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Artikel Tagged ‘Acappellazone’

6 Lessons from LACF 2012

by Florian Städtler on BA 753 from London Heathrow to Basel/Freiburg

London A Cappella Festival was a blast: A growing audience, a buzzing venue, an international line-up and an impressive number of vocal music movers and shakers from places as far as Taipeh, Toronto and Torino. The sheer joy of three days packed with concerts by some of the top artists of the genre, enthusiastic youngsters meeting the pros and the encounters with all those wonderful aca-family members rings on while the 2012 festival is over.

Any event that really meant something to us, leaves us with a kind of post-festival nostalgia, maybe a little hangover and the occasional farewell-miss-you-hope-to-see-you-all-again tweets and status updates. But it also leaves us with a lot of homework if we want to avoid telling this one favourite musicians’ lie: “Let’s do something together!” (The others are: “I’ll never drink again” – “I’ll give you the money back tomorrow” – “I really liked your solo” – “I’ll call you next week” etc.).  So here’s the lessons and the points of action that from my point of view will make London A Cappella Festival 2012 not only a temporary firework of musicality, expertise and camraderie but a step towards the development of our community including the occasional look outside the a cappella bubble, i.e. “the real world”:

  1. Education   There is an enormous demand from teachers, music teachers and even business consultants for tools that can help to improve music education as well as the development of social skills in all domains. Singing together is an immensely effective tool and our community has both the capability and the duty to make this tool accessible to as many people as possible.
  2. Face-to-Face Communication  The vocal music festival as a combination of concerts, educational events and social activities is the heart and soul of the community. It must be the goal to create ANNUAL events in as many countries, regions and cities as possible. And these events can start very small – it can take years to grow an audience, to find collaborators and to get heard in the media. Meeting people in person will always be the best, so bring on the a cappella events!
  3. Internationality   Our knowledge of how to improve and innovate is naturally limited. Some call it tunnel vision, some blame the daily grindstone. But only if we continually try to get a different, a somehow external perspective, we will truly improve and develop both the art form and the business models. We are lucky to already have established transcontinental communication and invitations, but now let’s turn it into concrete collaboration.
  4. Infrastructure   We now have three organisations covering Planet A Cappella: CASA (The Contemporary A Cappella Society) was founded on the US West Coast by the godfather of US vocal music, Deke Sharon in 1991. Due to 20 years of hard work and the latest mainstream media successes (Glee, Sing-Off, Straight No Chaser) CASA is stronger than ever and has developed attractive programs for approximately 600 members and 10.000 CASA account holders all over the US of A Cappella. Vocalasia was founded less than two years ago and their track record in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan is impressive to say the least. And by December 2012, EVA (The European Voices Association) has begun to work on the collaboration of existing organizations in more than 25 EU member countries. The first informal talks between the representatives of the organisations were very promising. They left us with the homework to make exchange of know-how and talent an ongoing, structured process.
  5. Out of the Comfort Zone   It’s quite cosy in the a cappella bubble, isn’t it? So full of festival-triggered endorphine, why would we want to change a thing at all? Let me tell you why: Because what we have seen yet, could be only the tip of the iceberg. What if Deke Sharon’s vision of an annual a cappella event “no farther than 2 hours drive from every US citizen” came true? What if Clare Chen‘s plan to open up the Chinese mainland market for international a cappella became reality? What if Peder Karlsson’s Real Academy was the vocal music educational web hub of Europe, Asia and the US? What if there was a single platform for worldwide a cappella resources and information? All these ideas are worthless….as long as we’re only talking about them. We need more people who really get things done. And getting things done means leaving the personal comfort zone: Raise money, cut red tape, lobby for your cause, make this unpleasant phone call.
  6. The Big Q was already mentioned above: A Cappella Coocoon vs. Dream of the Mainstream. As a cappella mentor Peder Karlsson said, “if you asked a taxi driver, he won’t be able to tell you the name of any vocal group”. Do we want this to change? Or would this destroy the a cappella family? And why not search for the Big A: The way to combine commercial success and community bliss? Let’s make this our common homework.

This blog post and

Deke’s “Tough Love” post has led to some interesting replies by peer bloggers, find the links to related articles here:

Jan 15 Vocal Blog – Florian Städtler „6 Lessons from LACF 2012“

Jan 16 CASA – Deke Sharon „Tough Love – Tough Market“ including comments by Peter Hollens, Willy Eteson, Florian Städtler et.al.

Jan 17 Vocal Blog – Florian Städtler “From Europe with (Tough) Love”  including comments by Mark Gregory, RJ Eckhart, Deke Sharon, Willy Etson et.al.

