The Vocal Company Blog

Arranging Sorcery with Elliott von Wendt

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Feb 1, 2018 11:48:58 AM

These days, more and more groups are arranging their music in house, especially in scholastic a cappella groups. Purchasing arrangements from the pros isn't going out of style anytime soon, and professional arrangements can be great tools for studying vocal arranging and getting into it yourself! For beginners and veterans alike, one of the most tried and true ways to improve your arranging is to talk about it with other arrangers.

Elliott von Wendt finessed his a cappella career at Berklee College of Music, where he took the reins as music director for the school’s all­-male group, the CharlieChords. During his tenure, he brought them from modest beginnings to ultimately placing at 2015 Northeast ICCA­ Semifinals. After graduating, Elliott continues to mentor and arrange for many groups in the Boston area and beyond. Currently, Elliott serves as music director, arranger, and bass for The Nor’easters, most recently bringing them to to their win at the 2017 ICCA Finals.

Elliott’s training at the prestigious Berklee College has given him a rich musical palette — he has experience arranging and performing classical, jazz, pop, and electronic styles of music and is dedicated to making every arrangement he works on specially tailored to the unique singers in the group.

We reached out to Elliott to give us some of his insight on a cappella arranging and how to bring out the best in your arrangements by sharing some of his own experiences.

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Topics: elliott von wendt, arranging

A Message from our New CEO

Posted by Angela Longo on Jan 9, 2018 5:53:23 PM

It's 2018, finally, and after spending some much needed time with family, friends (and Riley of course!), I'm looking forward to the fresh start another new year brings.

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Topics: angela ugolini, the vocal company

5 Books Everyone in A Cappella Should Read in 2018

Posted by AJ Marino on Dec 29, 2017 3:07:00 PM

With the holiday season wrapping up, it's time to start looking towards the New Year. Many of us start to looking towards way to get healthy and start living life to the fullest - and what better way way to do that then by challenging your mind with a great book? We're adding "Read More" to our list of New Year's Resolutions....join us! Get cracking on these books, and you may even get a special deal with the links below. 

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Topics: a cappella, a cappella books

Meet Your SoJam XV Competitors!

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Oct 26, 2017 11:00:00 AM

On the eve of SoJam XV, we're taking a closer look at each of our six awesome competitors this year! Representing Florida and New York, our six groups will be vying for the glory of being the SoJam XV Champion, one of the most heavily sought-after titles in contemporary a cappella. We've got the details on all your favorite groups after the jump.

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Topics: Competition

Humans of A Cappella: Christopher Diaz

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Oct 13, 2017 6:15:00 PM

Meet Christopher Diaz. Hailing from Newport News, Virginia, Diaz is a singer, songwriter, actor, arranger, and vocal coach for thousands of performers across the world. From humble beginnings at Florida State University, Diaz earned his Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance and led a cappella powerhouse group, All-Night Yahtzee to ICCA Finals from 2006 - 2008. If you've ever listened to any a cappella compilation albums, then you're probably more than familiar with his work, with his arrangements featured on every major compilation album in the biz. Diaz is a regular at festivals across the world, and served as a vocal coach and arranger for NBC's The Sing-Off. After The Sing-Off, Diaz co-founded a cappella pop sensation, The Exchange, touring in over 25 countries and six different continents, including touring with The Backstreet Boys during their In A World Like This tour. The Exchange went on to become the runners-up of Season 5 of The Sing-Off, culminating in headlining The Sing-Off Live Tour in 2015. Now, post-The Exchange, Diaz continues to perform with Freedom's Boombox, a trio consisting of Diaz and former Exchange members Alfredo Austin and Richard Steighner. We got a chance to talk with Chris about his journey from collegiate a cappella to being a leading a cappella educator today.

