HomeMeet Your CASA Ambassador: John Hodges

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John Hodges
profile: http://www.casa.org/users/clearlybaritone

When did you first become involved in a cappella? In what capacity?

I have enjoyed a cappella music all my life.  I grew up in Churches of Christ that don't use instruments in worship, so I have a rich heritage and appreciation of singing and harmony.  I also was fortunate enough to grow up in a family of singers, so we sang together a lot.  By the time I was in junior high, my older sister had introduced me to the christian group, Acappella.  I was an instant fan, and during my freshman year of high school, a few friends and I formed a similar group and began singing for school functions and community events.  While attending Harding University, I was involved in as many musical opportunities as I could, including school-sponsored christian a cappella octet, Good News (where I met my wife).  One summer, I had the privilege of traveling with the professional group, New Creation, as their sound guy.  I remember seeing Jonathan Minkoff and Bryan Chadima in a Blind Man's Bluff concert at Harding University and thinking it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen.  Over time, I was introduced to other amazing groups like Take 6, Glad, Manhattan Transfer, The Swingle Singers, The Real Group and so on.  Now, I'm obsessed with a cappella music of all flavors.

When did you first become involved with CASA?

I first learned of CASA when I was in college at Harding University.  As student director of Good News, I was always looking for resources.  I don't remember how, but I stumbled across CASA and was thrilled when I found it.  It was exactly what I was looking for.

What area do you cover as a CASA ambassador?

The state of Texas.

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

I would like to play a role in bringing recognition to and promoting collaboration among a cappella groups in Texas.  (Yes, they do exist.)  To that end, for the past three years Clearly Vocal has coordinated and hosted the East Texas A Cappella Celebration, featuring area vocal groups of varying styles, including high school, college, barbershop, classical, contemporary christian, gospel and vocal jazz.

What do you do for work and play?

A cappella is both work and play for me.  I am the Worship Minister at Glenwood Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.  I enjoy working regularly with our (a cappella) praise team.

In my free time, I love to sing with Clearly Vocal, a vocal jazz quintet, with my wife and some friends from church.  Clearly Vocal was conceived when I gave The Real Group DVD to a friend and fellow musician for his birthday in 2007.  He watched it and said, "We can do this!"  We decided we would love to spend the next twenty or thirty years trying.  In 2010, Clearly Vocal won the Contemporary A Cappella League Showcase and got to perform at the Carolina Theater at the SoJam A Cappella Festival in Durham, North Carolina, November 12 & 13, 2010.

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

By the end of June, Clearly Vocal will have eleven children between us, age twelve and under.

Favorite a cappella group?

The Real Group

Favorite type of music?

Vocal Jazz

Favorite a cappella concert?

The Real Group in Nashville 2008/The Swingle Singers in NY 2011.  Impossible to choose.

Anything you'd like the CASA readership to know about your area?

The Texas a cappella scene is about to explode.  Get ready.