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…visiting a local school in your community .
As we’ve established in earlier editions of GIOCT, a cappella groups have a lot of opportunities for doing good deeds, for networking, and for building community among their ranks. There are few more effective ways to capture all of these ends in one than by stopping by a local elementary, middle or high school.
While a lot of folks hold the stigma that a cappella music is not cool, you’ll be hard pressed to find people who aren’t at least a little won over the first time they see a contemporary a cappella group live. Not to take anything away from the barbershop or more spiritually-related groups of the world, but they are a harder sell to young people. Send out a collegiate group, covering acts Radiohead to Kelly Clarkson, and immediately make a cappella fun, relevant—perhaps even cool. In making the music so entertaining and so accessible to a younger audience, you’re acting as an ambassador for the a cappella world, and quite possibly setting the foundation for the next generation of a cappella performers and enthusiasts. This is all the more true if you accompany your performances with demonstrations and workshops that help the kids take some a cappella skills home with them.
In addition to fostering a love for a cappella in young people, getting out into the community fundamentally provides the opportunity to expand your audience and spread your name. It’s easy for a collegiate group to remain unknown outside the confines of its own campus. Participating in these sorts of projects puts you out to children and their families, school staff, and perhaps even local media.
Perhaps most importantly of all, in contributing a bit of your time to a school, you are doing the right thing. A small good deed can go a long way in helping your community, bolstering group morale, and helping to develop a good name for you and your crew.
All in all, visiting a local school helps the children and helps you—it’s a win-win. We suggest you give it the old college try.