My fellow blogger 1.0 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once cleverly remarked: „If I had had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.“ An anti-rambling manifesto, cast in granite.
The LACF2013 Vocal Joggers ran with one voice.
So for this blog post I have set myself the goal of keeping it very brief – LACF2013 in a nutshell. So here’s a different kind of „Vocal Blog on tour“ poetry meets math article.
A Cappella + Metropolis = LACF
LACF x 4 = rocket start
Start of the 21st century = Swingles 2.0
The Swingle Singers = LACF’s heart and soul
Soul Brother No. 1 = Alfredo „Fredo“ Austin
Tine + Line = ElectroEmotional Queens x (Hot + Cool)
Cool = London weather x understatement
Understatement = LACF was not exactly terrible
Terrible = London pubs closing time.
Time of my life = music + meeting + learning + exchange
The Exchange = party
Party animals = all Finnish people
People from all over the world = King’s Place foyer
Foyer concerts = vocal harmony and happiness
Happy maniac = Postyr’s Kristoffer
Christopher Diaz = Talk as talk can
Canned beer < bottled beer < draught beer
Beer from Britain = always an experiment
Experiments in Songwriting 2.0 = Postyr Project
Project 2013 = The Big Qs of A Cappella eBook
Booking agent for all of these groups = job of my dreams
Dream come true = King’s Singers + Swingle Singers
Single Singers = best community project ever
Everybody at LACF = open-minded, excited, friendly
Friends = Aca-family in the real world
World Champion of Hi-Heels (advanced level) = Clare Wheeler
Clare Wheeler = jazz + style + shoes + goosebumps
P.S. = I love you, London
London A Cappella Summer School = the future
Future = European festival network
Work = OMG, it’s almost Monday
Monday = 364 days until London A Cappella 2014!
I am a happy if slightly tired blogger today. And I’m about to miss my flight because I liked having breakfast with my dear friend Hans Cassa this morning. Follow Vocal Blog on tour via #VBontour or simply via my Twitter.
Those of you who are new to Vocal Blog or have not been to an international a cappella festival (yet) might think it’s a typo. No, it isn’t: Besides the Vocal Blog (your favourite online vocal music magazine) there is the Vocal JOG. What the FORK is this?
It all began with realizing that being on tour often means the following: Take a plane or train to some airport, drive to a hotel, hurry to the venue, soundcheck, concert, after show party, sleep (a bit), have breakfast at hotel, drive to train station or airport and be gone. Gone without the slightest idea about the place you just “visited”. On top of that rather frustrating kind of spending time in probably nice places, life on tour is not particularly healthy: either too little or too much or too fast food, alcohol, little sleep and constant rushing from one place to the other.
So could there be anything better than physical activity to get the stress out? And wouldn’t it be nice to see a bit more than another run-of-the-mill hotel room and the backstage areas of the world? I realized that if you have your running shoes and suitable clothes with you all the time, there is almost always a half hour and a shower, that gives you that wonderful feeling of fresh air in your lungs and a perspective on the city or landscape you are at the moment.
To motivate more people at vocal music festival to join me, I gave this “project” the name Vocal Jog and after a lot of unsuccessful efforts to find running mates, I finally had the first group Vocal Jog at London A Cappella Festival 2012. The six of us went up Primrose Hill (a proper British “mountain”…) and down in vocal music and sports history.
John (on the very left) with Hans Cassa, Florian Städtler, Claudia Appel, Nicholas Girard and Annemarie Homan on Primrose Hill, 2012
So here’s the next opportunity for all of you who are in London on Saturday, 26th of January! Join us for the Second Unofficial LACF Vocal Jog, here is the schedule and the most important details:
08:30am – meeting and start at The Premier Inn (26-30 York Way, 2 minutes from King’s Cross) for those who want to do a relaxing run of about 50 minutes
08:50am – next meeting point is the Chester Gate entrance of Regent’s Park (tube station: Regent’s Park, follow the Outer Circle counterclockwise = Northbound and meet us at the gate opposite of the road called Chester Gate; this is recommended for Vocal Joggers who would like to run approximately 30 minutes
09:00am - meeting point for the “Nordic Talkers”, those who only want to talk a walk of about 15 minutes to the top of Primrose Hill is the crossing of Prince Albert Road and Albert Terrace
09:15am – For those who just want to watch and cheer at the VocalJoggers (= fans, groupies, tweeps), wait for us on top of Primrose Hill, you won’t be able to miss us. Depending on the weather you will be rewarded by a wonderful view over the city including the London Eye and all.
