HomeSummit A Positive Experience For Participants

Amy Malkoff's picture

You know, I've never been much for real jazz, but one thing those jazz cats know how to do is soak up each others' vibe. Seems to me that really good live music is all about vibe: getting all the musicians to come together into the same piece of music without giving up their individuality. I think of performing with new groups as an opportunity to bring all my various musical experiences to bear on the immediate in-the-moment experience of contributing to a piece of music being created on the spot. I like to think that that love of spontaneous creation is part of why I get asked to perform with so many groups. But an important part of that is respecting the vibe that an inviting group has created, and sharing in it and supporting it (and possibly even expanding it) but without ever derailing it.

Anyhow, a great time was had by all.  I don't get to see most of the people in the greater a cappella community as much as I'd like, and getting some serious hang time in with so many was great fun. I was delighted by the mix of old friends and new. That's a great weekend any way you slice it! I think the first-time participants got a really strong sense of the genuine personal camaraderie at play. And I do mean play! It was a goofy fun weekend all around, despite (or, more likely, thanks to!) the tight organizational ship that Captains Minkoff, Preisler, and Parke ran.

What can I say?  I'm already looking forward to the next one.”

Shah Salmi from Vote For Pedro had a…distasteful experience:

“Ben Jackson (Vote For Pedro) and I went to have breakfast at the Inn where we stayed in Oswego, NY, and after seeing Ben having difficulty getting his waffle out of the waffle iron, I decided (under Ben's recommendation) to use another type of non-stick spray for my waffle. My waffle didn't stick, so I recommended another person (who happened to be Mathilda from Riltons Vänner) who was waiting behind me, patiently for her waffle, to use the spray that I had used.

At that time, I was halfway done with my waffle, when the person who works behind the Inn's desk shouted a warning to Mathilda: ‘Don't use that spray! It's the cleaning spray for the waffle iron!’

Well.....I'm still alive and well.”

CASA’s own Joe Antonioli said:

“Here are my pics - http://www.vermontvocals.org/casa/Summit06/.

I spent most of my time at the front of the house, so the only performance shots I have are the ones of woodshedding in the halls.

My best story: On Sunday morning, there was a lady at the Ritz Diner pouring coffee and telling everyone what a wonderful time she had at the concert last night, and that people HAD to go see the afternoon show. Seth Loftgreen went to the same diner for lunch, and she was still at it :)

The most memorable performance was Riltons Vänner singing 'My Little Boobs' at the afterglow, followed by a jam with Minimum Wage (actually the LaGreca brothers), making up a song called ‘Tiny Peni and Big Balls’ right on the spot. Hilarious!”

Jonathan Lee Heiles, a visitor to the CASA site, posted the following:

“One of the highlights for me came between the end of workshops on Saturday and the Saturday night concert. I don’t know what happened to lead up to it, but when I noticed one of the high school groups was singing for Round Midnight. Round Midnight then returned the favor. Looking over the shoulders of Round Midnight, I could see this line of teenage girl faces barely able to contain their joy of being sung to so personally and so expertly.

It was a wonderful moment.

Come to think of it, the range of ages present at the summit was really nice. I remember overhearing a college student last year complaining 'There's just a bunch of old guys here'. This year, the high schoolers there for the competition and the local folks who were probably ranged into the seventies gave a different (and better) feel to the event that I've seen in the last few years.

I was in a great workshop with Rene Ruiz (Toxic Audio). He brought up Business as Usual, a group of guys who sang together in college and are now trying it again. They sang a piece and Rene gave comments about energy, staging and focus. He also drew examples from the Friday night performances. Some of his ideas were affirming for me because they echoed my own sense of stage presence, and others got me thinking from a different perspective.

I came away from a session with Mark Suprenant on rehearsal with several new tricks and a deepened appreciation for what a skilled choral director is able to do for his or her singers.

Blue Jupiter talked about the process of taking a song from its selection to developing the arrangement to structuring learning and enhancing the arrangement. Again, there were several ideas that I'll be incorporating into working with my high school group.

Riltons Vänner covered the same process as they do it. I especially liked their practice of letting the singers jam with the song, recording the parts that each settled into, and that working the arrangement up from the recordings. There was also the engaging suggestion from someone in the workshop of renting a dance studio and singing to the mirrored wall.

I think I did the intro to VP with Wes Carroll for the fourth time. Every time I take away something of substance from it.

Finally, I was in a session with Charlie and Jeff LaGreca about developing trust within your group, both to support improv during performance and community in the group. I don’t think you can possibly spend more that 90 seconds with those guys and not have a lot of fun. I was particularly impressed by their dedication to their craft and to teaching.

It was a fantastic weekend. My only regret was more of the a cappella community wasn't there to benefit from the wealth of support and music that was available.”

CASA board member and web manager Freddie Feldman was one of many singing the praises (no pun intended!) of Riltons Vänner:

“I'll tell ya, Riltons Vänner pretty much stole the weekend! They owned! Just awesome!

Too bad we didn't get recordings of the series of ‘dirty songs’ performed at the Saturday night Afterglow...songs by Riltons Vänner (‘Patricia & Stu’), the LaGrecas (‘Tiny Penii & Giant Balls’), and the Sons of Pitches (‘Chlamydia’)...definitely elevated the evening to something totally memorable. I guess ‘elevated’ might be subjective :-)”

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