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.

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