<![CDATA[The A Cappella Blog]]> http://acappellablog.com/ The A Cappella Blog en Copyright 2018 2018-04-22T08:12:40-04:00 <![CDATA[Transitions on Your Playlist]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/transitions-on-your-playlist http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/transitions-on-your-playlist

Reason #149: Transitions on Your Playlist

My first true love in music is not so much any individual artist or genre, nor the act singing or playing an instrument, but more so the act of making a mix tape.

Mix tapes gave way to CDs, which gave way to playlists. I can no more imagine what might come next than I could have prognosticated I would one day carry several hundred times the amount of music on a 90-minute audio cassette via a phone of similar size (not to mention that that phone would also serve as my camera, email client, and, well, phone—but I digress).

One of my favorite games to play in the practice of mix tape development has long been subverting expectations via an abrupt departure from the preceding song, in a way that fundamentally works. Sometimes it’s a matter of hopping genres from Top 40 to Broadway, or acoustic ballad to rock and roll, but maintaining a thematic thread. Sometimes it’s hopping time periods but preserving a melodic or rhythmic through line. Oftentimes, it’s much more arbitrary than all of that, but the sudden shift still feels just right.

There are few greater tools in this trade than a cappella which allows facilitates sticking with sort of the same genre, artist, or theme, while fundamentally shifting from conventional instrumentation to purely vocal music. Contemporary a cappella is largely about reinventing popular music through a new lens, whether it’s simple transcription into human vocals or true reinvention. As such, it allows for some wonderful, and wonderfully unexpected transitions on a playlist.

I love it!

<![CDATA[I Miss You]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/i-miss-you http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/i-miss-you

This week, we present Berklee College of Music Upper Structure performing Adele's "I Miss You."

<![CDATA[Law School Groups]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/law-school-groups http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/law-school-groups

Reason #148: Law School Groups

While there are certainly people who make it work, let’s be honest—between financial concerns, professional and academic aspirations, and personal obligations, few people can truly make a cappella their number one priority. And that’s not on a knock on a cappella—in reality, I think one of the most admirable qualities of the form is that its practitioners are so often amateurs who make time to pursue their personal passion, and to make music with their friends.

From that perspective, there are few endeavors in a cappella more laudable than law school a cappella groups. Law school students are notoriously busy—engaged with high stakes curriculum as an entry point to a challenging career. That these people still make time for a cappella is a testament to their commitment to their music. Moreover, I find it admirable that so many approach the form with the same brand of quirky, tongue-in-cheek good humor as undergrads, with group names like Harvard’s Scales of Justice, Yale and Northwestern’s Habeas Chorus groups, or Duke’s Public Hearing.

I love it!

<![CDATA[I Don't Think About You]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/i-dont-think-about-you http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/i-dont-think-about-you

This week, we present Berklee College of Music On the Vox performing Kelly Clarkson's "I Don't Think About You."

<![CDATA[Incorporating Foreign Languages]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/incorporating-foreign-languages http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/incorporating-foreign-languages

Reason #147: Incorporating Foreign Languages

A cappella is all about the sounds the human body can generate, and principally from a vocal perspective. You can have a killer solo, innovative syllables, and great perc. But you can add an entirely different dimension if you incorporate foreign languages.

The well-timed, clever usage of a foreign language can diversify the group sound and lend a song a more global feel. Used in the right song, it can tap into core of the music. Moreover, it’s a great way for a group to make clear to its listeners that the group hasn’t gone on auto-pilot, regurgitating a very literal translation of a song, but rather has taken the time to make a song its own spicing it up with splash of Spanish, tapped into another dimension of the narrative by employing a South African dialect, or stayed true to its roots by singing a verse in Hindi.

I love it!

<![CDATA[Evolution of Hollywood]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/evolution-of-hollywood http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/evolution-of-hollywood

This week we present Legacy A Cappella, based out of Los Angeles, performing their "Evolution of Hollywood" medley.

