This time we discuss how to stay in collegiate a cappella forever.
Setting the Stage: Let’s face it, the hardest pil to swallow about the collegiate a cappella experience is that it has to end. People graduate, go on to get jobs. If they’re lucky, maybe they find a post-collegiate group in the area, but it’s never quite the same. You don’t have that same feeling of formative years, that same social acceptability over going for a diner run after a late night rehearsal, or the same access to population of co-eds with whom to party after a big show. No, collegiate a cappella is where it’s at, and it’s totally unfair that performers only get to sing with their groups a few short years. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Some a cappella groups may welcome their members to stay on board indefinitely—be it while you pursue your PhD, or while you keep taking no credit basket-weaving classes each semester to retain your official status as a student. Other groups may start to push their veterans toward the door which requires a bit more craftiness, along the lines of leaving a group for a few years, then rejoining after the membership has turned over sufficiently. Regardless of the strategy, it’s doable.
Song Selection: To quote the great Randy Pausch, “When there’s an elephant in the room, introduce it.” There’s no use in hiding the fact that you’ve been in the group a little long, so embrace it by celebrating your tenure. Song picks might include Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” The Orleans’ “You’re Still the One.” Beyond the thematic message of the songs, the old school nature of the songs themselves is a nice nod to your own ever increasing age.
Setting: As you grow older, you should be able to network and help your group develop and maintain connections at your school and surrounding the community that will, ideally, open different doors to performance venues. When selecting from your palette of stages, you may want to start thinking about ones with particularly dim lighting, which allow you to best hide your advanced maturity and blend in with the group of college kids all the more effectively.
Choreography: As your collegiate a cappella career stretches from years into decades, you’ll have the benefit of all those years of institutional memory. Groups phase through all sorts of a cappella from year to year, and you shouldn’t hesitate to call on your catalog to assemble a “best of” collection of ideas to deploy during a creative dry spell.
Other Notes: Collegiate a cappella may not be quite so fun if you stick with it into your geriatric years. But then, maybe it will be! To my knowledge, no one has really tried it to any drastic extreme. Be the first, and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised!