HomeTunes To Teens Gets Kids Excited About A Cappella

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At San Marin High, the CDs helped inspire students to the form a lunchtime men's choir and a men's sextet called The Six of Hearts, which is doing quite well, Gates said. It's hard to tell just how much the participation in Tunes To Teens had to do with that, but every little bit helps, she said.
"I would do it again without hesitation," she added.
That is the kind of result CASA board member Chris Tess had in mind when he started the program about 18 months ago.
As his collection of a cappella music grew, Tess figured there had to be a good use for the CDs he no longer wanted. One day he realized that the burgeoning singers in junior high and high school choruses could probably use them the most.
"We're trying to expose them to the a cappella scene, which, theoretically at least, they would be receptive to," Tess said. "They may have never even heard it because there's not a lot of a cappella in the mainstream ... By learning about a cappella music, they learn a lot about basic music theory, how songs are put together and how arrangements are done."
Now Tess collects used a cappella CDs that people don't need anymore and sends them along with new CASA CDs to high school choirs. The schools pay $1 per CD to help cover the cost of the program, but the students don't pay a dime, Tess said.
"I didn't want the students to have to pay for them because I wanted it to be kind of a gift," he said.
Tess has been pleased to see that the number of donated CDs has actually outpaced the demand so far. In fact, the program's biggest challenge has been just getting the word out to choir directors, Tess said.
"To a certain degree it's a matter of supply and demand. Certainly if the demand suddenly exploded we'd have to ramp up the collection of CDs, but that would be great! I would love for the program to grow," he said.
Not only has the support within the a cappella community been great, but Tess has gotten lots of positive feedback about Tunes To Teens from those who participated. Students send e-mails saying how much they enjoy the music, and directors report how they see students passing the CDs around and sense a real buzz.
"It's just really generated a lot of excitement among the choruses, and that's basically what this is all about," Tess said.
For more information about the Tunes To Teens program, visit www.casa.org/ttt. To apply for your school choir to participate in Tunes To Teens or to donate a cappella CDs to the program, e-mail