What a trip! The Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (LA-AF) was a huge success. John and I had so much fun, learned some crucial things, networked like crazy, ate some amazing Thai food, heard some inspiring groups and attended some very beneficial classes.
LA-AF was held on the campus of UCLA. My first time there. It is beautiful! It's very hilly, though, so I think it's safe to say that there were just as many, if not more, steps on the campus as Asains. Who knew?
(hmmm ... my washer is making very strange noises ...)
(I think I may have Adult A.D.--hey, what's that over there?)
Back on track. My first class was with Julia Hoffman, the president of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA). She is a licensed psychologist, so she taught the "Group Dynamics" class. Now most of the attendees and singing groups were from colleges, just like they were at SoJam, so it was nice to see that we had moved past a bunch of their group issues (i.e. inappropriate inter-group relationships, "I Want All the Solos," being a distraction in rehearsal, etc., ad nauseum.). My takeaways from the class had more to do with group motivation than conflict resolution.
Then I had an improv class with Moira Smiley that was very "organic and evocative," which, apparently is the highest compliment an a cappella singer can receive. She gave us some great exercises for groups to do in rehearsal that get us out of our comfort zones and develops all kinds of different sounds the voice can make. Really fun.
We networked a bunch at lunch. Said 'hi' to all the aca-big dogs, and some of them had either heard of us from the Mouth Off Show or remembered us from SoJam. Very Cool! We also reconnected with some of our fellow Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) people and groups. It's nice to know that others are in the same boat as we!
Went to a class called, "Solo Like a Rock Star," taught by George Hoffman, husband to Julia, and in the all-male aca-rock band, Hookslide, based in L.A. Again, some great advice and reminders.
Next was a class facilitated by Amy Engelhardt, of The Bobs. This was basically a master class for any group that wanted to sing. I REALLY wish all of CV could have been there for that! The groups got some good stage time and some practical advice as well as encouragement.
My last class was with Mister Tim, who excels in marketing for aca-groups, and performs in a few himself. So Valuable in learning more about how to better market an aca-group, getting and keeping fans, posters, business cards, venues, equipment, etc. We WILL be putting these into practice. ASAP.
John also attended a class about competitions, of particular interest to us now that we'll be competing in just a little over a month! He also went to a class talking about the best sound equipment. That was taught by a guy who does sound for m-pact and SONOS, with his next group being Nota! Yeah, he knew his stuff. John ate it up. I was clueless when he was describing it to me.
The concert that night featured a UCLA group, Bruins Harmony, that did very well.
THEN CAME SONOS.
SONOS is the new sound of a cappella. Go hear their stuff. It's not all covers like most groups do. It's not jazz. It's not rock. It's a sound unique to them, which is very cool. Now they do "cheat" by using pedals to put some really cool effects on their voices, but they use them well. Seeing them perform was my highlight of the weekend.
m-pact closed the concert, and they were great, too. The "Jingle Bells" that CV sings is their arrangement.
But John and I had to leave before it was over to catch the midnight flight out of L.A. to arrive in Dallas by a little after 5:00 a.m. to drive to Tyler to get to Glenwood to change clothes, freshen up and be at praise team practice by 8:00 a.m.
I am fully aware of the lack of sanity on our part. But it was SO worth it!
We missed the rest of CV terribly! The weekend was amazing, but it would have been 10x better had we all been there together! I really hope we can all go next year!
Dude. That just happened.