HomeAsk Deke: How can my Camp A Cappella group become a full-time (but long-distance) group?

DekeSharon's picture

Q: Hi Deke!

My small group from Camp A Cappella is looking to become an intact group called 'No Limits'. We love singing, working and performing together and we really don't want the music to stop even if camp ended. One of the obstacles of this however is that we live all around the US with no practical way to meet on anything near a regular basis. We were wondering if you might be able to give us some advice or guidence on what we can do overcome this obstacle, and what could be a good starting point for us.

Thanks!

Sam B

A: Hi Sam,

So glad you enjoyed camp, and that you guys are going to keep singing together! Luckily you live in the first era in human history in which this is possible. Twenty years ago this was unthinkable, and now it’s actually somewhat commonplace with groups spread across the US (Take 6, Rockapella, Musae) or even around the world (Accent).

Here are a few things you’ll need:

1) Patience. With yourself and each other. Communication takes longer when you’re not in the same room, and misunderstandings can arise. Keep channels open, discuss things, and if ever there’s a problem, jump on the phone, or…

2) Skype (or Facetime, etc). Although you can (and should) learn your parts on your own, you will need to spend time having group meetings and rehearsals remotely, which means a fast face-to-face program and good bandwidth (DSL, ideally) so you can have conference calls, and when the lag isn’t bad, rehearsal together. However, this won’t be high enough quality for you to share with the world. For that, you’ll need...

3) Recording ability. This means the hardware (microphone, preamp, camera, tripod) and the software (protools, final cut) to record audio and video. Your group will need to generate a fan base and interest from promoters, and a steady stream of video with online audio is the way to do this. Many videos can be made while you’re apart, but occasionally you’re gonna have to be…

4) Together. This won’t cost justify initially, but it has to be done. Plan long-weekend retreats initially, and then once you start getting gigs plan to come early and stay late to polish your music, work out choreo, shoot some video of you all together, and generally enjoy each other’s presence.

It isn’t easy to do this, but you have laid the groundwork at camp so you have a couple songs and a good camaraderie to build upon, so...

GO GET ‘EM!