Organizers recently announced the founding of the A Cappella Education Association, a non-profit focused on providing educational resources, support, and networking to expand a cappella in education, particularly at the high school level. The Association is currently raising money for incorporation and registration as a non-profit, website design, and outreach efforts. In this special edition of The 5s, I’d like to explain why the A Cappella Education Assocation is a cause worth supporting.
1. Preservation. Any art form that doesn’t look out for its own survival is doomed to extinction. If today’s practitioners of the a cappella form want to leave a community behind in which to have a legacy, and want to see the form itself carry on for generations to come, one of the most important things they can do is to encourage young people to get involved--and if they start getting involved even younger than those who came before them, all the better. The A Cappella Education Association is all about building the next generation of a cappella artists to carry on the work of those who came before them.
2. Betterment. If you love a cappella, you want to see it get better. In order for the genre to improve upon itself, we need new blood. Getting more young people started earlier in a cappella has all the potential in the world to spark the new ideas that will help a cappella evolve, change, and ultimately get better with the passage of time.
3. Fundamentals First. Not all a cappella groups or a cappella programs are built equally, but the A Cappella Education Association has the potential to level the playing field by offering a nation-wide audience of up and coming a cappella artists and their teachers access to methods of teaching a cappella, professional arrangements, and advice from a cappella’s greatest minds. Anything we can do to provide equitable education about the fundamentals of a cappella will only foster a more diverse, creative pool of a cappella experts in the years to follow.
4. More A Cappella. This point may be intrinsic to the preceding three, but providing educational resources and liaisons to local a cappella communities across the country has every chance of cultivating more a cappella singers, more a cappella groups, and more a cappella music. Sure, not every high school singer will go on to sing in a college group, and not every college a cappella group member will carry on her interest to a post-collegiate group. But every time we increase the numbers at any level of a cappella, we’re facilitating the creation of more art, and increasing the likelihood that some of the artists at one level will carry on to the next. That makes for a lot of exciting possibilities for the future of a cappella.
5. The Incentives. Contributing to the A Cappella Education Association is not only a philanthropic good deed, or a step toward spreading a cappella to young people—it’s also an opportunity for you to collect some pretty sweet rewards, including (but not limited to) music, arrangements, production services, or consultation time (or less formal meetings) with folks like Mark Hines, Ed Boyer, Dave Sperandio, and Deke Sharon.