Collegiate a cappella groups have the chance to undertake a variety of endeavors, projects and adventures. Give It the Old College Try highlights opportunities a group may have overlooked or not thought of up to this point.
In suggesting these ideas, we openly acknowledge that there are groups with greater experience and knowledge on the topic than we can share. We welcome readers to chime in in the comments section.
In this edition, we suggest groups try…regular shows.
OK, so just about every collegiate a cappella group has a big show at least once a semester, besides a handful of guest appearances at events around campus and maybe even off campus. Still other groups make a habit of competing or visiting other campuses to take part in other groups’ shows. These are all great opportunities to perform, but another idea altogether is to up the ante with regular shows. I’m talking about monthly, biweekly, or even weekly outings.
To the uninitiated, a weekly show may seem like an insane idea, and yet, there are groups that have been doing it for years. Other variations include performances before every home football game, or on some other recurring basis. Such performances require the availability of suitable recurrent performance space—preferably in a public space that will invite a sizeable audience every time out.
But let’s say you pick a time and place for your regular shows. The question might still remain of whether performing so regularly could possibly be worth the effort. In a word, the answer is yes. For one thing, regular performances help groups build their audience. Spectators are often impressed the first time they see a group, and yet its easy to forget about how great a group was when you don’t hear from the group for months at a time. By have a regular, recurring show, fans have the chance to start following a group, bringing new friends along each time, allowing a group’s fan base to grow in a very organic way.
In addition to developing your body of supporters, holding regular performances can be a fantastic way of pushing your group to excel. After all, neither the group nor the audience will have a great deal of fun if they go through the very same show week after week. This means that the group will be pushed to sharpen and refine their performances, tightening up the sound, learning new choreography, and otherwise enhancing each performance. Furthermore, this might be just the thing to push a group to learn new material, constantly expanding its repertoire to keep up with this type of performance schedule.
Regular shows can also lead to a group’s improvement by giving it the unique experience that only comes with taking the stage. Sure, regular rehearsals are invaluable to a group’s success. But there’s nothing quite like the act of actually performing—working out the kinks of stage fright, poise and showmanship in front of a crowd. Recurrent performances are a fantastic way of developing performance skills such that a group will be all the more impressive for its end of semester outings, or showings in competition.
Regular shows help to develop a fan base, push a group to improve and learn material, and provide irreplaceable performance experience. For all of these reasons, we suggest that you give them the old college try.