<![CDATA[Originals]]>http://acappellablog.com/recording-recommendations/originals http://acappellablog.com/recording-recommendations/originals

In the contemporary a cappella landscape, it’s not unusual to look at groups as cover bands—acts that arrange and often recreate popular music, but that, just the same, depend upon performing someone else’s material.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In the past five years, we’ve heard all-original albums from acts including Pentatonix, Arora, Forte, and The Octopodes, and individual original tracks from dozens of other groups, some of the most successful including UCD Mix’s “Water,” and Brandeis VoiceMale’s “Phoenix.”

Using original songs in recordings is a gamble. There’s the chance that listeners won’t as readily seek out or enjoy a cappella music that they don’t already have a degree of familiarity with. Moreover, it’s fundamentally harder to not only arrange, but create new music.

That said, there are very real rewards to recording originals. Most prominently, there’s the glass ceiling effect for both individual groups and the a cappella genre on the whole. Think about a cover band that you may have heard at a bar, club, or on campus. You may have liked them perfectly fine, but in resigning themselves to only playing cover songs, the band has relinquished any meaningful shot at ever become as notable as the acts that they are imitating. Similarly, it’s difficult for a cappella to ultimately be taken as seriously as music with instruments for as long as the genre is so dependent on covers.

Originals open new opportunities. They provide the chance for an a cappella group to achieve a breakaway hit on the group’s own merits. Moreover, they afford group members creative outlets. If we liken arranging an established song to problem solving, then assembling an original is more like the process of invention. And for those groups concerned that not filling their albums with covers will hurt their sales, consider how excited people who know and care about you may be to buy something that is wholly your creation. If the work is good, the word will spread from there—among your social networks, and among the a cappella world.

Recording original music is not for every group. If you don’t have songwriters in your midst, or don’t aspire to anything but cover music, there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that. But for groups that do wish to make the leap to recording their own original songs, there are myriad opportunities blaze a new trail and thrive.

<![CDATA[Adele Medley]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/adele-medley http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/adele-medley

This week we present UCLA Resonance performing their Adele medley.

<![CDATA[Transitions]]>http://acappellablog.com/the-competitors-edge/transitions http://acappellablog.com/the-competitors-edge/transitions

In this edition, the focus is <b>transitions</b>.

Telling a Story

While a group should undeniably bring its A-game to competition, and settle for nothing less than the twelve best minutes of music it can bring to the stage, there’s also something to be said for telling a story. If a group can cultivate a sense that they are taking the audience on a cohesive journey with them, it builds emotional engagement with the performance, makes the set more memorable, and keeps the performance feeling streamlined. The last thing a group wants is for audience members to be looking at their watches in the dim of the auditorium, thinking, really—they’re going to sing another song? The group’s objective should be for songs to build upon each other, riding waves of emotion, and developing an arc such that every single piece of the performance feels indispensable.

Not Breaking the Illusion

Every time the audience breaks to applaud, it breaks the illusion of the performance. Think about the experience you had the first time you watched your favorite movie. Were you consciously thinking about the fact that you were watching a movie, or were you so wrapped up in the presentation that you felt like a part of the movie, and temporarily forgot about your normal life? By the same extension, you want for the audience for your competition set to get so wrapped up in the performance that they forget about time, space, and uncomfortable seating, you want for them to exist within your music. Transitioning between songs fluidly—not stopping to reset your formations, hand mics to new soloists, drink water, and blow a new pitch between each song is an excellent way to preserve that illusion.

Seamless Sets

Some groups have taken fluid transitions to the extreme by embracing completely seamless sets—no breaks between songs, just one piece bleeding into the next. When it’s done well, the results can be pretty phenomenal, lending the sense of a twelve-minute expertly woven medley. When done poorly, it can feel like the song that never ends.

