Kristin LoBiondo: Will Work For After-Parties

“I think you’re awesome. Can I buy you a drink?”

These words were some of the first that came out of Jenn Fiduccia’s mouth when we met at VoCAL Nation last year. It may sound silly, but these words…this question…can go a long way, my friends. After a great conversation (and many drinks), Jenn and I are now pretty great friends, and, more importantly, a pretty great team. I could end the story there, but I hear Dio in my head saying, “GO ON…”

At that same after-party, I met Clare Wheeler. Yes, that Clare Wheeler, of The Swingle Singers. I was giddy with excitement to meet and schmooze with this FAMOUS PERSON. But schmoozing was not necessary. She hugged the breath out of me when we met. We laughed, we danced, we talked – like old friends! We now frequently talk over the internet. Not about a cappella, about silly girl stuff, the differences between the US and the UK, and how one day, she’ll teach me how to speak with a proper English accent.

At that same after-party, which was in a rooftop bar in New York City, these crazy guys decided to burst into song (yes, it was Cee Lo, and yes, it was Overboard – don’t act like you’re surprised). They were standing in a circle, dancing, and everyone was joining in, even the general public – people who didn’t know what we were there for. It wasn’t hokey. It was FUN.

That was all in ONE after-party. Here are some other things that could happen to YOU at an aca after-party:

*Hear an un-released single from Naturally 7.

*Rick Thomas or Dave Longo could buy you multiple Jaeger Bombs.

*Receive a serenade from Cadence while riding in a van to their hotel.

*Meet a CASA board member that changes your life as you know it (before you know it).

*Receive a nickname (or three) from Duwende.

*Record Christopher Diaz and Alli Brooks singing a Sonos song and post it to Facebook.

*Actually live one of the many memes we’ve been posting on Facebook over the past several days.

And the list goes on.

Are we having fun yet?

COMPETITION SUBMISSION DEADLINE EXTENDED

Okay, we listened, and we heard. It’s been a busy season with a later start to the semester for a lot of you, ICCA Quarterfinals, and trying to figure out what the heck season it is in Boston right now (we’re still not even sure). So, to alleviate some of your midterm-time stress, we are extending the deadline for submissions to the Friday Night Collegiate Competition by one week. Submissions must now be received no later than 11:59pm on Friday, March 2nd, 2012. If you have submitted your video already, you do not need to resubmit.

Only groups that have purchased weekend passes for their whole group no later than 11:59pm on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 will be considered to compete.

Full instructions for submission may be found here.

And because we’re feeling SUPER generous: Early Bird Pricing is also being extended by one week. This goes for all the individuals out there too! Get your tickets on the cheap while you still can! Prices absolutely will increase at 12:00 Midnight March 3rd – no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

VIDEO COMPETITION #1

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be running a series of contests where your entry form is a video, and the prizes are awesome. This week, for our inaugural competition, you’ll be vying for a CARA Red Carpet Upgrade to your already purchased All Access Pass*. Our theme for this week: Show us why YOU’RE the BOSS.

Want to be known as a the biggest a cappella fan at BOSS? Even better, want to hang on the Red Carpet with all of the VIPs, CARA nominees, and all the headliners on both nights of BOSS? Well, here’s your chance.

Record anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes of video telling us why you’re the hippest of the hip, the hoppest of the hop, the biggest, baddest, and most badass a cappella fan to grace the streets of Boston. Upload your video to YouTube, title it “BOSS 2012 – I’m the BOSS” and send the link to alex@casa.org. That’s all you need to do. The winner will be decided by the number of Likes their video receive on YouTube and Facebook combined, so make sure you get people to watch it!

The deadline for submissions for this contest is next Friday, March 2nd, and the winner will be notified the following Monday. You’ll hear from us about the next weekly contest soon (probably… in about a week).

*yes, you have to purchase an all access pass to be eligible. don’t be sneaky.

Nicole Marie Milano: Musings on Chowder and Cabs

Dear Reader: As a born and raised New Yorker, what am I about to tell you truly pains me to say. You’re not gonna like it, but I need you to hear me out. I promise I’m not leading you astray. Are we cool? Are you ready? Okay, here it is: in April, you’re gonna have to visit Boston.

