The collegiate a capella community here at UF is quite strong. I’m not saying that just because I happen to be a member. There is a co-ed group No Southern Accent, female group The Sedocatves, and male group The Staff (mine). A lot of hard work goes in to perfecting repertoire and performance with an eye towards competitions like the annual International Competition for Collegiate A Capella (ICCA).
Just like in a theater performance, it’s important to be at your best for all sorts of gigs (I’m the one ominously standing behind the microphone). But the day-to-grind can be tough. To prepare for a performance, you’ve got to start form the bottom up. All rehearsals with a long set of warm-ups, practicing different things such as range, pitch, vocal blending, diction, and whatever else we can think of. Then we usually do a couple of songs we’ve done a billion times just to get in the swing of things.
Then the true work begins. If we’re starting a new song, hopefully we’ve spent some time learning our part at home (hopefully). Step by step we work our way through a song until we’re exhausted. I’m glad to say that since our inception in 2008 and since my start in 2010 the group has improved dramatically. As awesome as this is, it means our arrangements are a lot harder and take longer to learn. But we manage.
Finally, we take time to polish our performance. High energy and engaging is the key. But adrenaline is always high during a show so we need to make sure we stay in tempo, stay tight, and most importantly, stay on key. Believe me it isn’t always easy. Sometimes we have to incorporate my least favorite part: choreography. For a guy who’s done a good amount of musical theater, you would think his would be up my alley. But alas. For ICCA, which is an 11-minute set, choreography is pivotal to putting on a good show. It can take a while to get synced up and sing while performing choreo. However, when it all comes together, it’s pretty sweet.
Sometimes when you see a show you forget just how much time goes into making a production. I’m guilty of this myself. How many hours did the performers put in? What about the technical crew? Consider this a PSA: the answer is a ton.