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Artikel Tagged ‘Jessica Hill’

10 LACF memories that will bring me back in 2015

by Florian Städtler, London, post-#LACF2014

The author with the ultimate description of the typical LACF visitor.

The author with the ultimate description of the typical LACF visitor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many events are good at marketing. Only few really deliver. Rarely has a marketing slogan been so diligently put into practice as during London A Cappella Festival 2014, which has just ended after 4 days of – yes, here comes the LACF marketing department – “Total Immersion”. Immersion into an art form. Immersion into a unique community. Immersion into more and more #LACFextra cult activities. Congratulations to a brilliant team of professional and volunteer festival organizers. Congratulations to all who travelled from Hackney and Denver, from Firenze and Rotterdam, from Singapore and Hannover, from Bersheeba and Los Angeles. To name only a totally random few. You have been part of a festival that has grown from a purely British two-day concert event into a four-day package that includes everything an a cappella enthusiast and a “regular” music lover wishes for.

The concerts featuring The Swingle Singers (UK) as co-hosts, The Real Group (SWE), The Housejacks (USA), Slixs (GER), Vive (UK), The Songmen (UK), The Time Ensemble and many more foyer and workshop acts gave an impression of both the state of the art and of what we can expect of the future of vocal music. The workshops were mostly sold out and featured a great diversity of topics and workshop styles, from impromptu beatbox-along sessions and behind-the-scenes talks to intense collective exercises and valuable insights for up-and-coming groups. All this happens in an extraordinarily inspiring venue, King’s Place and a constant buzz of singers, conductors, organizers, producers, media people and aca-nerds, meeting, talking, discussing, celebrating and enjoying the variety of nationalities and cultures in England’s capital.

There’s nothing like the real thing, which is: Coming to the London A Cappella Festival yourself. “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture”, Mick Goodrick rightfully said and the same goes for explaining the unique at vocal music festivals like Aarhus, Stockholm, Leipzig, Hannover, Graz, Hamburg, Tours, Vienna or Munich. Just go to London in January 2015, get “totally immersed” and catch the LACF bug. “Pictures say much more than words” is another truism used too often. Nevertheless, the following 10 snapshots taken by my very old but cherished Vocal Blog Lumix, are my personal memories that have made London A Cappella 2014 unique. And 10 reasons for me to come back.

(1) Trending Beards: Obviously, growing beards is trending in London. Just look at the current male fraction of The Swingle Singers. Why? Is it for practical reasons? Do those guys want to look older than they are? Do their spouses want to keep other women kissing their partners? Is it compensation for losing hair elsewhere? The beard phenomenon will certainly not be a major reason to come back to London. But I predict that this trend will have turned into something new by the time of LACF 2015. The “LACF Beard XXL Competition” was clearly won by an ex-Swingle: Tobias “Tobi” Hug made a spectacular appearance at the festival, presenting himself as the perfect doppelgänger of Fidel Castro Jr. It used to be “Everybody needs a Hug”. Now it’s “Love is in the hair.”

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L.A. fashion guru Bill Hare with Fidel Castro Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Aca-Family: This festival truly brings together all generations singing and loving vocal music: Vocal music legends in the same way as collegiate a cappella groups. Producer heavy-weights like Bill Hare, Liquid Fifth and Danny Ozment as well as DIY-YouTube creatives in their early twenties. School kids, young parents, grandparents and whole families in the audience. I was particularly happy to see the Ikon Arts‘ founder  and LACF producer Costa Peristianis‘ whole family at King’s Place: Holly (who’s also back at the Ikon office working for British jazz-pop-gospel act Vive), Isabella and Leo. You can’t start to totally immerse early enough!

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Holly, Isabella, Costa and Leo joining the aca-celebrities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Jessica Hill & the LACF team: Have you ever tried to plan and organize a concert in your local community? It can be quite a challenge. But what about organizing an international festival with participants from all over the world, from top-notch, professional artists to countless of amateur and school ensembles? Jessica Hill, artist manager with Ikon Arts has become “Mama LACF” and like every good mom, she loves her baby – although it can be quite exhausting and capricious. And even a seasoned professional like Jessie couldn’t manage this extravaganza on her own. So our thank yous go out to Sarah Hickling, Nicola Semple, Becky Chilton, Holly Peristiani (whose desk I was allowed to use for a mini-internship during the festival – thanks so much!) and Clarice Goff. Ikon Arts director can be more than proud of that fabulous team.

