For the uninitiated, it can be difficult to understand why people love a cappella. Heck, even for those of us who do actively enjoy it, it can be difficult to put into words why we enjoy this art form so. While we’ll never have a truly comprehensive list of everything cool about a cappella, 200 Reasons to Love A Cappella is our best attempt at assembling a list of what makes it great.
Reason #32: An Out of This World Guest Group
Generally speaking, no one goes to an a cappella show to catch the guest group. They come to watch their friends or family, or their alma mater’s group they’ve come to love. With just a few rare exceptions, show goers view the guest group as the dressing—filler to lengthen the show or kill time between the real acts.
This is what makes it so special when a guest group rises above expectations. Since I moved to Baltimore, most of the shows I’ve seen have occurred at Johns Hopkins University. I can recall one in 2008 in which a number of Hopkins groups performed, and then Brandeis University Voicemale, which was capping off a spring tour, took the stage and wowed the audience with a memorable set, including a masterfully-choreographed rendition of OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again.” I recall another show, put on by Hopkins’s Octopodes, in which The Y-Chromes out of The University of Delaware, provided some mid-show relief. The Y-Chromes were not as polished as The Octopodes that night, but with their free-wheeling , humor-laden style, really brought the crowd to life, and changed up the flavor of the evening.
A strong guest group can be the difference between a good show and a great show. Better yet, in broadening the audience’s perspective on a cappella by presenting act it hasn’t seen before, guest groups have the potential to transform fans of a particular group into fans of the entire a cappella medium. These blossoming fans may go home and YouTube not only their favorite song by their favorite group, but check out other material by a group from a school they’d never even known existed before that night. That’s how a cappella grows, and it’s a beautiful thing.