I’ve never been so exhausted and completely happy about it! This is my second year teaching at Camp A Cappella, and we have one day remaining. I’ve finished my 15th of 16 classes and as I chill in the beatbox room, people are rehearsing down the hall.
Last night was admittedly a late night. I performed with Freedom’s Boombox for our second show EVER! It was the first time in a long time feeling nervous about a show. It has been such a long and winding road performing with The Exchange that I’ve become accustomed to a quintet. Every day, without fail, one of our songs would work its way through my head and losing two of the voice parts seemed impossibly empty. But the show was a reminder to me that singing is special in that 1+1 does not equal 2. Nor does 5-2=0. It’s maybe a little cheesy, but the end product is only dependent on the energy with which you create. I can be bored with a 200 person choir and totally amazed with a soloist. So in that regard a trio is a luxury.
We have to take hints from previous successes, and I draw upon Moosebutter and Plumbers of Rome for arranging techniques. Back in those days we would require the voices to function beyond a traditional part in a band. In other words, the “bass” is not only functioning as the low end. Instead, you use the skills fundamentally and depart as often as possible to support song elements. A 3 person harmony pad with beatbox can be accomplished with a bass singing an arpeggio and emphasizing the attack of the notes as a kick.
Then with the full complement of notes, you look for moments to take the listeners’ minds off of the simplicity. We rely heavily on three part close harmonies to lift out of potentially monotonous sections. We’ll also use instrument sounds, drum breaks, staging, lead isolation, and a box of other tricks to make you forget it’s 3 people. It’s been a lot of work to get these songs worked up and I don’t feel like there are many parts where I can lay back and break concentration.
It feels good to get a show under our belt. It feels like there is more of a future with the 3 of us now in a cappella. Electronic music has reared its head over the past 20 years and certainly revolutionized how we make it, but I believe whole-heartedly in singing and WILL NOT STOP MAKING NOISE LOL!
That said…the stupor of 7:30 alarm clocks and 2am afterglows has set in and it’s getting difficult to construct complete sentences. I mean, it really is. I hope the people in my classes are picking up something! I’ll sign off for now and head back to Melbourne tomorrow night to get the music school rolling.
By the way, if you took my class and are looking for the slides, please go to thisisbot.com/resources