2012 Competition Results

In case you weren’t able to attend, here are the results of the 2012 Competition:

COMPETITION – FRIDAY, April 13, 2012

  • 1st place: Voices in Your Head from University of Chicago
  • 2nd place: Nor’easters from Northeastern University
  • 3rd place: Ithacappella from Ithaca College

We want to send a big thank you to all of the groups who performed – it was a stellar show. We hope to see you next year!

CARA Presenters: Jon Pilat

[This is the last of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: Jon Pilat
AWARD: Best Pop/Rock Song

Hello.  I’m Jon Pilat.  I arrange, sing bass, and beatbox for Hookslide.  Two of those three things tend to happen at the same time.  But enough about me–let’s talk about the CARAs.

About eight years ago, I received a phone call from Bill Hare asking if, since I already listened to more a cappella music than was probably healthy, I would be interested in joining the CASA board and running the CARA program.  I had been singing a cappella for almost ten years at that point, first with the Stanford Harmonics and then with Hookslide, but hadn’t really considered becoming involved with the a cappella community as more than a fan and a singer.  The CARA awards had always been something special to me–I had been nominated for work with both of my groups, mostly as an arranger.  This seemed like a great opportunity to hear everything that was going on in a cappella music and help promote the music I love.

I accepted, and over the years Julia Hoffman (partner in CARA-related crime) and I have helped the CARAs evolve to stay relevant with what recorded a cappella music is today.  We’ve added and changed awards to compliment the creativity that’s happening throughout the a cappella community.  The change that’s had the biggest impact is getting the broader community more involved with the awards as nominators and judges.  Every year we’re looking for new folks to join our group of CARA nominators–any CASA member with significant a cappella experience is eligible.  If that’s you, please consider helping make sure these awards continue to recognize the very best in recorded a cappella music.

When I started managing the CARAs, a live ceremony to honor the folks receiving the awards seemed about as likely as winning the lottery.  I am very proud to be a part of the first ever live CARA event, and incredibly grateful to all the folks with BOSS and CASA for helping put this together.

Producer Blog #5 (final): Meg Alexander

Ok Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are just days away from the first annual BOSS and I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am. We have an absolutely incredible, historic, life changing, face melting festival ready for you.

What do I mean by incredible, historic, life changing, and face melting? I mean an incredible collegiate competition with groups from ALL over the country. Seriously. As in from Oregon to Boston. Oh and while they’re wailing their heads off, we’re bringing you the first ever CARAs LIVE! Yes, live. With a newfangled award and all. Did we mention it also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the CARAs? Oh – and you can be a part of it, and will be, THIS Friday.

On Saturday, you will have the opportunity to experience the classic CASA workshops, along with the new curriculum designed specifically for BOSS. Learning how recording can help your stage performance and how what you do on the stage can bring life to your recordings.  And just to keep it interesting, we have some of the best acabombs interspersed throughout the day.  Don’t forget you’ll also be in one of Americas oldest cities, full of historic landmarks, delectable food, and you’ll be in town the weekend of the Boston Marathon. While in its inaugural year (1897) only 15 people participated, now more than 20,000 participate in this incredible event.

Saturday night, BOSS will bring you a huge range of styles in the professional showcase. The only CAL group in Boston, Redline, is opening our show. Their nominated album definitely has me excited to see them live! Traces, 2011 New York Harmony Sweeps Champs (and Boston’s champ for 2006), are going to tear up the stage with their wide range of musical influences: Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Spirituals, Caribbean and African, just to name a few. And if that wasn’t enough for you, world-renowned Cadence and their innovative jazz arrangements, genre-hopping covers and eclectic originals will blow your mind.

And while it will all look incredibly easy to pull this off over the 3 days you will spend with us, I can assure you that a festival like this does not happen without an INCREDIBLE team of people working tirelessly. I have been lucky enough and honored to work with such talented and dedicated people who have given every moment of free time over the last few months to ensure you have the incredible, historic, life changing, face melting festival I am promising you. Take a moment to read Who’s the BOSS and to find out who these people are, ’cause if they’re doing their jobs right (which they will be) you won’t see much of them unless you hunt them down at BOSS, and trust me they’re worth the hunt.

