HomeContemporary A Cappella League (CAL) Profile: KeyStone [Philadelphia, PA]

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With NBC’s announcement that The Sing-Off was coming back for a fourth season, all over the country powerhouse a cappella groups began assembling for a shot at stardom on the big screen. Pulling together a group for an audition isn’t as easy as it sounds and many of these groups will ultimately fizzle out of the scene if they’re not cast for the show. One group that defied the odds during the third season audition process and has continued to thrive is KeyStone, a semi-professional mixed group from Philadelphia, Pa.

KeyStone, proud members of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL), came together for the first time in 2011 to audition for Season 3 of The Sing-Off. However, it wasn’t the first time these six had joined in song because this group had been hand-selected from The A Cappella Project – Philadelphia to unite for the audition. The A Cappella Project is a non-profit charitable organization that promotes a cappella in the greater Philadelphia area.

“We ultimately weren’t cast for the show,” said Tom West, a tenor and arranger for the group. “But ultimately it was the catalyst that got us started.”

Since the audition, KeyStone has been red-hot in the a cappella scene. They made their first major public appearance at Project Philly’s Winter Workshop in 2012. During the festival at an open masterclass with CASA President Tom Anderson and former Rockapella member and industry icon, Barry Carl, the group received rave reviews and really kicked things into a higher gear.

Anderson later tweeted the group saying “Ya’ll need to hear this group @KeyStoneVocals from Philly. They’re not on the radar yet but give them a minute. Wow.”

Later in 2012, KeyStone competed in the Mid-Atlantic Harmony Sweepstakes Regional and that summer the group attended CASA’s VoCALnation festival in Washington, D.C., performing in the CAL showcase. Not to mention they were hired for several private performances, including the first a cappella night at the prestigious Princeton Festival in Princeton, N.J. that took place in mid-June.

Not too shabby for two computer programmers, a pharmaceutical marketing director, a professional music educator, a former English teacher who’s now a full-time mother, and an assistant director for a sports broadcasting network.

Wait, you thought they were full-time musicians? Most people do after hearing them, but the six members of KeyStone just sing for fun. That’s the beautiful thing about being a CAL group, and one of the league’s biggest annual events (VoCALnation) is going to be right in their backyard this July (19-21). And wouldn’t ya know it, KeyStone is going to be the host CAL group at VCN.

“Philadelphia has a fledgling post-collegiate a cappella scene, and bringing so many amazing post-collegiate groups to the city this summer is an amazing opportunity for us to spark interest in a cappella in Southeast Pennsylvania,” said West. “We can’t wait for everyone to get here.” West is also serving as the Executive Producer of this year’s festival.

KeyStone is planning to hit the studio very soon to lay down some tracks for an EP, but if you can’t wait to hear these dynamite arrangements, just grab your ticket to the CAL showcase on Friday night of VoCALnation in which they plan to debut some of their new tunes.

These Philly superstars are just another testament to what the Contemporary A Cappella League has to offer. “By joining CAL, we not only got to know other post-collegiate a cappella enthusiasts like ourselves,” said West, “we were opened up to the dynamic community that is CASA, the national a cappella scene, and the now exploding revolution that is stretching worldwide! Joining CAL made it possible for us to be exposed to all of it.”

To learn more about the group, make sure to visit the official KeyStone webpage at http://www.keystoneacappella.com/

Learn more about the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL)

About the writer:
Dan Campagna, Program Manager for CASA’s Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) program, is the co-founder and business manager of CAL's very own Fermata Town, a Boston-based mixed group. Behind his leadership, Fermata Town released its debut album titled Hold That Thought which was nominated for four 2013 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA's) including nominations for Best Album and Best Song. An active member in the Boston a cappella community, Dan enjoys attending local shows and volunteering for Varsity Vocals during ICCA season. Prior to Fermata Town, Dan sang collegiate a cappella at Emmanuel College in Encore!, the college’s first-ever coed group which later changed its’ name to In Good Company. 

Outside of a cappella, Dan works fulltime at Emmanuel College as the Assistant Sports Information Director while also serving as the Assistant Commissioner/Director of Media Relations for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. Dan is also an Assistant Coach to the UMass Boston Women’s Soccer Team and an adjunct professor at Lasell College where he teaches a sports journalism course.