HomeMeet Your CASA Ambassador: Chris Blain [Australia]

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Chris Blain

When did you first become involved in a cappella? In what capacity?
I was forced into joining the Australian Boys Choir when I was about 7 - my brothers were both involved, and my parents thought it would be easier if we were all in the same place at the same time. Despite dragging my feet every week, I was very lucky to tour locally and internationally with the choir until my voice broke. Later on, the older boys group (The Vocal Consort) needed some tenors for their 2000 USA tour, and I found myself singing with the likes of The King Singers, Cantus and Talla (Finland) in Minnesota. On my return I was involved in some musical theatre, and a few of my mates wanted to sing some barbershop after rehearsals. I got bored with the sheet music available so I started arranging songs myself (with absolutely no idea how to!), and pretty soon my group Suade had evolved into a semi-professional group. I've spent years creating a market for Suade in Australia (and beyond) and started Vocal Australia (with my business partner Amelia Alder) to use all the skills I had learned to help others.

When did you first become involved with CASA?
I became an ambassador earlier this year (2011), but have regarded CASA as the world's number one a cappella resource for many years. We were lucky to have Deke Sharon visit Australia a few years back, and was available for masterclasses. We decided that rather than have a masterclass we'd pay to take Deke out, get him pissed and pick his brain! What did we learn? Um... 1) Deke suffers from hiccups quite badly, and can't keep up with Aussies. 2) A good a cappella scene takes time, effort and a lot of passion. 3) It's not going to happen on its own!

What area do you cover as a CASA ambassador?
I represent Australia and the surrounding regions. There is little happening in New Zealand, but we'll get that started soon. Australia is a huge country with a relatively small population, so communication is really important to build a community here.

What role do you play as a CASA ambassador and/or what role would you like to play?

I'd like to make sure that anyone who comes to Australia knows where to find good a cappella. We can provide education, entertainment, participation and good resources for singers of all levels to get involved. I'd like to encourage good communication channels between countries to encourage international exchanges - we all benefit from seeing what great a cappella is happening around the world.

What do you do for work and play?

I sing a lot, and manage my man-band Suade. I also produce and manage other bands on the side, and am a director of Vocal Australia. I also teach one night a week, and do some session singing around the place. In my spare time (not much of it!) I like throwing a frisbee around, cooking, and of course, listening to music (with HEAPS of instruments!)

Tell us one thing about yourself people would be surprised to learn

I'm also a chef on a kids' cooking show on community television here in Australia.

Favorite a cappella group?
Straight No Chaser at the moment - their last album is exactly what I'd like an a cappella record to sound like - they don't try and sound like a band. They just use the voice as a voice, and use it bloody well.

Favorite type of music?

Couldn't knuckle it down to any one thing. Depends on my mood. To relax, I listen to everything: power ballads, electronic lounge music and chill-out tunes. To party I listen to a lot of electro and house music. I grew up loving The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Stevie Wonder, John Farnham (check him out if you've never heard him sing), Michael Jackson, Guns 'n' Roses ... all sorts of things.

Favorite a cappella concert?

Cantus in Minnesota - when they sung Take Six's "Mary" it blew my mind.

Anything you'd like the CASA readership to know about your area?
Australia is a great place to come and sing. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and everyone is in it for a good time. Our geography is limiting, but we're building a great scene down under - keep an eye on us!


way to go

Keep up the great work, Chris. Glad to have you on board and working so hard to promote a cappella in australia.

[=#8040BF]http://www.rarb.org/people/thomas-king.html http://www.deltacappella.com CASA Dir. of Ambassador Program SoJam Producer & Concert Mgr Sing Producer CAL jd All Things A Cappella FOTS #1 ICCA Producer Emeritus "the

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