Reason #190: “Dream On” as performed by Casual Harmony
Forgive me, because I’ve recounted this anecdote before on this blog and in the pages of The A Cappella Book, but it’s an important enough moment in my development as an a cappella fan that it warrants repeating.
In 2005, I was the boyfriend of a woman in an a cappella group—that was the extent to which I was involved in the community. I traveled to watch her group handily win its ICCA quarterfinal and I thought that, for sure, no one would top them at their regional finals (as semifinals were called that year), and they’d punch their ticket for the NYC Finals like they had previously.
The regional final show, however, was stacked. I heard great group after great group, out of which my partner’s group ended up toward the upper-middle of the pack, but did not place.
This was the night when I saw so much of what a cappella could be, in a wide range of well-executed covers that physically spanned the auditorium, and song selections that spanned languages and cultures.
Out of all of these performances, I remember Casual Harmony the best.
After forming less than a year earlier, and then having to win its way through that afternoon’s semifinals (in a unique tournament structure for that year), the group left everything on the stage, capped with a cover of Aerosmith’s “Dream On.”
“Dream On” turned out to be not only technically quite good and sold well from a visual perspective, but also aurally captured an unreal level of emotion, sincerity, and intensity from the whole group, and particularly the soloist. It’s the kind of performance that commanded the full audience’s attention and that inspired cheering midway through. Moreover, it was a moment of perfect synergy between performers and song selection, a group of passionate, hardworking guys putting their all into a song about dreams, meaning every syllable of the dream until your dreams true lyrics.
I love it!