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…going on tour.
OK, so your group has had concerts on campus, and has made appearances at everything from freshmen welcome events to school basketball games. What’s more, you’ve tested your metal against other groups in competition. What’s left to do? What other ways are there to get your sound out to a wider audience?
In three words: hit the road.
Touring is a no small undertaking for a collegiate a cappella group. After all, you have to think about how and where you’ll book performances, what you’ll do about lodging, how you’ll pay for it, how you’ll find the time to get your whole crew out on the road without it taking a toll on your academics, social lives and other obligations.
If you can overcome all of the challenges, though, there a wide array of benefits to touring. Depending on the length and scope of the tour, each year, groups use parts of their winter vacations, spring breaks, or summers traveling between other colleges or other venues to put on shows in foreign territories.
On of the most immediate benefits of touring is the potential to connect with more people. For example, a California-based group that makes an east coast swing will have the opportunity to meet any number of a cappella enthusiasts—members of other groups who host them, fans who come out to see the shows. These connections can prove invaluable for booking future performances, besides giving a group the opportunity to see what other groups are doing, and to try out its material on a new audience—one of the truest tests of just how good a group has become. On top all of this, there are few better opportunities to sell CDs and merchandise than after wowing a new crowd with your live act.
Outside of the potential for musical and business gains of touring, it also provides a unique and powerful opportunity for your group to bond. Whether traveling in a caravan of cars, via bus, train or plane, the experience of traveling together provides a wealth of opportunities group members to get to know one another better. What’s more, there are incredible opportunities to take in sights, and essentially enjoy a vacation as a group of friends when you hit the road.
Touring holds awesome networking potential, as well as opportunities for musical, professional, and community development. We suggest you give it the old college try.