One Minute With: RJ Woessner

It’s been a true pleasure to follow this young star’s singing career – first with ICCA Champions and Sing-Off contestants, Pitch Slapped, then with Vocalosity, and now with DCappella. Tenor RJ Woessner has worked hard to get where he is now and he has some great tips on how you can follow in his footsteps.

Here’s one minute with RJ Woessner:

New Tunesday – March 26, 2019

Pentatonix

The latest release from these superstars is just as captivating visually as it is musically.

PTX, Pentatonix, a cappella, a capella, singing, YouTube, Cosmo Sheldrake, world tour

Chris Rupp

The founder of Home Free released a full solo album “A New Day” in 2018 – here is the latest video from the album for the title track.

a cappella, religious, Christian, music, Chris Rupp, Home Free, singing

The Apex Singers

This brand new octet out of the UK kicked things off with a simple, yet beautiful live take of this traditional Irish tune.

Irish, singing, traditional, Apex Singers, UK, a cappella

b vocal

Enjoy this Robbie Williams cover from one of the biggest a cappella acts in Spain.

a cappella, b vocal, Spain, singing, quintet, Zaragoza, YouTube

Bassless

90’s kids can take a trip back to their childhood with this retro cartoon theme song medley.

cartoon, theme songs, a cappella, singing, a capella, Ljubljana

Epiphony A Cappella

This quintet throws in way back with this Bette Midler cover arranged by Deke Sharon

Bette Midler, singing, a cappella, Epiphony, harmony, a capella

Pitch, Please

This Temple University group competed in ICCA for the first time this year with a set entitled “There Will Be Better Days” earning fourth place at their quarterfinal at Drexel University.  Considered an LGBTQIA+ advocacy a cappella group, Pitch, Please was founded in 2014 with the mission to spread positivity, empowerment, and unity through music.

Temple, Pitch, Please, ICCA, LGBTQ, live music, competition, Philly, a cappella, a capella

Voices In Your Head

2018 ICCA Finals 3rd Place finishers just released their full winning set – live. You can also download “Begin Again” now.

Voices In Your Head, ICCA, Chicago, singing, a cappella, live music

Under A Rest

This West Chester University group also released a 2018 live performance this week – enjoy their Dua Lipa cover featuring the WCU Dance Team.

a cappella, West Chester, Under A Rest, singing, live music

Concrete

With one more live video for this week, we get to see a song from their performance at Boston Harmony Sweepstakes a few weeks back.

a cappella, live music, NYC, Harmony Sweeps, Concrete, singing

 

New Tunesday – March 5, 2019

It was another busy week in the aca-verse. Lucky for us – we all reap the benefits. Here are this week’s top new releases:

Home Free

Their Patreon supporters got a head start on this new release, but now it’s available for everyone. Enjoy “Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right).”

Home Free, country, a cappella, singing, The Sing-Off

ONAIR

What a cappella group doesn’t love a Linkin Park cover? Here’s a fresh take on “Numb” out of Germany, mixed and mastered by Bill Hare.

ONAIR, Germany, Linkin Park, YouTube, Numb, singing, a cappella, vocal

From the Roots

We loved watching this new group at LAAF, so please excuse while we don’t hide our excitement about their latest live video release. Here’s “Fly” from their headlining performance at SING! Texas last fall, featuring Hannah Lewis on lead.

a cappella, Fly, singing, harmony, vocals, From the Roots

The Sons of Pitches

Why sing one Imagine Dragons song when you can do a whole medley? The UK stars and winners of The Naked Choir 2015 bring all your favorites together.

UK, a cappella, singing, Imagine Dragons, harmonies, vocals, a capella

The Rivers

Singing a tune in a live music room at Oxford, The Rivers did a great take on this song by Morten Kjær and Gabby Gordon.

a cappella, Oxford, UK, Morten Kjaer, Gabby Gordon, Holywell Music Room, live music

Towson Trills

One of the smallest collegiate groups in the circuit is working towards one more trip to ICCA Finals and gave us all a little taste of their talent.

Towson University, Trills, a cappella, singing, Maryland, live music, stairwell

Penn Masala

The world’s first South Asian a cappella group faces the challenges of mental health for college students with this cover and mashup of Everglow and Kaise Mujhe.