I know, I know. I feel you. Normally, I wouldn’t want to go to Boston either. It is home to my most despised sports franchises, they call their subway “the T,” and the cabs there are white. White. There are very few things that could make me want to leave my home state of New York to visit the city of Tom Brady and white cabs. Boston Sings (along with New England clam chowder) is one of those few things.

huh. she's right about the white cabs. -ed.

You’re not convinced, are you? Fair enough. This isn’t the first time you’re hearing some a cappella festival spiel. You’ve attended all these workshops before, right? Wrong. BOSS will feature an entirely reworked and rejuvenated curriculum, premiering classes and workshops never before featured at any CASA event. As an attendee, that means you’re going to get exclusive knowledge from some of the best in the biz before anyone else even hears about it. If your whole group makes the trip, chances are you’ll have the opportunity to get one-on-one feedback from one of these pros.

And the performers? Well, I hate to say it, but if there’s one thing Boston knows how to do well (besides seafood), it’s a cappella. Ball in the House and Redline will be as on-point as Adele as they revel in their Hometown Glory. That chill you just felt? Yeah, that’s because I was about to mention Cadence, the festival’s headliner and Canada’s coolest quartet. Plus, Saturday night’s show will feature TRACES, a New York-based group. It’s up to you and I to be in the audience making sure that TRACES gets the loudest and rowdiest response, amirite?

If you’re still not convinced, just remember that Friday night at BOSS will mark the first-ever live CARAs ceremony. It doesn’t get much better than that, folks. Your attendance will ensure that you play a part in this very, very important event in the history of contemporary a cappella.

So, don your A-Rod jersey and get ready to display it proudly around the city of Boston* as you take the subw- I mean, the T – to the Regent Theatre on April 13th to be a part of BOSS. It is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, and let’s face it: an influx of aca-folk will only make the city of Boston better.

*Nicole Marie Milano, the author of this blog, is not responsible for what may happen to you if you actually decide to do this.

2012 Competition Prizes Announced

We are excited to announce the prizes for the BOSS 2012 Competition:

1st Place:

  • On-location recording session with the Pro Talent at BOSS 2012
  • Private masterclass with Professional group (1st choice)
  • Opening number in Professional Concert
  • Cover story on CASA.org
  • 25% off passes for BOSS 2013
  • Opportunity to open for Human Nature at their Boston Show on May 4th

2nd Place:

  • Private masterclass with Professional group (2nd choice)
  • 15% off passes for BOSS 2013

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at emily@casa.org. Learn more about the competition or submit to compete today!


Dates to Remember:

  • Friday, February 24, 2012 – Competition submissions close at 11:59pm
  • Wednesday, February 29, 2012 – Competition lineup announced
  • Friday, April 13, 2012 – BOSS 2012 Competition

Amy Malkoff: A Brief History of (Boston A Cappella) Time

As someone who’s been around the a cappella scene quite a while (imagine the calendar pages flying backwards, like, a lot), I am now seeing patterns, ebbs and flows that I didn’t, and couldn’t, of course, see when I first started doing this (college). Oh, it’s also important to note that most of my a cappella career thus far has been spent in the Boston area, considered one of the world’s hubs for vocal music.

In the years after I moved here, I started my own group, which morphed into a harmony-rich instrumented band, and then started another. I did the booking for the Nameless Coffeehouse for 8 years. The Nameless has been around since the 60s (!), and I don’t know if a cappella was standard before my stint, but I know it was during those 8 years. I booked professional, collegiate and semi-pro groups as a matter of course. Ask Ball In The House – I booked them there! I also booked the Tufts Amalgamates, and can remember them bounding on stage, and how happy it made me because that kind of crazy energy was such a interesting contrast to the venue’s standard fare of solo singer-songwriters. I had my own a cappella concert series (plural) that ran at different venues for several years. There were lots of groups around of all different stripes, so coming up with acts for my series wasn’t that difficult. The east coast summit was an annual event, bringing people from the east coast and beyond, and it was at one summit several years ago that I met my friends Duwende for the first time.