If your group can get away without blowing pitches, awesome. If you can’t, you shouldn’t sacrifice your tuning for a more fluid set. Similarly, if you can hand off microphones to new soloists and percussionists in an organic or unnoticeable way, that’s great. If you can’t, you shouldn’t force something that’s going to look contrived. A seamless set for which audience members can hear and see those seams, isn’t really seamless at all.

What sort of transitions have you seen work in competition. Let us know on social media @acappellablog.

<![CDATA[Technicolour Beat]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/technicolour-beat http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/technicolour-beat

This week we present University of Central Florida Mixed Mode performing Oh Wonder's "Technicolour Beat."

<![CDATA[Raw Solos]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/raw-solos http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/raw-solos

Reason #146: Raw Solos

When I think of premier soloists in the a cappella world, I’m often drawn to folks with silky smooth vocals, impressive range, or all-around perfect musicianship. But there are other solos worth celebrating. One of the great under-recognized styles is the raw solo.

The raw solo is all about emotion. It’s about being willing to growl, to scream, to whimper; to wince, to grimace, to cry. Mind you, just because a solo is raw does not necessarily make it good, but when a skilled performer sings the right song and connects with just the right moments, something truly emotionally gripping can evolve.

I love it!

<![CDATA[Boy Problems]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/boy-problems http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/boy-problems

This week we we present the New York University Vocaholics performing Carly Rae Jepsen's "Boy Problems."

<![CDATA[Connecting With a Song]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/connecting-with-a-song http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/connecting-with-a-song

Reason #145: Connecting With a Song

A cappella groups cover songs for any number of reasons—whether they happen to be popular at the time, sit well with the group’s identity or vocal talents, or just happen to strike the arranger’s fancy. Just about any song can “work” a cappella, but I’d argue that groups are most prone to thrive when the group members connect with the music on a personal level. I recall sitting in on a rehearsal once, in which two group members who had arranged a version of Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” went verse by verse to talk about what the lyrics really meant, how they connected to story of the song, and, in more general terms, how other group members might connect as well. The difference between the song before this rehearsal and the way the group sang it afterward was palpable, because the group approached it with an entirely different energy, conviction, and authenticity.

Look back at so many of the richest, best a cappella performances you’ve heard over the years and you’re likely to find that one of the common links is a sense that the group is not just covering a top 40 hit, but rather telling its own story through music that the group has made its own.

I love it!

<![CDATA[Latch]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/latch http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/latch

This week we present University of Texas at Austin One Note Stand performing Sam Smith's "Latch."

<![CDATA[BOSS]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/boss http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/boss

Reason #144: BOSS

In 2012, The Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) started a new a cappella festival, Boston Sings, more commonly referred to as BOSS. It made sense for Boston to have its own major festival—a city that’s been a longtime hub for a cappella, particularly at the collegiate level, with major groups coming out of Berklee, Northeastern, Tufts, Harvard,  Boston University, Boston College, Brandeis and other schools in the area.

In just a few years, the festival has grown into one of the most celebrated in the a cappella world. When it comes to live competition, it features one of the most electric one-night contests in the country, which has seen scintillating performances from the likes of Voices in Your Head, Reverb, and Ithacappella. Moreover, it’s become one of a cappella’s grandest stages for recognition with the live announcement of the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs) becoming a black-tie affair. Add onto all of this a growing tradition of brilliant pro performances and excellent workshops, and you have one of a cappella’s most inspired weekends.

I love it!

<![CDATA[There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/theres-nothing-holdin-me-back http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/theres-nothing-holdin-me-back

This week we present the Vanderbilt Melodores performing Shawn Mendes’s “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.”

<![CDATA[A Well-Executed Choral Arrangement]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/a-well-executed-choral-arrangement http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/a-well-executed-choral-arrangement

Reason #143: A Well-Executed Choral Arrangement

Bringing a choral piece to a contemporary a cappella show may seem counter-intuitive. After all, the form has garnered much of its popularity by eschewing traditionalism in favor of covering cool music in cool ways, and what could come across less innovative than singing something soft and slow in the same style as your high school chorus or the college’s madrigal choir?