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Topics: Humans of A Cappella

Humans of A Cappella: Tat Tong

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Sep 28, 2017 2:15:00 PM

Meet Tat Tong. Hailing from Singapore, Tat Tong might just be the one of the most successful Asian producers in the world. After studying composition at the Yamaha Music Foundation and Computer Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Tong looked to the future and broke away from that life to become a full-time producer in 2011. While at Cornell, he was a member of the male-identified ensemble, Last Call. With over sixty Top 20 Hits worldwide, 20 number-one hits, and a 20x Platinum discography, Tong is absolutely a force to be reckoned with in mainstream music. In 2014, Tong co-wrote and produced South African-Australian Troye Sivan's breakout single, "Happy Little Pill," off of Sivan's third EP, TRXYE, smashing iTunes charts at number one in 55 countries and certifying Gold in Australia. Tong is also a staple clinician and instructor at several Next Level seminars, most recently NLSWAGACA in 2016. We got a chance to pick Tat's brain and talk about how vocal music has influenced his artistry today.

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Topics: Humans of A Cappella

Humans of A Cappella: Katy Geraghty

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Sep 14, 2017 10:45:00 AM

Meet Katy Geraghty. Hailing from Gloucester, Massachusetts, Katy is no stranger to the a cappella world. While studying theater at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Katy made it big in the a cappella community as one of the core members of the six-member, collegiate-turned-pro group, The Hexachords. In 2016, The Hexachords were featured on the second season of Pop TV's ICCA docu-drama, Sing It On. Her lofty soprano notes and killer high belt can also be heard on their 2017 CARA-winning album, Move. Post-a cappella world, Katy has transitioned to the Big Apple, making her Broadway debut in Groundhog Day, nominated for seven 2017 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Director, as well as winning the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical. We had a chance to sit down with Katy and talk about how her a cappella experiences shaped her as an artist today.

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Topics: Humans of A Cappella

5 A Cappella Audition Myths Debunked

Posted by AJ Marino on Sep 7, 2017 5:45:53 PM

No matter what kind of group you are, every group goes through the grueling yet exciting process of auditions. While it may happen every year, finding new members is no easy fit. Finding new members that are the perfect fit?  That's even harder. 

As an alum of 3 a cappella groups (and counting), I've been through my fair share of auditions - some great, some not so great. In my conversations with groups, I realized many of the same audition problems and questions kept coming up - so I wanted to investigate. What are the pros doing that helps them find the best new members every year?  I asked the current and former directors of groups of all levels and sizes to see what they do to prevent common audition mistakes.

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Topics: Rehearsal Strategies

Humans of A Cappella: Jacob Collier

Posted by Max Kuchenreuther on Sep 7, 2017 10:45:00 AM

Meet Jacob Collier. Hailing from London, England, Jacob Collier is a singer, songwriter, and master instrumentalist. Known by some as "The Future of Music," Jacob Collier is a world leader in experimental music. Getting his start on YouTube creating 12-part vocal harmonies to iconic songs like "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing" and "Fascinating Rhythm" and possessing his trademark vocal harmonizer skillfully crafted by MIT Logarhythm alumnus Ben Bloomberg, Jacob Collier carefully weaves live looping and master-level music theory into sonic masterpieces that blur the lines between jazz, choral music, pop, funk, and more. We got the chance to sit down with Jacob and pick his brain on the next steps for him and his music.

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6 SoJam Performances You Need To See

Posted by Dave Longo on Sep 5, 2017 5:29:27 PM

It's officially September, and that means it's time to start thinking about the biggest event on the Fall aca-calendar: SoJam.

On it's return tour to North Carolina, SoJam is back this year and shaping up to be better than ever. That's a pretty high bar considering all the lore that surrounds the festival - in case you didn't know, SoJam is basically the festival of legends.  

With three weeks left til the SoJam competition deadline, I wanted to share our favorite stories from legendary Friday night SoJam performances that shaped the futures of some of the biggest groups in the game right now. Could your group be the next crazy story in the a cappella history books?

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Topics: Competition, News