Where did December go?

While we’re on the topic…..where did 2011 go? What a year we’ve had!

A busy December wrapped up another busy year for us and provided us some time to reflect on how fortunate we are to share our music with so many people….Just a few of our stats from this year:

  • 60 appearances
  • 14 workshops
  • a TV appearance
  • Opening for our friends Sonos
  • 1 New Website (and this new blog!)
  • 1 New alto (welcome KLo!)
  • More public shows than ever before

This year was definitely about more than just the numbers. The longer we’re together the more we laugh together. Somehow more laughter means better and better shows. This year we worked extremely hard on fine tuning our musicality and our showmanship. The level of detail taken into consideration was truly amazing.

All the more exciting is that we’ve already got some great things lined up for 2012. We’ll be venturing outside of the Mid-Atlantic and spreading the positive message of a cappella as far as we can. We’re looking forward to putting more pins in our map, meeting new people and the opportunity to keep singing and laughing together!

Tales from the Cafetorium: Fun in Middle Schools

Yes, I said it. Fun and middle school in the same sentence.

On Friday, October 21, we had the privilege of performing for the students at H-B Woodlawn School in Arlington, VA.

After a long summer break, we were ready to get back on the school stage and welcome our newest member, Kristin LoBiondo, in her first full length show. We couldn’t have asked for a better audience.

Plus #1 – The school’s stage was in an actual auditorium, with lights!

Plus #2 – Our show was at 3:15. On a Friday. Everyone was in the perfect mood for Snowday.

Plus #3 – The teachers got into it. Anytime we have captured the students’ attentions AND the teachers are dancing, I consider it a success.

Plus #4 – The “lucky” teacher who received the seranade looked quite serious in her warning to Ward that her husband was indeed a big, fast man. (Run, Ward).

Plus #5 – One of the students voluntarily offered some beatboxing during the Q&A session.

What a great way to kick off the school year! Thanks for being such great hosts, Woodlawn!!

Because I Sing (#2)

A little lighthearted bonus of singing this time around – really fun clothes shopping!

Over the summer, Snowday decided that we would be dressing differently….new colors, new styles – a whole new look. I’m not much of a girly girl and probably won’t ever be stopped on the street for fashion advice, but it was kind of exciting to have an excuse to go shopping for fun clothes.

I brought my younger sister with me as we tore through racks of clothes in several stores. Unlike my normal “work” clothes, we got to pick out all of the fun stuff, even if it was just to give it a try. Sequins, fun dresses, shoes, sparkles, bright colors, big accessories…..many things that would never fly if I were to just be going about a normal day in the office. But on stage I play a character, so my clothes get to be more on the extreme side of fun. It’s like being 7 years old again, donning the princess dress on a Saturday afternoon just because. It also lets me experiment with some pretty fun makeup, which I hardly ever wear otherwise. So aside from the brief thrill of a shopping spree, why else is this a benefit of singing?

In every other aspect of my life I act like an adult, but….

Because I sing, I’ll always feel young at heart!

Now, if only we could figure out how to handle the curious looks at the gas station/convenience store at 7 am on our way to shows. We must be quite the sight in sequins and stage makeup!

Wanna Go Pro?

Snowday is now considering applicants for both sub and full time positions. If you’ve ever dreamed of making a career out of a cappella…join our team!

While all voice parts are welcome, our most immediate need is for a new, full time alto. Applicants should have a strong theatrical stage presence, powerful solo voice and the ability to be confident but flexible on background parts. Daytime availability is must for a full time position, as we frequently perform in schools.

If you are interested, send a video that highlights your solo voice and personality to: info@iwantasnowday.com

Please keep videos to less than 10 minutes in length.

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A Day with Project Philly

So life does make it difficult to actually document it all! It’s been a busy few weeks for Snowday and me personally, but still worth sharing….

On July 30, Snowday traveled to Ardmore, PA, just outside of Philadelphia to spend some time with The A Cappella Project – Philadelphia, more commonly known as Project Philly. Invited by their Board of Directors to provide a masterclass for their summer groups and then headline the evening’s concert, this was our first official trip as a group to the great state of Pennsylvania.

A long but exciting day we started off with a lunch trip to our favorite group dining locale, Panera Bread. (Seriously, I feel like we eat there as a group so often they should sponsor a tour or something….) After lunch we started the load in and sound check in the beautiful brand new auditorium at Lower Merion High School. Gorgeous and spacious stage, nice sound system, fun lighting options…..all good ingredients for a great show! This was just the precursor to the day ahead – packed with all of our favorite things: hanging out with other a cappella people, teaching, eating and performing.

At 3 PM the 2 summer groups for Project Philly, Project Lemon and Project Lime, arrived in the auditorium for their coaching session. While all of the members of Snowday have coached extensively before, this was the first time all 5 of us have coached together. It was like Voltron, a cappella style. In 2 hours’ time, we worked through 2 songs each with both groups. Given the great talent in both groups it was nice to be able to work with them on things like stage presence, mic technique and solo delivery at a more advanced level. By the end of the session both groups had made instant adjustments that really helped their sets come alive.  It was great to work with people so receptive to new ideas, even though we know that some of the exercises might have felt a little silly or uncomfortable.