The thing is that the excellent execution of a choral arrangement highlights so many of the core elements of what great a cappella is all about—seamless blend, intentional use of dynamics, compounding harmonies upon harmonies to reimagine a piece of music.

Yes, star soloists can go a long way toward captivating an audience, but a choral arrangement casts a spotlight on a group as a united whole, and there are few sounds in the a cappella world more magical than a choral arrangement executed to perfection.

I love it!

<![CDATA[To Build a Home]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/to-build-a-home http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/to-build-a-home

This week we present Central Washington University Nada Cantata performing the Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home.”

<![CDATA[Attire]]>http://acappellablog.com/the-competitors-edge/attire http://acappellablog.com/the-competitors-edge/attire

In this addition, the focus is on attire.

Does it really matter?

The biggest question about attire in collegiate a cappella may well be whether it really makes a difference at all. After all, if a groups sound sensational, and incorporates a professional-grade visual show via choreography and staging, is anyone really going to care about how a group dressed?


The thing about attire is that it goes a long way toward making a first impression and informing the audience’s understanding of group's identity. There are opportunities to play with and subvert such expectations. For example, consider the seemingly stodgy group wearing tuxedos with tails that proceeds throw down a high-octane set with a hip hop bent. Even if you’re not trying be satirical, it is worth thinking about what message your group’s attire is sending.  


It’s exceedingly rare to see a group in t-shirt and jeans compete in the ICCA Finals.

Don’t get me wrong, casual attire is fine and perhaps even preferable for a casual show on campus. But when a group takes the stage in competition, the choice of outfits should reflect thought, preparation and coordination. Professional threads tend to play better with grown-up judges, and communicate a tone that a group takes itself seriously.


There are exceptions, but, in general, if a group doesn’t take the time to coordinate at least a general color scheme or min/max standard for how formally they will dress, the group ends up looking sloppy on stage, and are often more difficult for judges and audience members to distinctively remember, because they can’t point to “the women who wore black dresses” or “the mixed group that wore purple.”


Within the context of uniformity, it’s ideal if a group can find opportunities to celebrate individual characters—the hipster, the nerd, and the jock can all co-exist within a color scheme of black and yellow; group members can go with or without ties, and in blue skirts or blue jeans and still look like a unit, without looking like clones.


Can you perform your choreography in those blazers? In those heels? Does your director have a pocket to carry her pitch pipe? Is that skirt too short to be anything but distracting on stage?

Attire does more than communicate group identity—when a group doesn’t carefully consider its threads, it runs the risk of hindering the groups ability to effectively perform by becoming a functional inhibitor or distraction for the performers or the audience.

How have you seen attire affect a group’s performance in competition? What helps? What hurts? Let us know in the comments.

<![CDATA[Glitter in the Air]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/glitter-in-the-air http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/glitter-in-the-air

This week we present Penn State University Blue in the FACE performing P!nk’s “Glitter in the Air.”

<![CDATA[Update On A Cappella Blog Event Reviews]]>http://acappellablog.com/open-letters/update-on-a-cappella-blog-event-reviews http://acappellablog.com/open-letters/update-on-a-cappella-blog-event-reviews

Dear Readers,

Since we started The A Cappella Blog in 2007, the cornerstone of this site has been live event coverage, and in particular reviews of Varsity Vocals competitions. Indeed, the idea to start the site at all came up in 2006, in recognition that reviews weren’t happening elsewhere—no one was archiving, let alone offering evaluation of all of the awesome a cappella going down at competitions.

And so we began. At the site’s peak, I would personally go on the road for as many as eight-to-ten consecutive weekends in a season, putting thousands of miles on my Civic each spring.

Times have changed.