Here’s the link to the complete route on Google Maps. Find updates at the Vocal Jog Facebook fan page and if you want to be part of this fantastic #LACFextra #VocalJog experience, don’t miss it and join us along the way. The current world record of participants is 6 runners – London, I know we can beat this! For urgent questions, call the Vocal Jog hotline at +49 171 301 50 66.
Meet you on the LACF2013 track tomorrow – can’t wait!
I’m Florian Städtler, an amateur-runner, an ex-singer and – before the Vocal Jog took off – had to learn about “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner” the hard way. Like music, workout is a highly social activity. I think running after an after-show party is simply the best. At least when it’s over.
Travelling abroad is a wonderful thing. But we all know these terrible hours before we actually leave. Packing your bags last-minute, checking your bus, train and flight connections and of course: Trying to get as much done on your real world or virtual desk as the clock ticks mercilessly.
This January has been particularly busy and getting all my things together for my fourth London A Cappella Festival trip was an incredible rush. But the stress of getting away from „normal life“ for a couple of days is absolutely worth while. Because of 7 things that no London A Cappella Festival visitor should miss:
A proper English pub – LACF has an official (?) meeting place called „The Fellow“ (26-30, York Way), quite close to the festival venue „King’s Place“. There are two more fantastic places friends showed me on earlier London trips: The Princess Louise (208, High Holborn, tipp by Jes Sadler) and “The Antilope” (24, Eaton Terrace, tipp by Costa Peristianis, Ikon Arts)
The King’s Place foyer – the venue of Britain’s finest vocal music festival is a stylish and inspiring place only 8 minutes walk from King’s Cross. Its foyer, that during the first and second festival was a rather calm place has become a buzzing place of open singing, international encounters, workshops and a cappella networking. We recommend coming rather early before concerts and events: You might bump into people like Bill Hare or Amanda Aldag or see the occasional Swingle or King’s Singer talking to their audience in an extraordinarily relaxed and friendly way,
Workshops – if you want to learn from your singers in some of the best vocal groups in the world or if you simply want to come to know these people a bit better, LACF festivals are a great opportunity to broaden your horizon. There’s plenty of information on the website and seminars from „Complete Vocal Technique“ (Tine Fris/Postyr, DEN) to „Melodyne“(Erik Bosio/Cluster, ITA)
High Tea – you and your friends should book have a VERY British „tea ceremony“, preferably around Covent Garden. London prices, but – according to most LACF 2012 High Tea participants, an unfogettable experience,
Shoes – you may ask how shoes became so important at LACF. Well, first of all, there are two very different kind of shoes: Fashionable, mostly ladies’ shoes (extreme high-heel competition included) and running shoes (see further below under „Vocal Jog“). Always promoting the LACF shoes catwalk are high-heel afficionados Clare Wheeler (alto and party planner with The Swingle Singers), Tine Fris (singer, composer, arranger, teacher, booker etc. etc. etc. with Postyr Project) and Annemarie Homann (co-founder of The Single Singers).
The Single Singers– Annemarie Homann and Emily May t’Hoen are the driving forces behind an incredible international project of planned spontaneous collective singing. They planned to visit LACF 2012 and somehow didn’t want to just listen, but sing themselves. And so they looked for more singers who wanted to do the same…and had a spectacular premiere at the King’s Place foyer in January 2012. They did it again at The Real Group Festival in Stockholm in August 2012 and there have been similar projects at US a cappella events lately.