When I started doing all this, the internet was fledgling, CASA’s news was disseminated via a paper (paper!) newsletter, and social media didn’t exist. I love and vastly prefer our current interconnectedness. But for all of the burgeoning ways to connect/publicize, the 2000s seemed to coincide with a lull in the a cappella community in Boston. Less groups, less concerts, less enthusiasm. The east coast summits stopped, and though there were one-off concerts that popped up, nothing replaced it as a festival.

But sometime around the mid-2000s or so, a new wave. Exciting new groups like Overboard rejuvenated the area, and an influx of talented, enthusiastic individuals moving here buoyed a sagging community. Boston was, and is, hopping again. But we were still missing that summit. Enter BOSS. It simply made sense to have CASA’s newest festival land here, a perfect storm of aca-delightfulness. And this event boasts impressive educational offerings, multiple exciting performances, and so many chances to meet, sing with, and learn from amazing people. In truth, it’s taken and is taking a LOT of hard work to orchestrate BOSS, work done by a group of local (and some non-local) aforementioned enthusiastic individuals. All of whom, myself included, want to see YOU at BOSS because we know exactly how awesome it will be. Awesome with a red carpet. Because that’s how we roll.

Free VIP Upgrade Contest

So, you must have heard about this Collaborative Recording thing that’s been going on at a cappella festivals. No? It sounds like this. Also this. Want to be a part of it at BOSS 2012? Well, here’s your chance!

Buy your regular All-Access Passes by FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24th, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a FREE VIP UPGRADE. Yep, from regular average joe to big superstar hanging on the Red Carpet for the live CARA ceremony, VIP reception with all the attending CARA nominees, a VIP lunch with the pro talent, reserved seating at the pro concert, and participation in the Collaborative Recording session on Sunday where you can be a part of a project like The Bones of You, All of the Lights, and the forthcoming Princess of China, recorded just last month at LAAF.

The big winner will be notified via email, social media, smoke signal, or carrier pigeon on MONDAY FEBRUARY 27TH.

Producer Blog #3: Alexander Koutzoukis

My college a cappella experience was paradoxical in that I was in one of the more well-known and successful groups in the country for five years, yet almost entirely isolated from the rest of the community.

SoJam crept onto my radar in 2009 because we had performed with the UNC Loreleis on the Friday night of that weekend. I had been talking to Ed Boyer and knew he was just down the street (at the sketchy motel behind the BBQ place), so we picked him up in our unmarked fifteen passenger van, got breakfast, then stormed the castle of SoJam to capture its princess for the weekend (read: Deke Sharon) for a little singing on the quad and some Sing-Off discussion (we were leaving in just a few weeks). It was hardly a taste of what it could be – eventually a deli platter and baked ziti in Dave Sperandio’s kitchen – but the seed had been planted.

A year later I was living with Lauren Barreiro, and she and Alex Green and I were teaching at SoJam 2010. I masterclassed a group from UMD, then went to LAAF a couple months later and taught a workshop for a bunch of groups on the west coast and masterclassed a couple more groups. Before my first SoJam experience had wrapped up, I found myself in Dio’s kitchen where he simply said, “I need to talk to you about a festival in Boston.” We had a team hardly six months after that, and now here we are two months from the inaugural weekend.

I’ve met and worked with people I couldn’t have imagined even existed and through it all I feel that I’ve become a better arranger, producer, engineer, singer, musician, and even cook. But why is this relevant to you? Why is BOSS so important to me and why should it be important to you?

Boston is one of the most a cappella-dense areas in the country, but I could challenge many of those groups to name ten other groups around them and they would fail. Some of these groups have decades of history behind them but can’t explain why they don’t compete, why “jenna joh” is a guitar, or, like before, why they haven’t performed with 143 different groups around the city. We’re big on recording albums up here, and that’s all well and good, but some of them still sound like the 90s or, frankly, like they just don’t care. Let’s get all of these people in the same place and challenge each other: to arrange better, to sing more, to advance the art and generally help overload the market with how awesome we are.

Yes, we are awesome, but I promise we can be wicked awesome, so come to BOSS and let’s get it going.