200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Intro Videos

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #124: Intro Videos

As cameras, video editing software, and the A/V capabilities of a wide range of performance venues have improved, so has the use of intro videos to lead off a cappella shows.

An intro video can communicate a great deal about a group’s personality, whether it’s quirky, macho, sensitive, or intense. A video sets the tone, establishes a level of professionalism, and makes the most of modern technology to give audience members the sense of a performance experience.

I love it!

Wild Transitions Between Songs

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #123: Wild Transitions Between Songs

Contemporary a cappella groups rarely entrench themselves in single, solitary genres. Particularly at the scholastic level, most of today’s groups traverse a range of genres, artists, and time periods to represent musical interests as diverse as those represented in the group (if not the entire audience).

When groups diversify their repertoires, they not only provide something to appeal to everyone, but also allow for wild, and wildly entertaining, transitions between songs. Consider, for example, The University of Georgia Accidentals’ 2012 ICCA Finals set. They started a high energy, highly choreographed version of Justin Beiber’s “Never Say Never,” mellowed out to a sterling take on Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” then hit a modern groove on Parachute’s “Something to Believe In.” A set like this keeps audiences on their toes and accentuates the most powerful elements of each song based on how fundamentally <i>different</i> the sound and presentation was from the song that preceded it.

I love it!

Buying a Group's CD After the Show

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #122: Buying a Group’s CD After the Show

While plenty of people who sing a cappella will tell you they do so for the love of the art form and the joy of making music, money remains central to the <i>business</i> of a cappella. Whether a group performs at the scholastic level, semi-professionally, or as a legitimately professional act, money is key for studio time, live performance equipment, travel costs, and more.

Attending a group’s live performance is great, but there are few more impactful ways of supporting a group than by buying its CD (or, as is more common now, buying their digital album). Buying a CD after a show demonstrates an appreciation for the live performance and interest in taking the group’s work home to make it part of your personal life. In buying the CD, you’re supporting the group financially and artistically. Better yet, for your own good, you get to bring home an exciting collection of music that diverges from top 40 radio or the tracks iTunes pushes on its customers, instead capturing music that you’ve discovered firsthand via a live performance.

I love it!

Wild Transitions Between Songs

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #123: Wild Transitions Between Songs

Contemporary a cappella groups rarely entrench themselves in single, solitary genres. Particularly at the scholastic level, most of today’s groups traverse a range of genres, artists, and time periods to represent musical interests as diverse as those represented in the group (if not the entire audience).

When groups diversify their repertoires, they not only provide something to appeal to everyone, but also allow for wild, and wildly entertaining, transitions between songs. Consider, for example, The University of Georgia Accidentals’ 2012 ICCA Finals set. They started a high energy, highly choreographed version of Justin Beiber’s “Never Say Never,” mellowed out to a sterling take on Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” then hit a modern groove on Parachute’s “Something to Believe In.” A set like this keeps audiences on their toes and accentuates the most powerful elements of each song based on how fundamentally <i>different</i> the sound and presentation was from the song that preceded it

I love it!

Meeting a Group After the Show

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #121: Meeting a Group After the Show

If you’re reading this blog, you probably agree with the sentiment that a cappella and its practitioners are under-appreciated by mainstream audiences. While, on the whole, I’d love to see a cappella singers get more attention, one of the really positive side effects of most a cappella groups arriving as mainstream celebrities is that the group members have largely remained humble, down to earth people.

After most shows I attend, I’ll talk to at least one of the people I saw sing on stage to compliment them or thank them for sharing their talents. In an overwhelming majority of these instances, I’ve been met with not arrogance or a cold shoulder, but rather the sincere appreciation of someone who is grateful to have been recognized, and who is eager to talk about his or her work.

It’s cool to meet someone whose work you admire, but the experience is far richer when that artist is eager to talk to you, too. More often than not, a cappella allows for just those sorts of interactions.

I love it!

Distinctive Syllables

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #120: Distinctive Syllables

One of the most interesting parts of listening to a cappella is hearing how groups translate instrumentation to pure vocals. Intonation is one thing, syllable choices are another. Soft syllables, hard syllables. Staccato ones, elongated ones. The best syllable choices match the mood, tone, and message of the song. And some are distinctive to a group.

Whether it’s a group like The University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers implanting additional lyrics into to amplify the lead (see the transition on “Mr. Brightside” with “I’m about to blow, just let me go”) or the SUNY Binghamton Harpur Harpeggios sliding iterations of “bing” into songs like “Uninvited,” particular syllable choices can be as distinctive as a group’s signature on a given song.

I love it!

Next Page
Intro Videos
Wild Transitions Between Songs
Buying a Group's CD After the Show
Wild Transitions Between Songs
Meeting a Group After the Show
Distinctive Syllables
One Group Inspiring Another
The Remix to Ignition
When Over the Top Costuming Works
Aca-Wedding Proposals
The Sound of a Pitch Pipe
Hearing a Song Evolve
Seeing a Second Group Sing the Same Song—And Do It Better
The One Guy Who Wants It Badder Than Anyone Else
Hearing a Song You Thought No One Else Knew
Sweating
Fake Outs
Large Men Who Can Work The Stage
The Battle
The CMU Originals’ Boat
Witnessing Someone’s First Solo
Hearing a New Song Debuted
Spitting On Mics
Impromptu Performances
The National Anthem
American Harmony
Innovative Stage Entrances
Well-Rehearsed Exits
Pentatonix
GQ