The LACF t-shirt – look at the beautiful people at King’s Place who sell merchandise and help you out if you have any questions about LACF. They wear the official LACF shirt, which can be ordered online via www.acappellazone.com
With The Exchange – from Baltimore 2012 to London 2013
As a matter of fact, there are at least 77 more things you shouldn’t miss at LACF, e.g. the London A Cappella Festival iPhone app, now available via iTunes, Swingles Bass Edward Randell’s „Woofer“ project, a choir consisting of more than twenty basses, the 2nd LACF VocalJog on Saturday morning AND: Seeing my dear friends and US acappella shooting stars The Exchange again, supporting the Swingle Singers on Saturday night. Woohoo!
And now I have to run to get some smuggled Swiss goods to Islington: The Ikon Arts ladies need some doping for the upcoming challenges!
I’m Florian „Superman“ (quote all the Swingles Ladies), „The Hugh Hefner of A Cappella“ (quote FORK), „Uncle Flo“ (quote The Boxettes), „He runs Europe“ (quote Dave Sperandio) Städtler and I am a very modest man giving my humble thoughts via my global vocal music communication baby, the Vocal Blog. Call me maybe, baby.
This year’s line-up is quite spectacular in many ways, too: The Swingles inviting The King’s Singers shows the mutual respect between two groups who are both living legends and at the same time alive and kicking. Finally, one of Britain’s most successful live acts, The Magnets, have their LACF spot as well as Finnish vocal music stars Rajaton, who will spread their soundscapes of pop and Nordic music at King’s Place for the first time. And don’t forget the next generation: Postyr Project from Aarhus, Denmark with their blend of electronic and vocal music. The Exchange (USA), a five-part all-star band from NBC’s Sing-off supporting The Swingle Singers. Vive, one of the big hopes of young British vocal music. Retrocity from Canada with their mix of pop, soul and funk…you better get your tickets now at www.londonacappellafestival.co.uk.
With the first two articles about LACF2013, I would like to feature some people who I want to meet in London in person. Simply because I know that it will be fascinating to talk to them about their reasons for coming to London, about the festival’s artists and the development of vocal music in Europe, America and Asia. This first one is about what we might call “hidden champions”: People who work backstage, people who organize and network, people who care so much about the a cappella community that they travel from (very) far to see the concerts and meet their aca-friends. It goes without saying, that this is a very subjective selection and of course I could easily have titled this “101 People You and I…”. However, if you meet some of these featured, you will sooner or later bump into more inspiring, thoughtful and/or crazy a cappella people.
Here are the hidden champs I want to meet and talk to from Jan 24th-26th:
Alex Godfree (UK), because as the figurehead of Voice Festival UK, she is one of THE movers and shakers in the UK a cappella scene. Watch her on that little LACF2012 video greeting and check out Voice Festival UK’s brandnew website, Facebook page and Twitter.
Jeanine Rondas (BEL), because Jeanine is one of these people who have made a cappella their favourite thing. She probably knows more about vocal music in Europe than most of the “vocal music pros” around. Get to know her via Facebook and ask her anything about aca-travelling – she’ll have the dates, names and figures.
Andrea Figallo (Flying Pickets, Wise Guys) with Jeanine Rondas
Jessica Hill (UK), because her work with the Ikon Arts team makes LACF happen. Thank you! Watch Jessica, Nicola and Beccy in their LACF 2012 video greeting and check out Ikon Arts via Facebook and Twitter. (To meet these ladies during the festival buzz will be rather easy…talking to them will be much more difficult. #busybuddies
Yael Levin (ISR), because she (together with Yarden Cohen) seems to be very a cappella active in her home country – and I want to learn more about what happens over there regarding vocal music. Welcome to London, Yael – who else will be coming from Israel?
