, and opportunities like this let them know that dream is attainable."

Sonic Edge's journey to the Finals was a long one and included trips to Tennessee and Florida. Along the way, the group made a video that ultimately got them into the Finals as a wild card contestant. They placed third at the Winter Park semifinals, which qualified them to compete for a last chance to advance. Their video submission earned them the wild card slot and punched their ticket to NYC.

"CCCEPA has had a long-standing tradition of excellence, and it has been a long road since COVID. By winning this past weekend, we are telling the world that we are back and operating at full steam. The tradition of excellence continues," Director Giddens said proudly.

In addition to winning the top prize, Sonic Edge also brought home a few other awards. Sydney Gruver was named Outstanding Soloist for "Uninvited," and Amber Lowe won Outstanding Vocal Percussion for the group's entire set.

While Sonic Edge did the work on the stage, many others were working hard behind the scenes to coordinate and facilitate all the necessary planning, travel, fundraising, and technical support. There may be sixteen students on the stage, but it is actually a team of many dozens more.

"We have the most amazing parent group that has fundraised and become travel agents, drivers, sound engineers, and audio tech specialists. We also have the most amazing CCCEPA faculty that has encouraged our students to keep working and supported this dream. Also, special thanks to the Georgia Aquarium for donating items to help us raise funds for the Finals. And, of course, Director Connor's keen eye for staging was so important and helped us polish the details of our competition set."

"We would like to thank everyone that made this possible," Director Giddens concluded gratefully. "We could not have done it without all of them."

Robert Connor views this championship as but a taste of things to come. "The students are completely invested in the program because they see that there is room for everyone here. This is just the beginning!" 

"Over my past three years here, I have seen a seismic shift of the culture here at the CCCEPA for the better. This is another feather in a cap that has accumulated a great deal of feathers over our more than 35 years of existence. We are grateful that Cobb Schools understands the value of a performing arts magnet school and supports us so well. This experience will be life-changing for our students and catapult them to places they only dreamed of," said Director Connor about Sonic Edge and the future of CCCEPA.

Congratulations to Director Connor, Director Giddens, CCCEPA, and Sonic Edge for an incredible job! You are national champs! Enjoy your win, and get ready to defend that title next year.

(Photos courtesy of ICHSA)