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Jessica “Mama LACF” Hill (Ikon Arts)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) The Single Singers: Annemarie Homann, Dutch ex-pat in Italy and her singing buddy Emily May t’Hoen have created a wonderful work of non-profit, make-it-happen, feel good work-of-art. Up to 40 singers traveling to different international  a cappella festivals without their groups prepare a couple of songs that – after 2 rehearsals – are performed at the festivals’ main venue. This has become one of the true cult activities at festivals in Aarhus, Stockholm and London. And seeing these people meeting, reuniting and simply enjoying the collective singing simply makes you happy.

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Single Singers ecstasy, LACF 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) The LACF 2014 Live Album: Yes, we did it, last-minute, including the typical allnighter getting the vocal music online shop Acappellazone ready for pre-orders of the first live album including all professional acts that have performed at King’s Place this year. Yes, I’m not kidding, by early March there will be an album that includes The Real Group, The Swingle Singers, The Housejacks, Slixs and Vive. The album (limited edition of 200 CDs or mp3) can be    pre-ordered at a special festival price until 30th of January and will then be available at the regular price. So if you couldn’t make it to LACF 2014, here’s your chance to get an impression of the vocal magic happening at King’s Place. And if you were there, that’s the perfect souvenir, Christmas present or collector’s item.

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(6) The Vocal Jog: This is probably something that most of my readers and especially those who have been to aca-festivals, cannot even imagine: Going for a collective morning run after very little sleep and before another day jam-packed with workshops and concerts. Believe it or not, we’re doing this on an annual basis, a chosen few who make it up to Primrose Hill, close to Regent’s Park. Learn more about it at the Vocal Jog fan page and join if you want to get to a completely different level of festival energy. And nerdiness. (For the record: This year there were 6 of us, 2 groups of three each, who unfortunately missed each other on Primrose Hill. 4 Dutch – more on that later -, on Scotsman and one German).

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View from Primrose Hill during not-so-foggy LACF2014 test run (Friday, 23rd of January)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7) Willy Eteson: Former Swingles business director Richard “Willy” Eteson has a favourite pastime, which has become an exclusive LACFextra activity. Willy is a fantastic chef and creator of self-made meat products. This year again, he brought his latest creations to the King’s Place foyer: Self-made grilled sausages and (here we go, my dear vegetarian friends!) delicious brawn. Southern Belle Sara Brimer and her boyfriend, conductor James Davey  were absolutely delighted as the picture can tell.

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Meat & Greet with Swingle Singers soprano Sara Brimer and Jim Davey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(8) Full English Breakfast. The hotel some of us stayed at was – to describe it carefully – not a hotbed of customer service. However, we tried to enjoy the traditional English breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast, tomatoes, baked beans, bacon, sausage (worlds apart from Willy’s self-made treats). And you can’t imagine how good this fireworks of British cuisine tastes after 7.7 kilometres of running.

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That’s how you start a London day: Baked beans and Nutella are non-negotiable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(9) Vive & Slixs: My personal discoveries (thanks, Costa Peristianis and Tobias Hug!) of the festival were the two groups that were new to most of the audience, too: Local heroes Vive with their artful and clever mix of jazz, pop and gospel as well German “hidden champions” Slixs (formerly known as Stouxingers), who in a irresistible way refuted the cliché that German groups never really groove or can be funny in an intelligent way . Both Vive and Slixs have two things in common: They consist of five male and one female member, and – more important – of 6 equally strong characters that make their concerts performances in the literal sense of the word. My prediction here: If  those not-so-newcomers will live up to their own potential, they will be the headliners and trendsetters of tomorrow.

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Vive – the only way is up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(10) The Dutchies: Like most neighbors, the Dutch and the Germans have their mutual stereotypes, small and not-so-small rivalries and frictions. I love my Dutch friends, a whole traveling party of good-humored and witty people. Thanks for candle light dinners, breakfast chats, great snapshots and greater after parties. See you soon, somewhere in Acappelland. Or at LACF 2015, at the very latest!

