You guys may recall in the fall that I wrote a post about why I was looking forward to AcappellaFest. Well, Chicago’s got two amazing a cappella festivals this year and here’s what I’m looking forward to at the new addition to the SingStrong family, SingStrong Chicago.

1) Doing some good beyond music. Some of you may be familiar with the SingStrong story, but this is an event for charity. Here’s what has to say about the event:

SingStrong is an international a cappella music festival with over 200 Singers and presenters! Beatbox, barbershop, rock, jazz, hip-hop, doo-wop, classical, throat singing, comedy and more! This year, 100% of SingStrong’s profits will be donated to charity. The overwhelming majority of the money raised will support the Alzheimer’s Association while a smaller portion will be donated to support the local choral program.

So all of the aca-knowledge you’ll absorb during the weekend and amazing concerts you’ll see will not only benefit you, but they’ll help others.

2) Aca Idol. Some of you may know that I’m coordinating this event this year, but that’s not why I’m so excited about it. This is one of the few competitions that has both collegiate and post-collegiate groups competing and has a cash prize. Plus, three judges have a great equalizer in determining the winner – a 4th vote coming from a call in vote by the audience after all of the groups have performed. I bet there’s a lot of ICCA performers who wished they had that.

Also, I’ve heard all of the groups that are performing, and I gotta say, they’re good. Real good.

3) I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how awesome it’s going to be to see Nota, Swingle Singers, Julia Easterlin, Blue Jupiter, THUMMp, Traces, New Tradition Chorus and a bunch of amazing VPs rock the SingStrong stage. (I’ve most certainly forgot someone. Suspension will be there too.) I’ve only ever seen most of these groups on TV or YouTube and can’t wait to experience each act live. Even without the classes a weekend pass is so worth it.

But of course,

4) WHY WOULD YOU NOT GO TO THE CLASSES? Let’s just talk about who will be talking about arranging. John David Maybury, Tom Anderson and Ben Bram. In case you think you’re unfamiliar with their work, here’s a youtube video with some snippets of just a couple of Ben’s achievements:

I got a chance to chat with Tom Anderson at AcappellaFest and see him host an arranging panel and I must say, if you arrange for your group or are thinking about arranging for your group, this guy has quite a mind. And he’s now the president of CASA. Oh yeah, and John’s talking about the future of arranging and rehearsals with some pretty impressive technology.

Coincidentally, if your group is thinking about auditioning for the Sing Off, you’ll probably be able to pick up some helpful tips from one of the dozen or so people that either performed or worked on the show that will be at SingStrong.

There’s so many other things that I can’t even begin to explain them all. Just go check out the schedule:


Yeah, it’s going to be an incredible event and you should probably be there. For more information on all aspects of the event, visit