200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

A Sold-Out Crowd

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #128: A Sold-Out Crowd

We’ve all heard the expression, “bigger is better.” The words certainly hold true in the case of the audience at an a cappella show. A bigger crowd means more people to laugh at a joke, more people to swoon for a particularly captivating solo, more people to clap along on a barn burning number and more people to stand up and cheer at the conclusion of an epic performance.

While the performers on stage may occupy the spotlight, the live crowd is very much a part of defining most exhibitions. The energy of the people around you shapes your perception of events and a sold out a crowd—by definition, a crowd of people filling a space, who have paid money to hear a group sing—bodes very, very well for an off-the-charts live show.

I love it!

Simulating Sounds

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #127: Simulating Sounds

In a genre defined by the human voice and body, one of the most fascinating elements of a cappella to watch evolve over time is the way in which performers simulate sounds. Whether it’s Deke Sharon’s vocal trumpet, Jamal Reed’s electric guitar, or more dramatic, less literal interpretations of the sound of wind blowing, or a motorcycle revving up, the innovators of the a cappella form have dared to try new things and broaden the world’s conception of what sounds people are capable of making without any external instruments at hand.

I love it!

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!

Next Page
A Sold-Out Crowd
Simulating Sounds
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