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Preparing for another LACF2014 day with Full Dutch Breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Florian Städtler, blogger, a cappella agent, event director and learner of Mandarin. Vocal Blog is my global vocal music communication baby. If you want to be a part of that great community and dive into a stream of related news, links, tips, videos, pictures etc., follow me on Twitter, like the Vocal Blog Facebook fan page, join the Facebook group, subscribe to the Acappellazone YouTube channel and hit me up, when you are going to be present at a cappella events. And if you are interested in becoming a Vocal Co-Blogger, send your (not-so-promotional) articles and pictures and I’m happy to feature them on the blog. If you like what you read and watch, and want Vocal Blog going, buy CDs, DVDs, sheet music and more Cool Stuff at my vocal music online shop  www.acappellazone.com.

At work while the US guys are preaching :-) #VBontour

Live blogging from LACF2014 workshops. #VBontour

London A Cappella Revisited (1)

27. Januar 2013 1 Kommentar

by Florian Städtler, Vocal Blog founder

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.

LACF 2012 Status Update: Backbones and a Vocal Jog World Record

by Florian Städtler, from London A Cappella Festival 2012 (#LACF2012)

It’s Saturday morning and it’s the third day of the third edition of the London A Cappella Festival 2012. We’ve seen wonderful concerts featuring The Vasari Singers (UK), The Boxettes (UK), Cadence (CAN) and FORK (FIN). The Schools on Stage project powered by Voice Festival UK made us smile and cheer, an arrangement competition supported by Oxford University Press resulted in fantastic music, countless foyer performances and encounters of both pro and amateur artists entertained us. We met and talked to a cappella aficionados and newbies, to visitors and vocal music tourists hailing from as far as San Fransisco, Taiwan, Toronto, Oslo, Torino, Boston and even a music lover from Milton Keynes…

I’ve been attending the London A Cappella Festival since it all started in January 2010 and I must say it here and now: What The Swingle Singers as hosts and curators together with super-pro organizers at Ikon Arts have build in less than three years is the perfect example of artistic vision and will combined with professional promotional execution. It’s impossible to name all the people here, who have contributed to the three-day vocal music extravaganza, but let’s just name two who in my eyes did an outstanding job: Clare Wheeler, alto with The Swingle Singers, has become one of the leading communicators of international a cappella. Thanks to her personal dedication, the number of overseas guest has become pretty impressive. The second mover and shaker who deserves special mention is Ikon ArtsJessica Hill. She has become the festival’s managerial backbone and seems to master the multiple tasks of running LACF with unbelievable friendliness and placidity. Along with Ikon Arts owner Costa Peristianis, Nicola Semple, Beccy Chilton and Natalia Franklin Pierce she made the festival happen and the growing number of attendants happy.

FORK & FSt

Besides the musical “core business”, countless special and hilarious things happen(ed) during this festival: A Cappella rockers FORK just twittered that they are going shopping (you will probably see the results on stage next time), recording legend Bill Hare (USA) just found a Pentatonix-lookalike in the British museum, Joan Hare flirted with an double-decker bus driver, the “Single Singers” (no typo) gathered for their first rehearsal after setting up a 20+ vocal group via social media (there will be a special on that later), this afternoon we’re going to see two panels discussing the state of affairs of contemporary a cappella and the pudding, cake and hi-heel-lovers found bliss in High Tea at Montagnue and at the buzzing after show parties at a pub called The Fellow.

My most important mission of LACF2012 was of a very different kind: On Friday, 13th of January, the first semi-official London A Cappella VOCAL JOG was to take place, another try to motivate a cappella people to get over their hangovers and join me on a little run during events like this. I have been running through cities during all my vocal music travelling life, but the maximum group of Vocal Joggers as of 2011 was two participants: Morten Vinther, baritone of The Real Group broke the spell on October 16th 2011 and went for the first ever non-solo Vocal Jog in my hometown Freiburg.