After the coachings, we headed down to the cafeteria area for dinner and were able to chat with Tom West, the organizer of this event. It was interesting to hear about the history of Project Philly and it’s Penn State based predecessor, Summer Project, founded by Shawn Pearce. The CASA representative in me was already thinking about ways of using this as a model for other cities…… but I digress.

Post dinner it was show time. We debuted our brand new look with this show, so it was fun for me to see us all dressed up in new clothes. We were able to watch Lemon and Lime from backstage and it was truly awesome to see them taking our advice and putting it to good use right away. It was also fun to hang out backstage with Theo, the emcee, who shared in our enthusiastic dance party to Project Lime’s “I Want It That Way”. To this day, I’m still waking up with that song in my head! We left our backstage dance party to step out to warm applause at the start of our set. We did a modified and extended version of our education set, singing for just about an hour. Highlights included Ward picking (of all people!) MY MOM to seranade during My Girl and watching the dance parties that broke out towards the end of our show.

It was great to be able to greet long time and new fans after the show. We only wish we could have stayed for post-show karaoke instead of making the long drive back home. The day felt too short to be over already!

Lower Merion High School posted a slideshow featuring images and audio from the evening. Check it out: http://www.lmsd.org/sections/about/default.php?t=distpub&p=distpub_video_view&menu=distpub&vid=ACAPELLA_SNOWDAY_110730.mp4

Also, tonight is the big concert for Project Philly – you can check it out online at projectphilly.org.

We wish them the best of luck – we know they’ll put on a great show!

Only a few more weeks until our school year gets started again. With new music and new schools being added, I’m looking forward to year 4 of our adventures and to sharing them with you here!

Because I Sing (#1)

For those of you who’ve spent some time with me, it’s probably not a surprise when I say that a cappella enriches my life in ways that other things just can’t compare. And since it is true for most of the people I sing with, I’m leading off a new series of “Because I Sing” to let our fans know just how much of a positive impact singing a cappella has on our lives, from the little things to the long term.

Because I Sing…I’ve become a more confident person.

I’ve been on a stage my whole life. Always in choirs, band, plays, giving speeches. Up until recently I would have never admitted that I ever had any stage fright. To the outside world I’ve almost always come across as fairly collected when in front of a crowd. Well, except for that time in 4th grade that I had to stand in front of the meanest teacher I ever had and read a poem. It was a tough call on which was shaking more uncontrollably – my hands, my voice or my knees.

But I’ve learned that there is a difference between being brave enough to step out in front of people and actually feeling comfortable doing so.

Prior to joining a cappella groups that put each member on an individual mic, my mindset was always geared toward aversion. Smoke and mirrors. Pretend I wasn’t afraid. Conjure up every tactic in the book so that I appeared relaxed – stare over people’s heads, imagine everyone in their underwear…that kind of thing. The truth is, the audience can see right through that. They might still enjoy the show, but something is missing. True confidence.

Now after years of being on a microphone, stepping out on the stages dozens of times each year I no longer have to play jedi mind tricks with myself. I just walk out and do what I do best – sing songs that I’ve sung so many times over that I could sing them in my sleep. If I make a mistake, I keep on going. With a smile. 9 times out of 10, I’m the only one who noticed it anyway. And if they did notice – who cares? I’m human! But of course I’ll learn from it and never do it again! And now I notice that audiences genuinely enjoy the show – because they can tell that I’m enjoying the show.

And lucky for the real world outside of my performing bubble, I see this confidence carrying over into my daily routines. I stand a little taller and speak my mind a little more often. I approach situations in which I used to be uncomfortable or a scared and manage them instead of feeling like I only survived them.

It’s not snowing in DC.

I wish it was.

It’s been so, so, SO (buttons on pants) hot in the DC area these past few weeks.  Even loading and unloading the cars for rehearsals has become a bear.  Truly, iwantasnowday … NOW.  🙂

However, what keeps me going in the heat is not some Snowday superpower of keeping cool, it is our mission.  Since Snowday started, the group has brought education about a cappella music and shared the joy of signing with literally thousands and thousands of kids across Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia.

Since we only see them a few hundred at a time, and they’re tinier than adults, it doesn’t seem like that much when we do each show, but it definitely has added up.

I think that arts education is probably THE most important facet of a child’s education.  It makes you well rounded, and allows you to explore a lot of interests and topics.  That is certainly how it was for me, and music has been *the* most influential force in my entire life.

Sharing that with the students with Snowday is not only our mission, but it’s a privilege, and I’m thankful every week that I have this opportunity.

What we are doing is just cool, and that will keep me going through the (literal) heat any day.

Now, if I just had a snow cone…

~Charlie