In my mid-to-late twenties, I lived in Baltimore, within a couple hundred miles of just about any Mid-Atlantic ICCA or ICHSA show including Finals and a number of festivals. I was a bachelor, worked a respectable office job, and lived in a hole-in-the-wall apartment—a recipe for expendable time and money to hit all of these shows and make it down south or into the Midwest a couple times a year (not to mention actually write a several-thousand word review in the days to immediately follow each event).

Regular readers likely noticed that the site’s live event coverage dipped in 2015. I’d left the job behind in favor of a second round of graduate school. I wound up in Oregon, in reasonable driving distance for two or three events a year, and making an annual flight out to New York for Finals. Money and time were tighter. And I got engaged.

Fast forward to now. I’ve settled in Georgia where I teach college composition courses. I’m married and, in my most recent life transition, am now a father.

Image 1

Being a father was always a long-term goal, and I always said that I didn’t want to be a father until I was ready to put my child ahead of anything else.

I toyed with the idea of making it to the few Varsity Vocals shows happening this year within an hour or two of my home, or of going to New York again in April. At this particular moment, however, the time away from my family—for travel, for shows, for writing—simply doesn’t feel worth it.

I’ve always taken pride in being transparent about how The A Cappella Blog operates, for example, publicizing our annual off-season so as to not mislead readers that they should check back to our site when we’re not going to be active. And so, I want to be open here and now as well that I do not anticipate covering live events for the foreseeable future.

That’s not to suggest we’ll never have another event review, and in particular it’s not to indicate that the site is closing. We will continue our regular columns (stay tuned as we get to each and every one of those 200 Reasons to Love A Cappella!) and special features for the foreseeable future. For the time being, however, the live event reviews are on the shelf. I appreciate your understanding, and in case you haven’t encountered them, would like to refer you in particular to FloVoice and Acaville which, via their sites and social media, are among the leaders in live a cappella event coverage, doing so much of what we set out to do with the ACB from the beginning.

Keep singing, and I’ll see you down the road.



<![CDATA[We Don't Talk Anymore]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/we-dont-talk-anymore http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/we-dont-talk-anymore

This week we present University of Florida Gestalt performing Charlie Puth ft. Selenea Gomez’s “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”

<![CDATA[When a Group Defies What You’d Expect By Looking at Them]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/when-a-group-defies-what-youd-expect-by-looking-at-them http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/when-a-group-defies-what-youd-expect-by-looking-at-them

Reason #142: When a Group Defies What You’d Expect By Looking at Them

Many of us grow up hearing that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover—and yet how many of us honestly heed that advice? One of my truest pleasures as an a cappella fan has long been watching a group take the stage—a bunch guys dressed like scrubs, timid-looking young women, , people who otherwise look as though they’re not truly ready for performance—hand having them prove me dead wrong by knocking their performance out o the park.

 One of my favorite examples is Reverb, an ostensibly nerdy group of guys in powder blue bow ties who look about as cool or threatening as a pastel teddy bear and yet for every performance I’ve heard from them, demonstrate ambition in their song selection and a level of attitude and energy that’s nearly without peer in the contemporary a cappella landscape. Their brand of entertainment and undermining expectations was, perhaps, nowhere more evident than in their 2013 ICCA Finals run when they made it all the way to NYC and stunned the crowd with the highest of caliber mashups, slamming home a “Bad” and “This Is How We Do It.”

I love it!

<![CDATA[Back to Me]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/back-to-me http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/back-to-me

This week we present University of Florida No Southern Accent performing Daya’s “Back To Me.”

<![CDATA[Using Instruments]]>http://acappellablog.com/recording-recommendations/using-instruments http://acappellablog.com/recording-recommendations/using-instruments

In this edition, our focus is on using instruments.

The concept of this article may come across as completely antithetical to content and principles of this site. After all, what interest would a site dedicated to all-vocal music have in analyzing music that, well, isn’t all vocal?