Please come say hi when you see me wandering the campus of MIT or enjoying the afterparties right along side you. If I haven’t met you yet, I want to. Can’t wait to see you all!

Cara Presenters: Samantha Schultz

[This is one of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: Samantha Schultz
AWARD: Best High School Album

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Samantha Schultz is 21 years old. She began singing and playing acoustic guitar at a young age. Samantha writes her own lyrics and music, and having been influenced by the likes of Jonny Lang, India Arie, Sheryl Crow and Justin Nozuka, Schultz has created her own unique sound, which appeals to ages of all types. Samantha has performed at numerous music festivals across Canada. She adds to her credits opening for such artists as Ryan Cabrera, Livingston Taylor, Kyle Riabko, Gaye Delorme, and Jennifer Warnes. In February 2009, Samantha opened for Schuyler Fisk and Ben Taylor at the famed El Mocambo club in Toronto, Canada.

Samantha has been nominated for multiple awards, such as the “Young Performer of the Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in November 2006, and the Stantec Youth Award in 2007 and 2009. In July 2011, Samantha released her sophomore album, Ink To Paper: a follow-up CD to her 2006 debut release, Both Sides. In January of 2012, Schultz was a featured artist in the Close Encounters: Helsinki and St. Petersburg Music Festival, where she took part in the international songwriting/collaboration band. Schultz performed her original music at multiple venues in Helsinki, Finland, and in St. Petersburg, Russia. Samantha has almost completed her junior year at Berklee College of Music in Boston, on the generous Gary Slaight Family Scholarship: a full-ride scholarship. Samantha has performed at Cafe 939′s The Red Room, the Berklee Performance Centre in various Berklee College of Music productions, and has taken part in many other on-campus performances.

In 2009, Samantha was one of four students chosen to be a part of Berklee’s premiere, award-winning, co-ed a cappella group, Pitch Slapped. Since her acceptance into Pitch Slapped, Schultz has become one of the pillar arrangers in the group, and was elected as the Assistant Musical Director in the fall of 2011. Samantha has taken part in the 2010 ICCA Finals, where they placed 2nd, the 2011 ICCA Finals, where the group placed first, and can also be heard on the group’s first self-titled EP, as a soloist and background vocalist. Pitch Slapped’s most recent accomplishments are placing first in the SoJam 2011 Competition, and their first tour in down the California coast. Currently, Schultz is heavily involved in the recording of Pitch Slapped’s highly anticipated, full-length album. Samantha will be continuing into next year as Pitch Slapped’s Musical Director, and has huge hopes and goals for the group in her senior year of college. Samantha is very excited to be attending her first CARA Awards as a presenter, and as a representative of Pitch Slapped. She is looking forward to sharing this special event with her a cappella colleagues, and hoping to gain more knowledge of a world that she loves very dearly. She wishes good luck to the BOSS competitors, and to the CARA nominees.

Sneak Peek: CARA Award

It’s almost that time: the time where the best in recorded a cappella from the past year is revealed. For the first time 8 of the award categories will receive this incredible award. Some of the biggest names in a cappella will be there presenting awards, receiving awards, competing, and networking. You could be there, too. Trust us… you’re not going to want to miss this.

There are only a few tickets left. Get yours today!


CARA Presenters: Jeff Thacher

[This is one of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: Jeff Thacher
AWARD: Best CAL Album

Jeff Thacher is best known as a member of the notorious Rockapella (www.rockapella.com), where for nearly 20 years, he’s served as the fab five’s full-time vocal percussionist.  He’s widely recognized as a pioneer in the field.  When not touring the globe with Rockapella, Jeff has applied his talents as a professional producer and recording engineer on dozens of a cappella albums, as well as for a variety of other independent artists.  Jeff is a co-founder of Boston’s own legendary group, the mighty FOCS (Five O’Clock Shadow), and holds a music degree from Berklee College of Music.  He’s given many lectures & workshops on the music industry and careers in music, as well as his colorful life in the studio and with Rockapella, and is delighted to return to beautiful Boston for the mighty BOSS!

