HomeAcamaraderie: Treble’s trip to Memphis, and what it means to me

jmednikow's picture

If the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) had existed when I graduated college in 1986, I might still be living in New York today instead of Memphis.  Such is the power of little things in a life.

At the very least, I would have had a lot more fun in New York City.  To be sure, it's easy for a twenty-something to enjoy New York City, and I certainly did.  But if I had a diverse group of friends who shared my interest in a cappella, it would have added a much-needed layer to my social network. 

In that era, virtually no one continued singing a cappella after college.  There were no post-collegiate, non-professional a cappella groups that I could join in New York City in 1986.

CAL was created for people like me:  someone who sang in college and enjoyed the music and the camaraderie but who didn't want (or in my case, wasn't good enough) to pursue a full-time career in music.

Through DeltaCappella, my a cappella group in Memphis, I have become friends with eleven other guys I never would have met.  We come from all walks of life and except for our common love of a cappella, some of us have little in common.  We work together to make great music, and in the process we grow close to each other.  I know I can count on any one of them for support if needed.

There are CAL groups all over the United States (and a few internationally), and several weeks ago, we invited one of them, Treble from New York City, to come to Memphis to do a joint concert with DeltaCappella.  Now, to be honest, when I was in college in an all-male group, we always wanted to invite women’s groups as much for the partying as for the singing.  There were other reasons we invited Treble in this case, though I’m sure that those among us who are not married did enjoy the social aspects of the collaboration.

With one exception, no one in DeltaCappella knew anyone in Treble beforehand. But even before Treble arrived for a weekend in Memphis, I already felt like I knew several of its members.

Treble arrived in Memphis and immediately took the town by storm.  They saw Graceland and other Memphis attractions their first day, and then DeltaCappella and Treble had a joint dinner of barbeque ribs and beer. Afterward, we took over the lobby bar at the Peabody Hotel and sang for a few hours, and then adjourned to the blues bars on Beale Street.

Treble helped us conduct auditions to start a women’s a cappella group in Memphis.  Their presence helped unify a group of disparate women who auditioned, and Riva was born. That night we sang an energized concert before a packed house at a local performing arts center, and then had an afterparty that, for some of us—those who were younger and not married—migrated from restaurant to bar to hotel lobby and lasted until 4:30 in the morning (I’m told).

After a weekend of singing and socializing, I’m now friends with every one of the women in Treble.  And through the magic of email and Facebook, the friendships are growing.

In fact, I have friends in CAL whom we’ve never sung with.  But we became virtual friends on Facebook because of our mutual interests in a cappella, and before long, virtual friendship turned into real friendship.  I have very real friendships with people whom I’ve only shaken hands with once or twice.  I care about them and their experiences, and I’m there to support them in times of need, and vice versa.

My experiences are not exclusive to CAL.  I know that college students experience this all the time these days.  But it’s new and fresh to me, because it didn’t happen this way when was in college, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Back to New York City in 1986.  If Treble had existed back then, I certainly would have made it a point to get to know them.  As a single guy, who wouldn’t want to meet a dozen beautiful, talented women?  I’d have gone to their concerts and found some way for whatever group I was in to sing with them.  And maybe some additional great friendships would have kept me from growing tired of Wall Street and made it worthwhile to stay in New York.  Such is the power of little things in life.


About the author:
Jay Mednikow runs his family’s 100-year-old jewelry business in Memphis. He sang with the Harvard Din & Tonics while in college and with the Duke Pitchforks while in business school.  Then he took a 17-year break from a cappella, because in 1990, there were very few avenues available to continue singing a cappella music after school.  But in 2007, Jay’s desire to do it again led him to found DeltaCappella, a twelve-man contemporary a cappella group that was a charter member of the Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL). He has become an avid proponent of post-collegiate a cappella music.  Jay’s wife and three children, thankfully, support him in his musical endeavors.


Unifying force

Awesome post.  Thanks, Jay!

Can't echo enough the awesomeness of finding that common bond in music with others -- people you sing with and people you simply know through singing -- and how wonderful that is! 

Matt Emery CASA Director of Communications Three-time Recipient of RARB "Post of the Year" Title

Walking in Memphis

On behalf of the bakers dozen of ladies from Treble, we cannot thank DeltaCappella enough for the gracious invitation, and to CAL for helping to facilitate the connection.
We certainly enjoyed the sightseeing, BBQ, and socializing of our Memphis trip, but the highlight was, hands down, the musical growth and sharing... from sound check to the encore to auditions, we had an absolute blast listening, learning, and singing with an amazingly talented group of men whom we are happy to now call our friends (and whom we never would have met without CAL!)


Thanks for posting this Jay.  I can relate to the sentiment strongly.  Since deciding to bring A cappella to my life on a daily basis and even more as a CAL director, I have been blown away by the people that I've met in this community.  Having been a part of community theaters I had already experienced the joy of working with little groups of people who become part of your extended family (before they move on to other families), but never as tight-knit as this community is.  Maybe it's the transient nature of theater....but I digress.  I can honestly say that if not for the supportive community here and with CAL, I can't be sure I'd be running an A cappella group right now.  The experienced CAL groups like yours are an inspiration to us upstarts and one of the reasons I value being a CAL group.  I can only imagine what a combined DeltaCappella/Treble show would feel and sound like!  Someday....

Wishing the best to everyone!


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