While harmonies attract us to a cappella music, it's our relationships that keep us in the fold. The tingling we felt listening to a cappella music early on gets harder and harder to come by as we hear more and more of it and as we get pickier about what sounds good to us. But our friendships with our fellow singers get stronger and stronger. Lucky for us, a cappella people are good people. They're idealistic, they're creative, they're talented, and they're appreciative. They're the kind of people you want to be around.
And you do spend time with them when you can. If you're in a school group, you probably hang out with them a lot, and they become your best friends. Then when you graduate and enter the "real world", you're isolated again, with neighbors, friends, and colleagues who don't understand why you like that "la la music". And even if you're still in a group, most of your group may not be as interested in a cappella as you are.
When the alt.music.a-cappella and rec.music.a-cappella newsgroups started up in the early 1990s, they filled this void. We were suddenly able to converse on a daily basis about whatever a cappella topics we wanted, with other singers, experts, and enthusiasts all over the world. It didn't matter if you lived in a town that had no a cappella groups - you were suddenly connected. It was a game changer.
My friend Seth Golub, who I sang with in college, told me about rec.music.a-cappella. From this newsgroup grew a community of posters who raised in depth questions, challenged convention, and shared their passion. The Rec.music.a-cappella Album Review Board was created and staffed by these early posters. When RARB later created a forum to discuss its reviews and to encourage others to write their own reviews, it attracted those rmac posters, and rmac traffic dried up. General a cappella discussions dwarfed discussions about reviews, and the RARB Forum has flourished ever since.
Over the years, other forms of online social interaction have come and gone, but the RARB Forum remained the a cappella watering hole. The CASA, AACI, and A Cappella Uncensored forums were unable to draw enough of the traffic away from the RARB Forum. Posts on the CASA Forum were often just duplicates of posts on the RARB Forum. CASA tried three times to create live chats, but these lacked enough online users to thrive.
Now, with the combined RARB/CASA Forum, we're able to bring together the wealth of active posters and years of posts on the RARB Forum with the ever-growing traffic, activity, and exposure of the CASA site. All integrated. In one place. Synergy. Hotsidehotcoolsidecool/twogreattastesthattastegreattogether.
For all of those readers who read the RARB/CASA Forum for the first time, they'll discover the same thing we first found on the rec.music.a-cappella newsgroup back in 1993:
Kindred souls. Friendship. Home.