Rockapella was CARA-nominated for Best Pop Album last year, and this year is nominated for Best Holiday Album.

About BOSS, Jeff says: “I started out in Boston, and quickly grew to love her. Boston is a city of music, and has nurtured and propagated so much a cappella.  The city has long deserved its own successful yearly event.  I hope it continues for many years to come!”

CARA Presenters: Julia Hoffman

[This is one of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: Julia Hoffman
AWARD: Best Pop/Rock Album

Dr. Julia Hoffman is the President of the Contemporary A Cappella Society. Julia has been seated on the CASA Board of Directors since 2003 and has served as Director of Awards (including the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards and the A Cappella Community Awards) since 2004. She is also the Executive Producer of the acclaimed Sing compilation and the CASC compilations. She started her a cappella career as a member, and later director, of the award winning Stanford Harmonics. She served as ICCA West Producer for the for two years. Julia is a frequent judge of a cappella competitions at all levels including the ICHSA & ICCA semifinals and the Harmony Sweepstakes. In her spare time, Julia works as a Psychologist and leads development of mobile applications for psychological health and traumatic brain injury for the Department of Defense.

On BOSS and the CARA awards ceremony, Julia says: “For the greater part of a decade I have sat quietly at my computer and pressed “publish” to award the brightest stars in our artform. I am so excited to look these incredible talented people in the face and say “Congratulations!” and “Thank you for what you have done; thank you for sharing your talent with us!” I can’t wait to be starstruck by the fabulous list of attendees at BOSS, during and after all of the awards are given out!”

CARA Presenters: David “Stack” Stackhouse

[This is one of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: David Stackhouse (Stack)
AWARD: Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement

David Stackhouse, also known as “Stack” for short, began performing a cappella music in the late 80s at Berklee College of Music, and has been on a mission ever since to make a cappella rock. In 1998 Stack joined Five O’Clock Shadow, Boston’s critically acclaimed a cappella group who’ve won numerous CARA and A Cappella Community awards and nominations, and one of the first full-time professional touring a cappella acts. A pioneer in the field, Stack was the first professional vocal-percussionist to sing vocal-bass at the same time – a technique he named “beatbass”. More than any other group that preceded them, Five O’Clock Shadow used guitar distortion, pitch shift, phaser, and other effects to make their voices sound like guitars and keyboards, thereby spawning the now-familiar expression, “vocal band”. In 2000 Stack co-produced Five O’Clock Shadow’s groundbreaking CD, “Wonders Of The World”, featuring many of his arrangements and original songs. The Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB) later named it one of their Picks Of The Decade, calling it “revolutionary: it continues to exert a strong influence especially on collegiate recordings … even if not everyone can do what FOCS did live and in concert.”

A singer-songwriter at heart, Mr. Stackhouse is finally pursuing a solo career, and intends to release his own CD by the end of 2012. He comes to BOSS this weekend excited to see how vocal rock has evolved, and to present this year’s CARA for Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement. For more information, please visit www.stackmusic.com.

CARA Presenters: Alfredo Austin

[This is one of a series of profiles on our CARA award ceremony presenters]

WHO: Alfredo Austin
AWARD: Best Male Collegiate Arrangement

Alfredo Austin is a member of the Boston-based pro a cappella group Overboard. He studied Music and Business at the University of Delaware. After receiving his BA he taught Voice at Delaware Arts Conservatory for 2 years. His love of a cappella started in college with a co-ed group at U. of Delaware. After directing that group his final year he moved on to Hyannis Sound, singing in it for 3 summers, contributing to arrangements, and serving as one of its primary vocal percussionists. He has also received many accolades for both his live and recorded vocal ability. Most notably, his featured solo on “Amazing Grace”, which won the 2011 CARA award for Best Religious Song, and his multiple appearances on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show!

Fredo on BOSS: He’s excited to go to the CARA award ceremony and reunite with some great people! He’s pumped to be working with such talented people in this event. He is also looking forward to the great talent that will be competing in the Friday night competition and the amazing groups being featured in the professional showcase. He can’t wait to see what BOSS has in store, in its inaugural year!