200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Sweating

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #110: Sweating

Years back, I had ongoing, tongue-in-cheek debate with a friend about whether a cappella could be considered a sport. Certainly, the form has plenty of common ground with the sports world, what with breath control, the increasingly physical world of choreography, teamwork, and the emphasis many groups place on competition.

And then there’s sweat.

Sweating may not seem like an integral part of a cappella and, indeed, when groups sings just one or two non-choreographed songs, in a cool environment, perspiration may never come into play. But when the stakes are high, the movement is frenzied, and the sheer effort is there, I wholeheartedly believe that a cappella performers should sweat. It’s a reflection of hard work. It’s a demonstration of how much a group cares. And while it may not appeal to conventional visual or olfactory aesthetics, it’s a natural byproduct of so many great performances.

Groups that let loose and give their all to a performance sweat.

I love it !

Fake Outs

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #109: Fake Outs

Plenty of folks who are uninitiated in contemporary a cappella dismiss the form because of preconceptions based in a cappella choirs and the barbershop tradition.

I have a particular soft spot for groups riff off this expectation, slowing the down the tempo or lending a classical flavor to the opening chords of a song before exploding into a rendition far more faithful to the original pop song. Such interpretations offer audiences an entertaining surprise, in addition to demonstrating a group’s range and depth of talent via their ability to achieve both the classical sound and a more contemporary flavor. The approach takes even the most run-of-the-mill song selection and makes it fundamentally more interesting for both the audience and the singers performing it.

I love it!

Large Men Who Can Work The Stage

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #108: Large Men Who Can Work the Stage

In contemporary American society, the culture tends to look down on overweight people. They’re seen as lazy or having weak will power, without regard for genetic, cultural, or socioeconomic factors that might be at play.

Despite the stigmas, there are those large people who defy subjugation and own every bit of who they are when they <i>perform</i> on stage. Few people can quite commandeer the attention or capture the imagination of an audience like a man who is truly large and charge when the lights shine brightest—utterly unselfconscious, there to entertain.

I love it!

The Battle

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #107: “The Battle”

In the preceding edition of 200 Reasons to Love A Cappella, we lauded the 2008 Carnegie Mellon University Originals for their wild and creative choreography. A year before them, Syracuse University Orange Appeal brought similar bravado, energy, and outside the box thinking to their treatment of the spiritual “The Battle.” The guys delivered a level of theatricality that that was ahead of its time and achieved tremendous comedic effect, resulting in one of the most memorable collegiate a cappella performances of that year. For a group that, in that era, had built its name on the backs of classically trained voices, this performance showed the group’s most fun side and earned them a well-deserved spot in the thick of the ICCA Mid-Atlantic Semifinals.

I love it!

The CMU Originals’ Boat

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #106: The CMU Originals’ “Boat”

Over the years, the stakes of visual presentation seem to have grown higher and higher in a cappella, and that’s particularly true on the collegiate scene. Groups that hope to go far need to think about choreography, movement, transitions, and many points in between.

Along this evolutionary process, particular moments have stood out. They’re the moments not quite like any others that preceded them, and that no one saw coming. One particular such moment arrived in The Carnegie Mellon University Originals’ rendition of “Run, Freedom, Run” during their 2008 ICCA set. A wildly charismatic soloist took the lead, but it was the whole group that truly stole the show by not just singing but putting on a visual show that reached its climax when the guys bent, leaned, and lifted to form a makeshift boat with their bodies.

I love it!

Witnessing Someone’s First Solo

200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #105: Witnessing Someone’s First Solo

Every performer in a cappella group contributes to a greater whole and it’s usually pointless to argue over who is most “important” in a given performance. Nonetheless, when a group performs for the public and particularly casual fans, the soloist tends to attract the most attention—standing at the front of the stage, singing the most readily recognizable part of the song.

Some people get solos from the very beginning of their a cappella careers. Others have to wait years. Regardless, when a group member sings her first solo it’s a moment of vindication and celebration. It’s a coming out party, singling out and broadcasting that particular singer’s voice for the world.

I love it!

Next Page
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
Family A Cappella Groups
Barbershop Quartets
The A Cappella Bop
The A Cappella Walk
Photos of People Performing A Cappella
Good Sound Technicians
Good Lighting
Crowd Clap
Guitar Solos
Orange Appeal's Outfits
The Midnight Ramblers Cover of Lazy Sunday
SingStrong
SoJam
Post-Collegiate Groups
The Exhilaration of Getting Into A Group