AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - At a place known for engineering and aeronautics, a stealth move: an a capella group -- once relegated to the stairwells of the Air Force Academy -- is soaring on the national stage.
Appropriately named, "In the Stairwell" is comprised of a stout 15 vocalists. The group's 2004 inception was bred from the then-policy at the Academy's Preparatory School, where students were relegated to singing in the facility's stairwells. Needless the say, the name stuck.
Five of the current members have already graduated from the Academy, and are assigned to various bases across the country. That fact alone, combined with the rigors of the institution, make rehearsing difficult.
"There's hardly ever everyone here," said Cadet Second Class, Thompson Knox, one of the singers. "We have astronautical engineering majors, double majors -- applied physics. The next time we're in L.A. together is when we can all rehearse together, practicing and then we're all on national TV."
In the meantime, clips of songs are sent to those who aren't at the Academy currently. Choreography is orchestrated by the captain of the USAFA dance team.
As for the pre-performance jitters? Members admitted to singing a certain tune -- but stopped short of saying exactly what that was.
"It's something fun we do. A specific song. It calms the nerves down, gets the brotherhood going," said Cadet Knox.
The group's last performance of Fun's "Some Nights" landed them a spot in the semi-finals on America's Got Talent, which will air in early- to mid-September.
Should "In the Stairwell" win the competition, members say the $1 million purse will be given to the USAFA endowment.