So, what are you doing the weekend of November 11 - 13? There really can be only three correct answers:
a) "I'm going to SoJam 2011 in Durham, NC!! WOOOT!" or
b) "Zoh Muh Gee, is that when SoJam is? I will cancel whatever lesser important events are scheduled and purchase my tickets forthwith!" or
c) "I don't have any plans, why do you ask?"
If you answered "c," I'm going to assume you haven't heard the news that SoJam 2011 tickets are available for purchase, or don't know what SoJam is. If that's the case, then I hope by the end of this article, you will be changing your answer to one of the other two predefined answers.
SoJam is a gigantic a cappella festival in North Carolina hosted by the fine people at CASA. SoJam is arguably the biggest and best a cappella festival of the year - bigger than LA/AF, bigger than VoCAL Nation! If you've thought about going to an a cappella festival in the past, this is the one to attend! Over the weekend, there will be performances by professional groups like The Boxettes, Overboard, Musae, and Naturally 7, a college level competition with groups from all over the country, and workshops and masterclasses with some of the biggest names in vocal music!
EVENT: Collegiate Competition
The ladies of Musae aim to answer the question: "Why aren’t there more professional female a cappella groups?"Friday night, there will be a collegiate a cappella competition hosted by those snazzy-dressed boys from Boston, Overboard, and the lovely Sirens of Musae, with their world premiere performance! This high caliber competition calls groups from all over the country. In the past, groups have included All-Night Yahtzee from FSU, The Sapphires from UNC Greensboro, and Duke's Rhythm and Blue. Along with bragging rights of being SoJam 2011 Collegiate Champs, the winning group also wins prizes including (but not limited to) an on-site recording session with Pro Talent, a private masterclass with the pro group of your choice, and being the opening act for the professional show on Saturday night. This is an amazing opportunity and will definitely be worth the trip. For more information, check out the competition page on SoJam's website.
EVENT: Professional Showcase
Naturally 7 has been busy touring with pop/jazz artist Michael Buble, but are bringing their soulful harmonies to SoJam 2011. Think of the coolest a cappella concert you've ever been to. You have one? Okay, now multiply that by, like, a hundred million billion. That's about how awesome the Professional Showcase is at SoJam (give or take). Hosted by the inimitable Christopher Diaz, co-host of the Mouth Off podcast and all around awesome aca-person, the Professional Showcase will include three amazing groups. First off, the winners of the Collegiate competition, as mentioned, will take the stage and open the night. Then, we kick it up a notch - The Boxettes, the belting beauties from across the pond, will leave you in disbelief while they command the stage with their visceral, yet delicate sound. Then, Naturally 7, the vocal play-ers themselves, will blow your mind with a set that is not only visually stimulating, but aurally pleasuring. It's a night that is not to be missed!
One of the greatest assets of attending an a cappella festival of this magnitude is the knowledge shared in workshops and masterclasses. Whether you are brand new to the a cappella scene, an experienced veteran, or a living legend in the vocal world, there are classes for you. Classes focus on six main areas - Create, Explore, Manage, Perform, Sound, and Masterclass - each focusing on a different aspects of the acappellaverse, from on stage performance, to arranging your first song, to setting up a home studio, and even starting an a cappella group from scratch. If you think you know everything about a cappella, the SoJam Masterclasses will show you just how wrong you are!
The unconventional a cappella sounds of The Boxettes will leave you in awe. The absolute best thing about the festival is not the concerts or the masterclasses or any of the things I've mentioned here so far - it's about the community. The a cappella community is a unique beast that is truly a loving and accepting place. If you've worried about going to an event like this because you don't know anyone, that is by far the biggest reason why you should go! Friday night AND Saturday night after the competition and showcase, SoJam will host an afterparty where you will be able to rub elbows with all the big names I've mentioned, geek-out about the genre that we all love and adore, and try to score phone numbers from members of Musae or The Boxettes (or Overboard and Naturally 7, if you're into that sort of thing). It's all about having a good time, meeting people, and expanding the community feeling.
I could try to fit in all the reasons why you should go to SoJam on this page, but seriously, you should just check out the SoJam website. Tickets are on sale now. Do eet!