Category: Founding a Group


Hey Everybody,

First, thank you for reading this blog. Second, thank you for all of the support I’ve already received about the news that I will be starting a new coed a cappella group in Chicago, IL. While I don’t have many specific details about auditions and such just yet, I can assure you I’ll be keeping you all up to date once the information is decided.

As of right now, it looks like auditions will be around the first week of September.

We are still writing a charter, but the intention of this group is to produce quality music and be active in the a cappella sphere. Performances, competitions, showcases, and recording an album (funded by gigs) are all part of the plan.

Stylistically, the group intends to work to push the bounds of the contemporary a cappella genre (wide as that already is) and to perform music from a wide variety of genres from classical to classic rock, punk to pop.

Ok, that’s some information, mostly generic. Point is,

1) We’re going to sing a lot of different stuff.

2) We’re going to sing it well.

3) We’re going to sing it in a lot of different places for hopefully many different people.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, and you live in or around the general Chicago area, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me about being a part of this adventure. Comment on this post, DM me on twitter. Once we decide on a name (still accepting ideas), I’ll have an email address for you to send information too, as well as new social media accounts. I like to be on top of my emarketing game, what can I say.

Until then, thanks again for all your support. I truly appreciate it.

Best,

Brian

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There are many questions you must ask yourself (and your fellow founders) before you start an a cappella group. In this series, we will explore some of those questions.

What is the charter of this group? (Why am I starting an a cappella group?)

In the spring of 2008, I was finishing freshman year of college and had decided to start the first a cappella group at my school. After quickly deciding that I had no idea what I was doing, I decided to reach out to a couple of groups who had had a great deal of success after being around just a short while. At the top of that list was BYU Noteworthy who, after just a couple years of existence, had recently won the ICCA Championship.

The director of Noteworthy at the time forwarded my email to Dave Brown, then President of CASA, now one of the brilliant voices of the Mouth Off podcast. Dave’s formula for perfect auditions is to date one of the most brilliant pieces of a cappella knowledge I’ve ever heard.

Brian, get to the point already. Alright. Here it is.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but most of what Dave told me was centered around one question that I answered at the beginning of the conversation:

Why are you starting an a cappella group?

This question may seem like an inconsequential one, but it is more important that many questions you’ll ask and be asked. This question will determine the direction your group takes for the foreseeable future and starting with the wrong charter is something that many groups never recover from.

This is not to say that there is a wrong answer to this question. The answer to this question can only be wrong if it is not what you truly want.

Are you starting a group for the camaraderie and the friendships? A cappella people are a lot of fun to hang out with (especially if you like drunkenly singing showtunes.) If you are, be prepared to start rehearsals late and for learning music to at times be slow and unfocused. These are generalizations, but it is harder to keep discipline amongst friends and people who come to rehearsal to hang out with friends.

Are you starting a group because you want to express yourself as a musician? Better make sure that you find other people that are there for the music first. Rehearsals will be tense when you’re prepping for competitions or big shows, but you’ll sound good. Perhaps you’ll record a CD that gets nominated for a CARA and is purchased by more than just your family.

Undoubtedly there are pieces of each that sound good. Everyone wants to have a group of friends who they cannot only hang out with but also produce amazing music with. Most college groups start out attempting to walk this line – few succeeding in producing amazing music. The post-collegiate world is most likely a similar case, although the intention to hang out and sing tends to be the prevailing feeling that I’ve seen.

So again I ask, why are you starting an a cappella group? This question can very well change the path you take and the success you have. Once you know what you’re looking for in your new group, you’ll have to make sure you follow through, but knowing is half the battle. We’ll discuss that and other questions later in this series.