But things have changed, and questions about group identity have grown more complicated. True, a cappella purists have had a hard time accepting vocal percussion as a part of the a cappella landscape because it’s not about vocal harmony. And what of groups like Arora and A.Squared that make innovative use of looping technology be criticized for not truly making all of their music with the human voice?

Nowadays, most a cappella fans are ready to accept vocal percussion, body percussion, special mic-ing techniques, and looping as viable components of a cappella performance and recording. Instruments, however, remain a no-no. After all, most genres of music are dominated by instrument usage, and the absence of instruments is generally accepted as the factor that defines a cappella. But when a high profile group like The Exchange recorded tracks using instruments, and when even The Sing-Off permitted instruments (though, beyond looping pedals, they didn’t come into use) in 2014, is rebelling against the use of instruments becoming an uphill battle? Will the renegade genre that rejected conventional instrumentation come back into the fold for a style of music that may prioritize vocals and harmonies but still include guitars, keyboards, and real drums?

A cappella groups that are pondering this question need to think about why they are or are not interested in instruments. Is it a matter of principle or a matter of pragmatism? Are you, and your listeners, invested in the a cappella sound? Has the novelty of the cliché disclaimer that  “all of the sounds you hear were created with the human voice”  worn out its value? Might the introduction of instruments make your music more palatable to a larger audience?

For groups considering the use of instruments, one place to start is to introduce instruments to your group minimally. On a recording, this might mean using instruments on just one song, and doing so with good reason—for example, incorporating a standout violinist from your local community, or weaving a real trumpet solo around your vocal trumpet solo in a song to create a unique effect.

Another, fundamentally disparate approach would be to enter the instrumental fray aggressively. This could mean using instruments on every track and using them shamelessly to truly step away from the a cappella world for a special recording project that includes a full band. This is the realm in which experimentation is key. How can you make creative use of instruments to justify their placement and not devolve into a standard band with a surplus of lead vocalists?

Overall, though the key to introducing instruments to an a cappella group is to use them purposefully—to generate an effect you cannot with the human voice—and to do so in such a way that produces the best music possible. At its core, making music should be about expression, the creation of art, or entertainment. None of these factors necessarily exclude the use of instruments, if your group pursues it in such a way that is true to the group’s identity, and in the name of advancing new ideas, and better pleasing your audience.

<![CDATA[What Now]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/what-now http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/what-now

This week we present the Rutgers University Orphan Sporks performing Rihanna’s “What Now.”

<![CDATA[10 Reasons Every College-Aged Male Singer Should Audition for the Hyannis Sound]]>http://acappellablog.com/guest-columns/10-reasons-every-college-aged-male-singer-should-audition-for-the-hyannis-sound http://acappellablog.com/guest-columns/10-reasons-every-college-aged-male-singer-should-audition-for-the-hyannis-sound
Hs 1

Calling all male collegiate a cappella singers: Whether you’re on the hunt for your summer internship, or you’re arranging to get back home to your old summer job, don’t forget to send in an audition video for the Hyannis Sound. It’s a unique and lucrative opportunity worth looking into if you’re interested in spending your summer gaining professional experience. Friends here at the ACB so kindly refer to us as the unique 'all star powerhouse [that] since 1994 has drawn ten talented young men from across the country.' We're gearing up for our 24th summer touring Cape Cod, and we're currently looking for talented male singers to add to our 2018 roster. If you’re at all interested, read more about the audition process here.

The Hyannis Sound is a summer job unlike any other. It offers college-aged young men the opportunity to run a professional a cappella group all by themselves, fostering the skills necessary to succeed both as a musician and a professional. Unlike with an unpaid internship, it’s a full-time job and you keep your share of what the group makes while still earning valuable experience. Auditions are now open, and we can’t wait to hear from you.