But for London A Cappella, I wanted to make it big time  – and I was supported by Willy Eteson former tenor and business director of The Swingle Singers who’s a slightly eccentric British foodie and hobby star chef today. While serving self-made pork specialties at Ikon Art’s desk all through the festival, he dared me: If I was able to run up Primrose Hill (the highest “mountain” in London City ;-) with a group of at least four other Vocal Joggers, he would be there at 8:45 on Friday 13th to cater the runners with home-baked power bars, bananas and water. At this point in time, there were 9 potential runners registered at the London A Cappella Vocal Jog Facebook page, so I was optimistic even though I knew that 4 of the listed 9 might have been a bit too optimistic regarding their being at the IBIS Euston hotel lobby at 8:30 in the morning.

Friday 13th came, I woke up at around 8:00 (after staying at the bar for much too long with the wonderful Hans Cassa of Montezuma’s Revenge), felt better than expected…but then got the first bad news: Line Groth, singer and arranger for Danish electro a cappella group Postyr Project didn’t feel well. Neither did Joakim Skog, executive producer of Stockholm’s The Real Vocal Festival. And I still had no confirmation of Nicholas Girard (House Jacks, Overboard, The Sing-Off) and John Buchanan Lau from Edinborough. So I went to the hotel lobby, thinking of Willy Eteson fighting his way through the London rush hour traffic all the way from Hackney, parking illegally and running up Primrose Hill with Vocal Jog delicacies…to find no more than two or three runners…

On top of the Vocal Jog world

As it turned out, Friday 13th was my lucky Vocal Jog day: The first one to show up was Hans Cassa along with the slightly jet-lagged US star Nick Girard and at 8:30h Annemarie Homann (NED, Single Singers founder), Claudia Appel Dom (another surprise guest from The Netherlands) and John Buchanan Lau, a cappella enthusiast from Edinborough joined and made me very happy vocal Jogger. The weather was beautiful, quite cold, but blue skies over London Town. So after passing two blocks we entered Regent’s park and after 20 minutes saw Primrose Hill – which for Londoners (and especially the Dutch guests) is the equivalent of the K2. In spite of general sleep deficit, transcontinental jet-lag and traces of hangovers we made it up Primrose Hill, but: No Willy Eteson…!

…but a fantastic Vocal Jog reception committee à la surprise: Bill Hare (he wore a jacket, which means it was freaking cold!), his mother Joan Hare and their good friend from Slovakia, Sona Killianova gave us a (shivering) big hand and took pictures with the proud runners in front of the London skyline and the rising sun. At around 9:10am with the photo session done, I told my running mates that I had hoped for Willy, but assumed that he got word of the declining number of participants or might simply be stuck in the morning traffic. Sure to be served something delicious later that day we said farewell to the trembling Californian-Slovakian reception committee and started to run down the hill…

…but only seconds later we heard Bill, Joan and Sona shouting and yelling, so we turned round and there he was: Mr. Aca-Deli, Richard “Willy” Eteson with the Vocal Jog catering that will go down in history. So we ran up again, took even more photos, got the right dose of doping, said thank you again and hit the road to make it to the hotels in time for breakfast. These, my friends, are true moments to remember, thank you London A Cappella for supporting this “crazy” (Clare Wheeler) project and spreading the Vocal Jog news.

The London Vocal Jog team 2012: Claudia Appel Dom, Nicholas Girard, Annemarie Homann, Florian Städtler, Willy Eteson, John Buchanan Lau, Hans Cassa

If you loved this story and are a runner (no matter what level, we do not run longer than 30-40 minutes, pace and distance don’t matter), send an e-mail to info@vocal-blog.net and you’ll be invited to future Vocal Jog events. Just to let you know: Jeeves Murphy from Washington DC has been appointed Vocal Jog ambassador for the US during the after show party yesterday. And the next European vocal music highlight, the Real Vocal Festival in Stockholm, Sweden is seriously considering making the Vocal Jog an official part of the festival’s progamme (August 16-19, 2012). Last but not least, Line Groth who will come to my hometown Freiburg next week to showcase Postyr Project at the Kulturbörse Freiburg (Jan 24, 20:30h) has told me that she persists to do the Vocal Jog with me there, no matter how tight the schedule may be. So I’m  looking forward to many more great pictures of fit singers & endorphine-addicted aca-fans from all over the world.

Do-doo-run-run-run, do-doo-run-run!

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 or BUY vocal music 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!