Yael meets Katarina Henryson (The Real Group) at The Real Group Festival 2012, Stockholm
Sven-Michael Salzer (GER) – I’m actually not sure if “SMS” aka Festival-Sven will be joining us at LACF2013, but I do hope so. He is a member of the Hannover-based vocal group Essenzen and fell in love with another LACF2012 attendee – which means we have one more aca-couple. Here’s Sven’s Facebook and Twitter contact…ah, and by the way: Sven works as a manager of Hannover A Cappella Festival, one of the major vocal music events in Germany for more than a decade now.
Festival-Sven meeting Clare “Twitterqueen” Wheeler of The Swingle Singers
Michele Manzotti (ITA) – Michele, a journalist and writer based in Florence, Italy is one of the greatest Swinglesingerologists on the planet. Ask him a question about Swingle Singing and he will have the answer. He made his debut as a performing vocal artist joining the fabulous “Single Singers” (no typo; pun intended, find more on this project’s website) at LACF2012. Michele is such a great guy – chat him up if you can!
Michele Manzotti with his wife at LACF2012
Joan Hare (USA)- Well, what can I say about Joan? She is probably one of the most unique and wonderful people in a community that is not exactly poor regarding original personalities. Joan “A Cappella Mum” Hare actually is the mother of Bill Hare, the world’s no.1 vocal music producer (the list of his clients would make this blog explode). But Joan is much more: She’s a symbol of what makes this community so special, the figurehead of aca-love. You won’t be able not to meet her – and that’s perfectly fine.
Joan Hare (front right) with Sonia Kilianova…and Bill Hare
Hans Cassa (NED)- Is Hans a hidden champion or should he rather be mentioned in the next blog post, when the stars on stage will be featured? Difficult, because being a longtime member of Dutch a cappella pioneers Montezuma’s Revenge as well as a passionate “Single Singer“, aca-traveller, teacher and fan, he is a perfect example of how the border between pros and amateurs have no meaning at all at the great a cappella festivals . It’s the joy of music and good company. You will certainly meet Hans both at the “Festival Pub” called “The Fellow” and at the Premier Inn’s hotel bar. He’s not tweeting a lot, but anyway here’s his Twitter and Facebook contact.
Deborah Rosanwo (GER) – If you want to meet a passionate choir singer (with Bonner Jazzchor) and want to learn about the best things about Stockholm, Aarhus or other festivals in Europe, just ask Deborah. She seems to be online 24/7 and her posts are often real vocal music gems. I’m not sure, well, actually quite sure that Deb will be joining the “Single Singers” at their 1st anniversary gig at King’s Place. If you want to learn more about Deborah, see if she wants you as a Facebook friend and follow her on Twitter….if you can find her.
Deborah (on the right) with Bill Hare at The Real Group Festival, Stockholm 2012
Willy Eteson (UK) – Richard “Willy” Eteson was The Swingles high tenor and business director for almost ten years. He is a passionate cook and deli expert. This passion culminates in an annual slaughter of a pig, executed (literally…) by Willy and some former choir boys. He married his beautiful wife Joanna Goldsmith-Eteson (don’t look into her eyes, you will both faint and Willy will consider you to become a delicate home-made sausage) on Copacabana beach (not kidding!) in Rio de Janeiro and they now live in Hackney, a part of London that will soon be as glamorous as Rio’s seaside. Meet Willy live and be prepared to be offered exceptional home-made delicacies. Meet him online and you will experience British humour and obscure fourth league football comments.
And now….! As I have left out dozens of other, equally nice, charming good-looking and nice-smelling people: Who do you want to meet in London? Post your comments and I promise every single suggestion will be featured with a mini-portrait on the blog. Let’s introduce your personal LACF2013 star and meet them in the real world very soon!
I’m Florian Städtler, 42 (the answer to life, the universe and everything) a father of two wonderful daughters who can sing but don’t admit it. I studied electric guitar, became a marketing and event planning pro and finally decided to fall in love with a cappella (#Iloveyouall). Meet me, tweet me, facebook me, watch me, buy me, join me.