Jan 17 Acatribe – David Bernstein „Calling Out ‚Professional‘ Groups“

Jan 17 RJ A Cappella – Robert-Jon Eckhart „The Big Q“

Jan 19 CASA – Deke Sharon „So What Can I Do?“

Florian Städtler is founder Vocal Blog and Chairman of the European Voices Association. He can’t believe how quickly this blog has developed a following of wonderful, intelligent and nicely-smelling people. Thanks for sharing the greatest ideas and the latest aca-gossip with a growing number of vocal music enthusiasts. If you can’t get enough of this stuff and/or want to get in touch with almost 1000 a cappella buddies like Vocal Blog on Facebook. If you want to make us of Vocal Blog as a filter and aggregator of a cappella news, links, tipps and hilarious tweets, follow Vocal Blog on Twitter.

If you want to sell and/or buy stuff online, go to Acappellazone or write to florian@acappellazone.com. If you think there is a video of high quality of exceptional artistry, let us know so that we can post it on the Acappellazone YouTube channel.

If you like face-to-face communication (like 4-hour candle light dinners or after party allnighters), I agree: This is the best way to communicate. So let’s stay in touch via social media and meet in person when Vocal Blog goes on tour: See you in Stockholm!

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss LACF

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog

with Clare Wheeler at LACF 2011

 

Who needs reasons to go to an international a cappella festival in London anyway…? Nevertheless, as this will be my third London A Cappella Festival (LACF), I feel that I might add something to the pre-festival excitement. And maybe make the undecided change their calendars if necessary, persuade the boyfriend (who’s into Heavy Metal) to come along and buy one pair of shoes less (sorry, Clare Wheeler, Tine Fris and Alyusha Chagrin) to buy tickets for the LACF concerts and workshops.

  1. The Swingle Singers: I’m lucky to work with 8 of the best international vocal music acts. But it all started with the Swingles in 2002. And they started London A Cappella Festival. Love you all, you’re my heroes, Sara, Jo, Clare, Oli, Tobi, Kevin and CJ!
  2. The main line-up: FORK (FIN), Cadence (CAN), The Boxettes (UK), The Swingle Singers (guests: Euphonism from NYC) as well as the Vasari Singers, Cottontown Chorus and The London Vocal Project
  3. The free events: Kings Place is a fantastic place to meet and enjoy the company of the aca-family. The foyer stage will present dozens of free performances including reason no. 4…
  4. The Single Singers: This project is a kind of all-star-all-fun-international-virtual-becomes-real vocal group founded by two Dutch singers, Annemarie Homan and Emily May ‘t Hoen. Can you imagine twenty people from ten different countries meeting at LACF to perform their first public concert after only having met (in person) a few hours before? Check out The Single Singers’ blog and don’t miss their performance after the Saturday concert.
  5. The Vocal Jog: Since I’ve been travelling the vocal music world, I always ran – to see at least a bit of the cities I was staying. And due to serious after show parties and missing running gear, I almost always ended up as a solo Vocal Jogger. Morten Vinther, baritone with The Real Group was the first one who really joined me before TRG’s gig in my hometown Freiburg. But at LACF 2012, it looks as if we could beat this Vocal Jog world record! The LACF Vocal Jog 2012 will go ahead on Friday morning, January 13th, somewhere in the vicinity of Euston station. Stay tuned and check the news and details at the Vocal Blog Facebook fanpage.
  6. Educational Events: I could never really believe that a country like England with an incredibly rich choral history was actually an a cappella no man’s land. Thanks to people like Alex Godfree (Voice Festival UK) this is changing quickly.
  7. Acashirt Pictures: This is basically the first time after the launch of my vocal music online shop Acappellazone that I will see people wearing the brandnew “Acashirts”.  A few months ago we met designer Hans Weigel who created the most wonderful a cappella shirt designs. LACF is the first vocal music event who has its official festival shirt sold via Acappellazone. Looking so much forward to pictures of real people in acashirts!
  8. My US friends: It seems like yesterday, when I attended the mother of all US a cappella festivals, SoJam. During my 4-day stay with The Boxettes I met so many fantastic, friendly and talented people, I won’t even begin to give any names here. But I particularly like the fact, that NYC-based group Euphonism will open for the Swingles on Saturday. Safe trip over the pond!
  9. London: is simply my favourite town ever. I’ve been an England fan since I went there with my family in the 70s: Devon cream tea, fish & chips, the Channel ferries, the Cornwall coast. And a two-hours pub stay with my good friend Costa Peristianis (his agency Ikon Arts runs LACF) in October in a most wonderful place called “The Antelope” confirmed my belief that better sooner than later I have to find a way to work at least 3-4 days a month in “The Big Smoke”.
  10. Global A Cappella: One mission in London is to make more movers & shakers (as well as vocal music fans and singers) mark the next super-event in their calendars: The Real Vocal Festival hosted by another European vocal music icon, The Real Group, will go ahead in Sweden’s capital Stockholm from August 16th-19th. Performances by The Real Group, Rajaton, The Swingle Singers, Postyr Project, Vocado a sensational educational programme curated by Peder Karlsson’s Real Academy and – working on it – a meeting of the leaders of CASA (The Contemporary A Cappella Society), EVA (The European Voices Association) and Vocalasia will make TRVF a must-attend-event. Let’s talk about it in London.

