April 21, 2007

UGAPALOOZA 2007

I had a real blast from the past tonight. I found out a few days back that my old singing group, The UGA Accidentals were having their big spring a cappella showcase, UGAPALOOZA, this weekend. This was something I helped start for the group back in 1995, so it's really gratifying to see it still going strong. I tried sending out some last-minute invitations to fellow Accidentals alumni, but none could make it.

Craig (Tenor in two of my OTHER singing groups) was available, though and he brough his girlfriend Vanessa along to educate her about this portion of his life. You see, I met Craig in my first a cappella group, "B Natural" back in 1991. He was our first tenor and I was the bass. Long story short, we sang together in a cappella groups for years, and Vanessa only knows Craig from his current stint as lead singer of That 80's Band. So this was an introduction for her to this chapter of his life.

The show was great, although they only had the three UGA groups and no invited groups from other colleges like they usually do. The groups, for your reference:
  • The UGA Accidentals - 12 men from the UGA Men's Glee Club
  • Noteworthy - 12 women from the Women's Glee Club
  • With Someone Else's Money - Relatively new 12-14 co-ed group, possibly independent.

    Now I hadn't been to one of these shows in about seven years, so I recognized a total number of ZERO people that were onstage. But there was kind of a zen in that disconnect, because it was all fresh. I was eager to see what directions the groups have been taking since I've been gone. Most notable change: Microphones. Soloists and Vocal Percussionists had microphones, and there were four ambient mics that they ran through the house speakers. That's a big change from when we started out, and it really helped. With mics, the VP and soloists could do more subtle, nuanced work instead of needing to project to the back row. When I did VP, my voice was blown out and my throat was raw after 4 or 5 songs because I had to do it so loud, (leading to my only "diva" moment of my singing career, when I said I honestly couldn't do another song without some water).

    With Someone Else's Money went first, then (probably to fill the slot for whatever group/groups backed out at the last minute), they had a "Vocal Percussion Extravaganza" where all the VP's from the groups took turns trading beats. When they announced this, I jokingly started to get up from my seat and head toward the stage, and Craig & I had a laugh.

    Then the guy actually asked for "Two brave volunteers from the audience to come up and show their VP Skills." I blinked. Craig Blinked, and promptly propelled me out of my seat and ACTUALLY down to the stage. The volunteers went, first a college-age guy then me. Not my best work to date, I wans't warmed up and my lips stuttered a bit, but it was passable for a geezer like me. I sat down and the actual VP's took turns, and there were quite a few of them, about three per group! That takes a little pressure off, I'm sure.

    At the break, who comes down to see us but Erik Bomboy, who sang with Craig and I in B Natural! He never misses one of these concerts, and he couldn't believe it when he spotted me on the stage. He was in a Christian a Cappella group with two OTHER B Natural alumni a few years back, but they've since broken up as well. It was great to see him.

    Noteworthy has really come into their own, and their new CD was named Collegiate Femala A Cappella CD of the year in the CARA's (the Grammys of a cappella)! It was really an incredible performance, only marred by a few of their outfits. Honestly it was "The EMPIRE (Dress/Top) Strikes Back" up there, and it was NOT flattering on some of them. As unfashionable as I am, I even noticed that.

    The Accidentals were great, performing "You're an Ocean" by Fastball (My Ringtone!) and a great Josh Grobin/Ladysmith Black Mambazo song that I'd never heard before. And Paul Tate would be proud to know that they still close every concert with his song "Blessing".

    Afterwards, I took them to The Grill, the traditional place to eat after a performance. I had a chocolate shake and a Newcastle Brown Ale. Together. Not too bad, actually.
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