HomeAcaNews: What Happened In May?

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All things must end: the awful winter, the scholastic a cappella season, and the Johnny Manziel speculation. So here we are, in with the new(s),and there was quite a bit to learn/watch/consume in May.

As always, please send your news and information to news@casa.org.

Here’s what you may have missed in May:


Pentatonix. I know, it seems like they are always in the news, but that’s because they do things like...sign record deals with RCA records! They also showed up online playing Truth or Dare, released a video of their original "Love Again" (including a fan makeup contest), and wrapped up their latest European tour.

Lots of news in Pitch Perfect 2 land, as cast members were announced and an open call was posted for crowd extras.

Straight No Chaser announced their summer tour, which you can find here.

The Harmony Sweepstakes finals happened in May, as this article previewed, and congratulations are in order for the champions, Women of the World.

Following up from last month’s news, Take 6 posted a video of their induction to the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

Naturally 7 was busy down under, in Australia, including this appearance on the country’s #1 rated morning show and features in local articles like this.

This story of a Korean art/music collective made the rounds on the internet, and is worth a view.

Florian Stadtler, of The Vocal Blog, was busy with a new blog series here at CASA and an interview with Aaron Jensen, Artistic Director of the Toronto Vocal Arts Festival (and former member of Cadence).

OSA’s talented youngsters Vocal Rush showed up on an Oakland news piece right here.

JHU’s Octopodes was featured in this story on the Baltimore Sun website about their all-new album of originals.

Graceland announced a slate of performers for Elvis week in August, which includes a number of notable a cappella groups including the Acoustikats, All-Night Yahtzee, BriarCrest One Voice, JMU BluesTones ,and more.

The Filharmonic, from the most recent season of The Sing-Off, were featured performers at the Cleveland Asian Festival according to this article which includes a video interview with the group.

The Vocal Foundation has been busy in recent months, with 2 seminars by Next Level Music Education this past spring including Next Level Chicago in February (leading to this version of Pharrell’s “Happy” arranged by Christopher Given Harrison of ARORA) and Next Level Arrangements Boston in March, led by Shams Ahmed and Robert Dietz with a special focus on jazz from Philip Walzer and Katya Dreyer-Oren, plus a special appearance by CAL’s Fermata Town.

Also, acappellaEd offered 2 of its cost-free events including one at Ithaca College (hosted by Ithacappella) in February and at Harvard University (hosted by the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones) in May.

The Vocal Foundation also partnered with Project Philly to run that organization’s Winter Workshop, a day of workshops, masterclasses, and music hosted by KeyStone.This summer, they are running eight seminars focusing on arranging and production including instructors like Harrison and Rachel Bearer, Dietz and Hannah Juliana, Ed Boyer, and Tom Anderson.

This year, the Festival of Voices collaborated with China to present Big World, Small Voices. This video shows scenes from some of the auditions in Wuhan, Fujian and Shenyang that have been conducted to choose the young Chinese singers who will come to Hobart for Big World, Small Voices in July.

Auditions are currently underway across four cities in China, including Shanghai.

Their Chinese co-producing partner, Ms Sun Hui from Three Dragons will be in Hobart from the 4th until the 6th of June for planning purposes. All the children who are coming to Hobart to participate in the Big World, Small Voices choir and perform as part of the 2014 Festival of Voices are being sponsored by the Shi Mao Group's philanthropy foundation.

Otterbein University’s Ottertuned has been recognized by DCINY (Distinguished Concerts International New York) to participate in Deke Sharon's production of TOTAL VOCAL at the distinguished Carnegie Hall, but the group needs help. They are asking for any ideas, fundraisers, charities, grants, scholarships, organizations, and just about anything you can think of for Ottertuned to get in touch with for help. 

The Women's A Cappella Association (WACA) hosted its second SheSings festival in Eugene, OR. It featured two concerts, workshops, a listening party, and Voodoo Donuts!

Congratulations to the AUS-ACA SA State final Champions, Festival Statesman Youth Chorus. Check them out here.

Bill Hare Productions was busy in May, with a website overhaul (starting with a video produced by Bill’s brother in Jim Hare, of Hare Brained Ideas, filmed in Sydney, Australia) and a visit from Italy’s Erik Bosio, of Cluster, to wrap up a 2-year project from that group. Also, progress is going well on 5-time gold-record winning German group Wise Guys, who are true rock stars in Germany after performing a cappella for the past 25 years. Bill also worked with Peter Hollens and ice skater Brian Boitano (whose choreography music Bill has edited much of since 1985).

The A Cappella Education Association is collecting information for its service provider directory, available here.

A barbershop music director search for a small Sweet Adeline Chorus is ongoing in Palm Spring, CA director familiar with 4 part harmony barbershop style singing.Small Sweet Adeline Chorus located in Palm Spring, CA area. Looking for someone to improve their vocal production. 2.5 hour rehearsals once a week. They pay a small salary and all expenses for music education seminars, competitions, etc. Contact Sallie Sander for more information. singingbari@yahoo.com. Phone: 760 328-4180.

The Eldred Key Elements are looking for help to get to Carnegie Hall, and they need more than practice.


Vox Pop is looking for tenors, basses, and vocal percussionists. Email info@voxpopdc.com for more information.

Utah group Volume is looking for a bass. Contact matt.newman15@gmail.com for info on auditioning.

The Pow Arrangers (Boston) are in search of basses and sopranos. Fill out this form if you'd like to audition. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1NPYtIx54xJJVDPS91k8CHehrheK8E_ME6gMpNMu2FLo/viewform

Funkin' A! (Boston / look for a name change soon) is looking for some basses and baritones. If you're interested in auditioning, email Cheryn Couter (cjcouter@gmail.com) for more info.


Canada’s eh440 released their debut album and a stylish new video, and were featured in articles like this.

Voices in Your Head released a collection of their singles over at Loudr.

The first Women’s A Cappella Association compilation CD, WACA Vol. 1, also available at Loudr right here.

Harmony Sweepstakes finalists FOURTY4B put their demo CD up on SoundCloud for listening right here.

The Vocal Blog released this limited edition collection of live performances from the London A Cappella Festival 2014.


Jimmy Fallon continued his Ragtime Gals barbershop series with special guest Kevin Spacey performing Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty.” 

Other noteworthy (pun intended!) videos this month:

Noteworthy: http://youtu.be/GUKoBi8T2GQ

Redefined: http://youtu.be/wJIap5cOeus

Alabaster Blue: http://youtu.be/jSuq2rCbgzw

Vocal Point: http://youtu.be/yVA3iYJ_H5Y

Fluxus (new British group): http://youtu.be/4eFTzEC971M

Filharmonic: http://youtu.be/FLB2iAEsCzQ

Icelandic a cappella performance of an 800-year old hymn? Check.

About the writer:
Dave Bernstein is the founder of NYU's all-male group Mass Transit, a former music director of the Potsdam Pointercounts, and (sadly) current member of no a cappella group. After studying music business in college, Dave co-founded Liquid Productions, a small recording studio in Long Island, New York, which produced a handful of collegiate recordings, demos, and commercial projects before going under. Eventually, he went back to law school where he worked for the famed Innocence Project. He currently works as a public defender in New York. In October 2011, he started acatribe.com, a blog devoted to news, analysis, and general love for all things a cappella.  In summer 2012, he joined The Recorded A Cappella Review Board as a reviewer.  He continues to sing in various classical choirs in the New York metropolitan area, and hopes to someday rejoin the active ranks of the post-collegiate a cappella community.