The first step is a video submission, with live-round call-back auditions in Boston sometime early spring. Submit a short (~5 minute) audition video before February 10th, 2018. Remember to be yourself, as cliche as it sounds. We want to get to know you from your video, so relax and have fun. Click here to get started. Email Jared with any questions at hyannissoundauditions@gmail.com

Hs 2

As a member of the Hyannis Sound, you’re a part of a professional a cappella group, a small business, bust most importantly, a tight-knit family. Hear it from directly from the ten young men that currently fill its ranks. Here’s 10 reasons why you should audition. One from each of us!

1. You’re pushed out of your comfort zone.

Jason Berk: Jason is the Hyannis Sound’s business manager, and he’s completed three summers with the Hyannis Sound. At Elon University, Jason was the president of Rip_Chord.

“You’re absolutely pushed out of your comfort zone. You learn so many new things. Not only will you learn a ton of new music, but you’ll learn so much about yourself. You leave the summer as a better musician, but more importantly a better person. I know I met some of the most amazing people, and I’m lucky to call them my best friends.”- Jason

2. You get to watch your friends grow and improve too.

Jared Graveley is the Hyannis Sound’s very own music director and has just finished his third summer in the group. He attended the University of Connecticut where he was the co-music director for his college group, the Conn-Men.

“The Hyannis Sound has been one of the greatest opportunities of my life. I’ve grown so much since being in the group; more so than I did in my first two years of college. What’s really cool is watching the newcomers grow in the same ways that I did. When you work hard and you finally get something, the best feeling is being able to give that back to someone else. I can’t wait for the next round of new guys and to see who’s auditioning for a spot in this awesome group.” - Jared

3. You’re immediately part of a loving community.

Grayson Kilgo is the Hyannis Sound’s social media manager, and has completed three summers with the group. He founded his college group No Ceiling in 2015 at the College of William and Mary. 

“Hyannis Sound has allowed me to truly feel connected to the awesome communities here on Cape Cod. I've had the opportunity to explore the Cape for three summers alongside 9 great friends and teammates. Joining Hyannis Sound is a wonderful opportunity for young singers to find confidence in themselves, and to feel connected to an extremely loving community during the summer months.”- Grayson

4. It changes your life in ways you can’t even imagine.

Ryan LaForest is the events coordinator for the group and has completed three summers with the Hyannis Sound. In college he sang with the CharlieChords at the Berklee College of Music. 

 “When I auditioned for the group back in 2015, I thought I was just auditioning for a group where I’d get to live on Cape for the summer singing awesome music with a bunch of cool guys. In the past three years, it’s proven to be so much more than that. It’s way more than an a cappella group. It really is a family. The alumni network is so supportive and more than willing to help the current guys with whatever they do.”- Ryan

5. You’ll find 9 of your best friends.

Anthony Rodriguez is our operations manager and has completed two summers. In 2017 his college group, the Nor’easters, won the ICCA championship and Anthony was awarded best soloist.

“We do pretty much everything together. Since we’re learning and rehearsing and performing all the time, we’re always together. Not only that, but we live in the same house, spend our time hanging out with each other, and cook and eat together too. It takes a little getting used to at first, but because of that, I’ve found 9 of my best friends.”- Anthony

6. You learn to become not only a better singer, but a more engaging performer.

Mark Farnum is the alumni liaison of the group and has been around for two summers. In college, he was the music director for Ithaca College’s very own Ithacappella.

“As a member of Hyannis Sound, you’ll be rehearsing and performing almost every day of the summer. The arrangements are both fun and challenging to sing. Performing them every day forces you to find ways to keep your performance engaging and different each time. There are few better ways to improve as a singer and performer than practicing 7 days a week for a whole summer!”- Mark

7. You get to record a ton of music with some of the best people in the industry.

Peter Carboni has just completed his first summer in the group and is the group’s Public Relations Coordinator. He was the creative director of the Doo Wop Shop at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

“As a member of the Hyannis Sound, there’s no doubt that you’ll be performing every night of the week. But what’s also cool is recording the songs you love in the studio. We produce a live-recorded bootleg album each summer, and on top of that we release a studio album every two years. We just released our latest album, “Boys of Summer” (RARB gave us a 5/5!) as well as our 2017 bootleg. It’s so cool to be a part of that and to leave your mark on an existing legacy.” -Peter

8. It’s an unforgettable, one-of-a kind summer.

Will Wolz is the website manager for the Hyannis Sound, and has completed his first summer with the Hyannis Sound. He’s currently the music director for No Ceiling at the College of William and Mary.

