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Hello a cappella world (or at least the blog readers)! My name is Richard Steighner and I have an a cappella addiction. I am a member of The Plumbers of Rome, The 17th Avenue Allstars, Confidential, moosebutter, VoxBom, Throat, Wonder Voice, King4; a former member of CU group Mile 21 and the College all-stars group 40th Parallel. I used to play guitar and fell into singing because I'm a bass.  I'm not a music major (Psych and Design).  I have never been in a play.  This is my story.

For the second year in a row I'm writing the day after the Nationals. Last year coming off of a predictable loss, I sat in the airport wondering why we'd put in the effort. Today I sit here in my San Rafael hotel room after an unpredictable win experiencing what I'd been shooting for...what everybody was shooting for.

The "prizes" have nothing to do with cash, do not guarantee gigs, and do not mean that I am a better singer than anybody. It is, however, justifying. For anybody that actually reads this blog, I am pretty sure you already know about Plumbers of Rome, the comedy trio that won last night at the National Harmony Sweeps--one I have been a part of for a couple of years now and a product of Mister Tim, a cappella master mind. The problem with Plumbers has always come from the need to entertain rather than execute...so there is no way to quantify success beyond 'more laughs' or 'great crowds.' But today I feel different. I feel like the theory and the thought and the focus on the Show has received the nod.

A shout to The Bobs for inspiration, a note about The Blue Man Group and Stomp for the foundations, and a plug for stand-up comedians...Seriously ridiculous, seriously funny, seriously entertaining. I hope it was a good show last night above all else because winning the thing doesn't do anything for the group (outside of the a cappella-singer world). A thank you to your well-wishes.

A thanks, also, to my group Confidential, also competing in last night's National Harmony Sweeps. We had formed about 3 months ago using the Sweeps as a goal for getting up to performing speed. With 2 original songs, I didn't expect to win. If nothing else, we made a major leap in our group's life--I'd recommend it. Nothing like losing to propel a group forward...see also: Michael Jordan, the Red Sox, Plumbers of Rome (not that Plumbers is on the same plane as those 2, but the analogy works...). The perspective should be on reality...

We are not the Music Business. We are not rock bands. We are singers. There are things that work and that don't work and there is no room for elitism here (though it seems to abound). I hope to be a part of changing the attitude in a cappella and hopefully a little bit of Ridiculous will bump out the mediocre, the uninspired, the close-minded and bring about great things.


hear hear! great attitude

hear hear!

great attitude richard! it's one that we all should have. thank you for giving us the opportunity of seeing a cappella done your way. the more i get into a cappella, the more i am blown away by the diversity of performance within such a (supposedly) tiny niche of entertainment. thanks again!

-Joseph Livesey | Fermata Nowhere | SoundStage

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