CARA Awards Presentation and Red Carpet Event

The inaugural BOSS introduced the red-carpet, black-tie excitement to the a cappella festival world, and we’ve loved getting fancy with the community ever since. This year, we thought we’d up the ante a little and go full-on Banquet style: Professional catering and the live CARA presentation. Well, we’ve heard from some of you, and we’re making a few adjustments to make this part more accessible:

– The CARA Banquet is now all ages. No more 21+, no more IDs at the door. Bring your family, bring a date, and don’t worry about squeezing dinner plans into a busy Saturday, because we’ve got it covered. (And bring the kids, because ages 6 and under are free!)

– The Red Carpet as you’ve known it will be in full effect before the Pro Concert. Paparazzi included, so get dressed up and get in early: Buying a Red Carpet Add-On also gets you priority access when doors open at 7:30pm, meaning you’ll get first dibs at seating for the concert, too.

– In case you were wondering: Your CARA Banquet ticket also gets you onto the Red Carpet. And not only that, but you’ll get priority access straight to the front of the line (and seats).

[Don’t forget: CARA Nominees should email for your discount!]

Wondering why you really want to be at the Banquet? Here’s a refresher:

– Live CARAs. Be the first to know who wins the biggest honors. (Will it be you?)
– NOMS. Don’t go crazy trying to find someplace to eat in the Back Bay, just take it easy with us.
– Mingle with the pros. Rockapella and The Rainbows will be there before the big show.
– Meet original members of Rockapella and watch the presentation of their Lifetime Achievement Award. No joke. This is a big deal.

Maybe you just passed that one over because it was last, but go back and read it, then get your tickets. We can’t wait to see you there, and yes, we’re judging your shoes.


BOSS and CARAs Bring Nominated Singers From Around The Globe

The CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards) have been around since 1992, honoring the best in recorded vocal music worldwide. But it wasn’t until the first BOSS in 2012 that the CARAs were ever presented live, with an honest-to-goodness red carpet, and dressed-to-the-nines attendees. In those intervening years, interest has grown, and more CARA nominees from outside of the US (and inside) have made the trip to Boston to be part of the ceremony, and to join in the BOSS festivities.

Club for Five
This year, we already know of singers coming from Israel, Africa, Sweden, and Finland. Those places are not close to Boston, y’all!

Tuukka Haapaniemi, from Club For Five (Finland), whose Christmas album Jouluna is nominated in three CARA categories, says, “For many years now we’ve been following the CARA awards, and were thrilled to see that it is growing alongside with the interest in music done a cappella. We were actually very close to participating in last year’s BOSS, because one of our singers was in New York at the same time. But we didn’t. So this year we decided to join the celebration.”


Three members of Namibia’s VMSIX are coming, as they are nominated for 2 CARAs. Encouraged by CASA ambassador Tone Siwela (thanks, Tone!), they decided to join the party. Turns out they cover some Rockapella tunes, so they’re looking forward to hearing them live, and they also produce their own festival (Namibia International A Cappella Festival), so BOSS will serve as sort of a cultural aca-exchange.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons

The whole of Swedish group Pros & Cons (2 CARA noms) are coming to BOSS. Member Joel Bexelius says: “We are really looking forward to meeting a lot of new American friends and contacts within a cappella music. We are also, of course, looking forward to going to the CARAs and watching the headliners, Rockapella and The Rainbows at the Saturday concert. And last but not least, we’re really looking forward to seeing Bill Hare who co-produced, mixed and mastered both our Safe & Sound album and our Christmas single ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’. We owe him a couple of drinks.”

So, as if BOSS didn’t offer enough on its own, we now boast serious international flava! Join us!

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 (, 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

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!

CARA Presenters: Jo Vinson

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

WHO: Jo Vinson
AWARD: Best Female Collegiate Arrangement


I’m Jo, and I think you should come to BOSS. And I like to consider myself someone who knows what’s up now and then, which is why you should listen to me. “But who is this Jo person?” you wonder to yourself, “and how come she can tell me what to do with my weekend?”. Well here’s the sitch on me: I tripped and fell into the a cappella world a few years ago when I joined Divisi, the women’s group at the University of Oregon. I was bopping along, singing my part when none of the basses showed up for a gig and I covered their part for the night. I was henceforth never allowed to sing anything else. Then, one day, someone was like, “Hey Jo, you’re alright, wanna join my pro group?” And I thought for a hot second and said, “Sure, as long as you can get me to Boston from Oregon”. And thus, I joined Musae. And then, this dude says to me, “Hey, wanna be on TV?” And I was like, “Well, as long as no one looks at me.” And so I joined Delilah. And THEN…well, never mind what happened next. The point is, all of this happened to me because of one little decision: to get involved with a cappella. What if you were born to beatbox, or arrange songs, or meet Tom Anderson? You’ll never know unless you come to BOSS and find out. Plus, have I mentioned that I’ll be there with my friends? And I’m telling you, I don’t hang with sub-par folk. My people are the best people, and you want to meet them, learn from them, and hear some of ’em sing. BOSS will be a party. A big, dorky, musical, wonderful party where you might just learn a thing or two. Or at least, you know, meet Tom Anderson.

CARA Presenters: Deke Sharon

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

WHO: Deke Sharon
AWARD: Best R&B Song (to be presented via video)

CASA founder Deke Sharon has been singing a cappella since the age of five and spent his formative years with one foot in traditional choral idioms (church choir, San Francisco Boys’ Chorus, madrigal groups, barbershop quartets) and the other in rock bands. The two came together during his tenure as music director of the Tufts Beelzebubs (see photo, circa 1991), and he formed CASA in hopes of creating a community of like-minded acappellaheads.

Often called the “father of contemporary a cappella”, Deke has played a prominent and influential role in the formation of CASA’s many outreach programs. Most recently, he founded the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL), a national network of a cappella groups for post-collegiate and adult singers.

Deke directing the Bubs in 1991

Deke founded and has been singing in the vocal rock band The House Jacks since 1991. The group has produced several full-length albums and completed multiple world tours. He arranges and directs the groups on NBC’s a cappella competition reality show, “The Sing-Off”.

About BOSS, Deke says: “Boston is the mothership. Boston has the greatest density of collegiate a cappella, possibly the greatest density of a cappella singing in general anywhere in the world. It’s about time for a major annual Boston a cappella festival, and BOSS is just that!”

2012 Live Awards Announced

For those of you who have been needing, hoping, yearning to hear what awards we’re going to be announcing live – here you go! While all of the awards will be announced throughout the ceremony, 8 will be presented awards live on stage at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA. Below is the list of awards that will be presented at the Friday Night Competition and CARA Awards Ceremony at BOSS 2012:

  • Best Pop/Rock Album
  • Best Pop Rock Song
  • Best R&B Song
  • Best Male Collegiate Arrangement
  • Best Mixed Collegiate Arrangement
  • Best Female Collegiate Arrangement
  • Best CAL (Contemporary A Cappella League) Album
  • Best High School Album

Stay tuned for more posts on our illustrious presenters, a complete list of whom will be posted soon!