200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Clean Sound

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #126: Clean Sound

Here at The A Cappella Blog, we spend a great deal of time talking about a cappella accoutrements like staging, song selection, and overall presentation. In it’s purest form, though, a cappella is all about the vocals—some of the most talented singers at a school, in a community, or even in the world using their most natural instrument to make music with their ensembles. As such, one of the truest joys of listening a cappella can be hearing a perfectly clean sound.

It’s Ohio State High Street A Cappella aweing the live crowd at the University of Rochester at an ICCA show in 2006 with their take on old-fashioned favorites like “Georgia” and “Late in the Evening.” It’s University Rocktavo, merging classical sensibilities and crystal clear vocals with a great sense of humor to keep the audience surprised and smiling.

I love it!

Hearing the Story Behind a Song

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #125: Hearing the Story Behind a Song

Starting in the late nineties, VH1 struck a chord with American music fans through the show Storytellers, a concert show on which major music acts told the stories behind their songs, giving viewers a unique perspective on the creative process behind any number of acts.

On a more basic level, it’s not uncommon for an act to share bits of history behind a song during a live show. It’s not a routine practice in the a cappella world, but when it does happen, it can make for some truly poignant, funny, or, at minimum, memorable moments.

Since most contemporary groups focus on covers rather than original music, telling the story behind a song often has to do with explaining a group member’s personal connection to an established piece of music. It’s an insight into an individual soul among a performance ensemble, and point on which that performer can connect with audience members who have appreciated the same song in their own ways, for their own reasons. In doing so, these stories draw audiences into performances, and make each exhibition more special for the experience.

I love it!

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!

Next Page
Clean Sound
Hearing the Story Behind a Song
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