Penn Masala, a cappella, mental health, awareness, South Asian, Philadelphia, UPenn

SesVerSus

With 10 people, this Turkish group is a little big for a couch video, but they pull off the same charm.

Turkey, a cappella, singing, harmony, vocal, live music

New Tunesday – December 4, 2018

In addition to all of the great variety of a cappella you can hear ’round the clock here at Acaville Radio, we’re going to bring you some bonus releases each Tuesday to make sure you’re finding all of the latest and greatest this talented community has to offer.

Here are our favorites this week- and yes, there are a lot of holiday tunes – a trend we expect to continue over the next few weeks:

The Swingles

The first video featuring the group’s newest soprano, Federica Basile, is a smash hit. You were expecting anything less?

Swingles, UK, a cappella, singing, Tokyo, London

Voctave

There may be nothing more beautiful than Voctave singing holiday songs. It’s certainly something to look forward to each year, and their latest release “O Come, O Come Emmanuel/The First Noel/I Wonder As I Wander” is as good as it gets.

Voctave, singing, a cappella, Christmas, holiday, music, carols

Y-Studs

Combining the magic of Queen with Hanukkah? We’re here for it.

Jewish, a cappella, Y-Studs, Queen, Hanukkah, Chanukah

Six13

More Queen. More Hanukkah. More awesome.

Six13, Jewish, A cappella, Hanukkah, Chanukah, Queen
The Turkish a cappella group teamed up with Finnish beatboxer Tuukka Haapaniemi for this performance of  Kerimoğlu Zeybeği, mixed by Bill Hare.
a cappella, Turkey, singing, folk music

Face

Leave it to the all rock band in Colorado to reimagine O Little Town of Bethlehem to the tune of House of the Rising Sun.

Face, Colorado, vocal rock, a cappella, holiday, music, a cappella, Christmas, carols

Upper Structure

Treat yourself to the talent that just oozes out of these Berklee College of Music students with their lead track from their 2018 ICCA Competition Set, “Freedom.”

Berklee, a cappella, Freedom, Beyonce, cover, ICCA

Highline Vocal Jazz

In celebration of nearly one year as a group, Highline treated us to an inspired arrangement of O Holy Night.

Christmas, carols, a cappella, NYC, holiday

Venice Vocal Jam

Singing an arrangement by Homestay Music (you know them – it’s Erik Bosio, Vinther Sørensen, and Jussi Chydeniuss) we get some Beatles love out of Italy.

Beatles, a cappella, Italy, Venice, singing, Cluster

Beatsync

This Toronto group typically performs with a great deal of tech, but for their DCappella Tour submission, they stripped it all down to just acoustic voices.

a cappella, Canada, Toronto, acoustic, Beatsync

Scott & Ryceejo

Enjoy this new take on a classic carol from the husband and wife duo out of Utah, singing Silent Night with support from Spark Singers.

holiday, a cappella, Christmas, carols, Scott, Ryceejo

AcoUstiKats

You may have become acquainted with this group through The Sing-Off, but the tradition lives on years after the show was retired. Here are the current ‘Kats singing a Nick Johnson arrangement of Deck the Halls:

UK, Kentucky, Christmas, carols, singing, a cappella

Association of International Champions

Another gem from the 2018 AIC show, this week we get to relive and enjoy “It’s a Small World” by the full AIC Chorus.

AIC, barbershop, champions, Disney, a cappella

Iris Tops The #AcaOpen

In a night of a cappella grandeur, brand-new New York City trio, Iris, tipped the scales in their favor. With masterful arranging and rhythm section work from Andrew John Kim, paired with the incredible vocals of Dara Orland and David Rowen, the halls of Carnegie were ringing with the sounds of just three voices.

Iris takes classic songs and presents them with a modern twist, bringing at once a feeling of nostalgia and a strong urge to groove. Vocals were delivered with near perfection in strong emotional arcs throughout their four-song set.  Iris kicked things off with Summertime with a simple and strong entrance that built over time. They upped the complexity with Blackbird with a natural call and response feel backing up strong solos, before moving into a breathtaking rendition of Bridge Over Trouble Water. They closed out their set with a powerful, upbeat take on Favorite Things. Kim’s beatbass was clean throughout, and he seamlessly transitioned in and out of harmony, as Rowan and Orland effortlessly captivated the audience.