“Nowhere else will you find the perfect mix of friendship, fun and all-around growth other than with the Hyannis Sound. It’s truly unforgettable. Everyone in the group pushes you to be the best you can be as a performer, a musician and as a person.” - Will Wollz

9. You gain valuable life skills while pursuing your passion.

Nolan Roche acts at the Hyannis Sound’s house manager, and has completed his first summer with the group. He’s currently the co-business manager for the Bowdoin College Longfellows at Bowdoin College.

“Although I've been in the group for less than one year at this point, Hyannis Sound already holds an important place in my mind and heart. The combination of skills developed during a summer in HS are unique compared to typical summer jobs: public speaking, living and working as a team, and small business experience are just a few. But for me, the biggest takeaway involves a connection with and development of passion. After leaving Cape Cod, I felt a reinvigorated sense of my passion for music, performance, and most importantly, people that’ll impact the rest of my life. The quality of people, both in the group, community and alumni base, is remarkable” - Nolan Roche

10. You’re challenged musically, but it’s so much fun.

Matt Goldstein is the merchandise manager of the group and has just finished up his first summer with the Hyannis Sound. He was the music director of the Vassar Devils at Vassar College.

“The arrangements that we sing are super challenging. They aren’t easy! But because they’re so challenging, it makes for a beautiful product. We sing them every day and it’s so much fun. We have the guys in the house arrange songs for us, and we’ll also reach out to alumni who are more than happy to help.” - Matt Goldstein

So what are you waiting for? Submission deadline is February 10th! We can’t wait to hear from you. 

Follow the Hyannis Sound on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Listen on Apple MusicGoogle Play, and Spotify


Author bio: Peter Carboni is the Public Relations Coordinator of the Hyannis Sound, Cape Cod’s all-male professional a cappella group. He’s excited to return to Cape Cod in the summer for another jam-packed season of a cappella with 9 of his best friends. Like Peter on Facebook.

<![CDATA[Cherry Wine]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/cherry-wine http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/cherry-wine

This week we present the University of Michigan Dicks and Janes performing Hozier’s “Cherry Wine.”

<![CDATA[Breath as a Sound Effect]]>http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/breath-as-a-sound-effect http://acappellablog.com/200-reasons-to-love-a-cappella/breath-as-a-sound-effect

Reason #141: Breath as a Sound Effect

If a cappella is rooted in making the most of the human voice, one of the greatest gifts of the contemporary style over the last decade is creative use of other parts of the human body to make music. Whether it’s stomping or chest-thumping body percussion, a full-range of vocal percussion techniques, or Bill Hare famously having a member of the Tufts Beelzebubs tap his teeth into a microphone, the human body has revealed itself as a remarkably diverse musical instrument.

And how about breathing?

More and more groups have combined microphone technique with the simple act of breathing to result in a very dramatic, very cool effect, whether it’s any number of groups mimicking Imagine Dragons on the “breathin the chemicals” line of “Radioactive,” groups like Lafayette College Cadence punctuating each chorus of Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” with staccato exhales, or The Cornell Chordials’ masterful take on someone running out of breath to punch up the drama in a magnificent interpretation of Tori Amos’s “Precious Things.”

I love it!

<![CDATA[Death of a Bachelor]]>http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/death-of-a-bachelor-1 http://acappellablog.com/tuesday-tubin/death-of-a-bachelor-1

This week we present UC Santa Barbara Naked Voices performing Panic! At the Disco’s “Death of a Bachelor.”