Aren’t that reasons to get excited? So get ready for London, tell all your singing or vocal music loving friends to go there. How often has such kind of intense festival experience changed the spirit and the motivation of whole ensembles: There’s nothing like the common experience of both the best artists on stage and the “backstage” moment of talking to the same people in a workshop, listening, learning and laughing while joining this basic need of all human beings: Singing together in a group.

London A Cappella – here we come!

Florian Städtler is founder and chief blogger for Vocal Blog and Chairman of the Board of the recently founded European Voices Association. He is a very lucky guy knowing so many talented and inspiring people who contribute to what seems to become a vocal music movement. His motto: Let’s keep suprising each other!

Thanks for following Vocal Blog on Twitter and liking, sharing, posting on Facebook. And check out Acappellazone, too.

Acappellazone – A Dream Come True For A Cappella Fans

by Nina Ruckhaber (Jazzchor Freiburg, GER)

I can look back at many years of being an a cappella fan. One drives to concerts in the area, visits festivals and gets to know bit by bit more and more a cappella groups – nationally and internationally.

The a cappella scene had been a some kind of subculture for quiet some time. The choir-like singing in small groups did and still does not address everybody. At concerts, one usually meets people, which sing in choirs themselves and thus are familiar with the scene. If you try to inspire people in your surroundings which do not care much about music, you will too often struggle. This has hardly changed – except for the phenomenon Wise Guys. They are the most successful and most visited a cappella group in Germany, which attract crowds of people with their “vocal pop” music.

If you have a closer look at the a capella scene, one finds many small groups which make music on a high standard. At concerts, one can listen to the really cool and interesting arrangements – vocally perfectly performed. The high standard of many of those groups can hardly be find in the mainstream music market.

Slightly, this subculture of the a capella scene develops toward the public and more and more people are reached with this kind of music. Of course, I am personally very happy about this development.

This Vocal Blog, founded by Florian Städtler, is the perfect platform for artists and fans for exchanges. Besides A Cappella Online, this is another important meeting point for the scene.

A couple of weeks ago, another platform established, which makes a dream come true for a capella-fans: ACAPPELLAZONE. Acappellazone is an online shop, which offers a great variety of a cappella CDs for sale. The perfectly designed website, invites to browsing and allures to give ones savings to artists, in order to be able to listen to the beautiful sounds of the a cappella art at home.

The offerings of the zone is broad: starting with the internally famous Naturally 7 and Rajaton over lone wolves like Martin O. to choirs like the Jazzchor Freiburg and Vocal Line.

To artists Acappellazone is very attractive, as their major target groups make use of the platform and get informed about the variety of groups – ones they even did not know before. Artists can also take advantage of banners on the website to draw attention on ones music. Thus, the platform has a high potential for artists to attract more listeners of their music. Such promotion is otherwise only possible at concerts.

To a cappella groups it is very comfortable, when they can outsource the sales and shipping of their CDs to such a provider. They can sell their music on their own website as well as on Acappellazone’s one. “The Swingle Singers”, for example, have outsourced their entire sales for CDs and have directly linked their online shop to the Acappellazone website.

Besides CDs, one can also buy DVDs, notes, merchandising material on the platform. However, these sections are presently at an early stage and about to develop within the next couple of weeks.

The search function on the website facilitates users their search for their desired a cappella group. The detailed descriptions of any product on sale and a filter make it possible to find a certain style or group on the website. A comprehensive list of artist provides a good overview on all a cappella groups joining the platform. Shipping takes about one to three days and thus is very consumer-friendly. Online newsletter inform subscribers steadily about new products available on the platform.

As a fan, I really hope that all a cappella groups will join the portal soon. Acappellazone is on its way to become an important corner stone for sales in the a capella scene.

Another milestone to arouse the public interest in a cappella music.

With lots of effort and energy Florian Städtler provides a growing space for a cappella much in his event agency. “Thank you!” for founding “Vocal Blogs” and “Acappellazone” and finding this market niche.

Nina Ruckhaber is singer and organizer with the pioneering Jazzchor Freiburg (cond.: Bertrand Gröger) and one of these 100% acappellified people. She was one of the chosen few who sang a solo with Bobby McFerrin during one of the “Vocabularies” concerts with Bobby.

Let us know what you think about Acappellazone: Would you want to sell your stuff there? Is there anything you would want to find there? What’s your experience with a cappella online shopping?