But, of course, with ten of the world’s best groups on an iconic stage, there were so many more highlights throughout the night. Since there was a strict ban on any audio, video, or photos during the show, we’ll try to recreate the best parts of experience for you through storytelling.

Supergroup HIVE didn’t waste anytime bringing us spinetingling harmonies – with a mix of stellar original music and unique covers, these ladies were all sparkle. And that’s before you take their fabulous glitter attire into consideration. Whether it was the multitalented Courtney Jenson flipping between soft singing and room rattling percussion, the soulful warm tones from Lisa Forkish and Nina Kasuya, the angel-like sounds from Christina Wilson, or the stage commanding presence of Moorea Dickason, it was impossible to know where to focus – in the best way possible. (Side note – Nina, can I have your sequin cape? Pretty please?)

COLLAB took the stage next and used their strong collegiate presence to their advantage. Everything about their presentation was enjoyable – fluid movement, strong solos, and a smattering of show-stopping chords. Sara Gilbert was recognized for her efforts in leading the group’s visual presentation with the award for Outstanding Choreography.

We traveled across the pond for group three, as London-based VoCollective took the stage. The group utilized the strength of their rhythm section and offered great highlights of power singing with the female trio.  Add in a little sass and some dance moves and you had the audience coming alive and ready to sing and dance.

ICCA Finalist and Virtual Champion, RISE, stepped up the party vibe with confident soloists, a stable of talent, and a stirring rendition of Andra Day’s Rise Up. The group skillfully used key changes to amp up the emotional delivery and looked remarkably polished for a college group just getting into a new school year. The reaction from the audience was visibly positive, as they earned the first standing ovation of the evening.

Next up, we were treated to an encore competition set from ICHSA Champions, Legacy. A final performance for the 2017-2018 group, these talented young singers did not disappoint. The energy in the hall skyrocketed as these eight teenagers took the stage like seasoned professionals with a youthful exuberance. Proving they are more than just bubblegum pop, they sang one of my favorite ballads of the night in a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which they delivered with an emotional maturity well beyond their years. Their performance landed them in a respectable fourth place overall and number one in a lot of the audience’s hearts. Only two years into their creation, we can’t help but look forward to all the great things still to come from Legacy.

Third place finisher LUXE closed out the first half of the show with clean deliveries, a smart rhythm section, and very strategic use of the individual talents in the group. Another brand-new group with a history of success in ICHSA and ICCA, LUXE successfully engaged the audience and looked very much at home on the big stage.

Back from Intermission, the second half of the show kicked off with a bang, brought by none other than five-time ICCA Champions, The SoCal VoCals. Carnegie Hall was treated to an encore reprise of the incredible set that captured them the ICCA Championship at Beacon Theatre in April, delivered with the flair and precision we’ve come to expect from this group. More excellent solos, with a special Outstanding Solo nod to Kaylah Baker, it’s possible that their performance of Pure Imagination was their best yet, and their dance moves are simply unparalleled. The group went home with a very strong second place prize.

Reigning Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions and Bay Area favorites Business Casual had the tough draw of following the ICCA legends, but did so with such confidence and engagement, that they were one of my favorite acts of the night. This group knows how to win over an audience and they presented a very clear sense of identity in their performance. Each member of the group looked so natural on stage and brought a fantastic performance – but let me tell you how much I could sit and watch Cassie Greene all day. She epitomizes what I want as an audience member – calm but commanding presence, smooth vocals, and never a doubt that she is enjoying every second of her time on stage.

Iris’ performance was next, just before the final competing group of the evening, Ember. This septet out of Baltimore brought an all-original set that showed real talent in songwriting from Alyce (Lisa) McNulty, Hansel Romero, and Erik Fredriksen. A little bit of big stage nerves were evident at the start of their performance, but they quickly settled in and delivered a wide range of moods and incredible artistry throughout their very eclectic and unique set.

With the competition over and the judges hard at work, the audience got to sit back and enjoy last year’s champions, Women of the World. A superlative performance, as always, and full of demands for audience participation.

With small groups now on a winning streak, it will be interesting to see the growth of the AcaOpen moving forward. Is less more? Is professional a cappella embracing simplicity? But most importantly, what will the talent in our community come up with next?

Tune into #TheSpotlight to hear some singing and interviews with finalists, including a full performance of the finals set from 2018 AcaOpen Champions, Iris.