Josh waited a few days to let the idea of a new a cappella group sink in. He didn’t want to freeze himself, just thinking about logistics. After all, that’s why he was going to reach out to Amanda in the first place. Nonetheless, he wanted to prepare a real pitch. He wanted to be ready to answer her questions before she asked themm, to make it clear he was serious and, in particular, that this wasn’t just an excuse to talk with her.
Amanda always showed up on Google Chat in the evening, always with the red dot of “busy”-ness to shoo away frivolous conversation. She usually kept it and Facebook open while she did her homework and check on people’s statuses or make a quick comment when she needed a break from reading.
And so, he started a conversation. It went smoothly at first, the usual “long time, no see,” “how are you” chitchat. She went so far as to comment on his relationship status and say that, from the pictures, Carrie looked cute. He didn’t say much in return.
Josh: the reason I wanted to talk to you was because I had an idea for a new project
Josh: don’t say that
Josh: you don’t even know what it is
Amanda: OK, so what is it?
Josh: I was thinking about how SCC doesn’t have an a cappella group. I think I want to start one. And since you’re here too, I thought, who better to ask for help
Amanda: I think that sounds amazing
Amanda: I miss the group so much
And so, the conversation got off to a good start. He explained that time was tight, but he had a plan. They would hold auditions in one week and set straight to work learning three simple songs—probably stuff he and Amanda already knew from high school and could teach with ease. They would record them in October and send out their application to Varsity Vocals to compete in the ICCAs. In the mean time, they would start to learn more songs and polish up a 12 minute set to be ready for competition for the spring.
Amanda: do you really think it’s a good idea to compete?
Amanda: i mean, if we’re just starting the group this fall, we’re not going to be great. and some people might get stressed out if they know that’s what we’re aiming for.
This was the sort of thinking that kept their high school group from ever entering a competition—the same argument Amanda had teamed up with their faculty advisor to make in opposition to applying to ICHSA. But ever since Josh had seen The Grand Standers in the ICCAs, he knew that that’s where he wanted to go with his musical career. He remembered the energy, the electricity, the passion of competition. He remembered feeling so certain The Grand Standers had their semifinal won, and how he started thinking of how he’d get together the money to travel to New York to watch them compete in The Finals.
Less than a year later, the concept of a cappella competition still fascinated him. His objectives had shifted, though. The Grand Standers had rejected him. Now, he wanted to beat them at their own game.
Josh: if we’re up front about wanting to compete, we’ll attract a really different crowd.
Josh: not just music nerds, but people who want to be in competitions, and add “champion” to their resumes
Amanda: and you think we’ll find more of them at community college than we did in high school?
They contested the point a little longer. Josh got his argument out, then changed topics to let that one simmer.
Josh: we would need to think of a name for the group too
Josh: puns are good
Josh: but it should be edgy too—something that sounds cool
Josh: i was thinking about “sexappella”
Amanda: going for subtlety, huh?
They went back and forth for a while. None of the names seemed to click, from those that were actually too subtle or too esoteric, to those that were blunt or stupid. At last, it happened.
Amanda: how about “the acapocalypse.”
Josh: i like that
Amanda: and we could have an end of the world-themed show or something
Josh: just the name
Josh: it’s neat, it’s different. it’s a word people know, but it’s more serious than you usually think of for a cappella
Amanda: so you like it?
Josh: i do
And so, sitting in an old t-shirt and gym shorts, the glow of his laptop screen shining in his face, Josh, in partnership with his ex-girlfriend, had started a new a cappella group.