Acatribe is a website devoted to appreciation and analysis of contemporary a cappella music from all over the world. Founded in 2011 by David Bernstein, Acatribe began as an outlet for analysis of season 3 of NBC’s competition program The Sing Off. However, it quickly grew into something more, offering reviews of a cappella shows like Voca People and live performances in the New York City area, an annual year in review column, analysis of controversial issues in the a cappella community, and so much more.
In the years since it began, Acatribe has expanded to feature writers of diverse backgrounds, including former and current singers and a cappella fans with no musical training or experience. We have a resident music teacher who writes about a cappella in education, an entrepreneur who started Acaville Radio, and perhaps the world’s most connected a cappella fan. The one thing this eclectic group of individuals has in common is a true love and appreciation for a cappella music. Please click around, stay awhile, and share your thoughts about vocal music and about our thoughts so we can further the discussion about the role this music plays in our world and in our society.
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Founder/Managing Editor/Writer- Dave Bernstein
I am an unabashed a cappella nerd. I joined my first group as a junior in high school, and was co-director the next year. And though I cannot take full responsibility for the name, we were called the Smooth Progressions. When I left for college, I was stunned to learn that New York University did not have an all-male a cappella group. So I put up signs, found someone else (Jeff Benson, where are you?) who was interested in helping, and together we created NYU’s Mass Transit. After deciding that the quality of my education at NYU as a music education major was not significantly better than that which I could obtain for literally one-third the price at the Crane School of Music, I transferred. There, I immediately joined the Potsdam Pointercounts. One semester later I was music director, singing bass and vocal percussion. I remained music director for 3 semesters before leaving to complete an internship in music business.
At the time, I also co-founded a recording studio on Long Island, NY, which was called Liquid Productions (I am fairly certain we predated the wonderful folks at Liquid 5th Productions, but they quickly surpassed us in terms of quality and prestige). We recorded a few a cappella albums and a few other demos before we ultimately disbanded our little business.
My professional and personal lives have taken me far away from performing with or starting a new group. By day, I am an appellate attorney representing the indigent in Nassau County, New York. In recent years I have been lucky enough to remain connected to the a cappella community by serving as a nominator and judge for the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs), a reviewer for the Recorded A Cappella Review Board (RARB), an associate producer for the vocal compilation series released by Voices Only A cappella, and I write occasional columns for CASA. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to start a few a cappella groups after college, and I expect I will try again in the future. You can find out more about my motivations for starting this blog in my first post ever, which is located here.
But for now I’m just looking to share my thoughts on contemporary a cappella music. Come along for the ride.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and if you want to hear me gripe about the NY Mets and NY Jets, follow my personal twitter feed @db1bulldog
In late 2015, Acatribe was pleased to welcome Christopher Hoffman, founder of the Long Island League of A Cappella, as a regular contributor.
Christopher Hoffman is an a cappella junkie from New Jersey currently studying public relations and music at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. He is the arranger and public relations manager for his coed group, Sigma’cappella, with whom he has competed in multiple ICCA seasons. A fan of all forms of vocal music, Christopher is excited to be able to write about his biggest passion and contribute to acatribe.
In early 2015, we were pleased to welcome Aaron Director, of Acaville A cappella Radio, as a contributor.
Aaron Director– Since starting the nonprofit Acaville Radio in 2013, Aaron has been immersed in a cappella 24/7. But his interest in the form goes back to the late 1980s, when Take 6’s debut album knocked his socks clean off. (He remains figuratively barefoot to this day.) As a music education major with voice as a major instrument, he emerged from college ready to teach choir at the time when many programs were being cut around the Northwest, confirming his impeccable timing. So he took a different path, keeping music as an avocation instead. With careers in technology, education, government, nonprofit administration, and law, he knows just enough to sound—but not be—smart about lots of things. He remains curious about the world and always in search of more great a cappella.
In early 2014, Acatribe said farewell to Pat Holden, and welcomed Justin Glodich into the fold.
Justin Glodich is currently the K-12 Choral and Theatre Director in the Eldred Central School District in Eldred, NY. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from The Crane School of Music at Potsdam College, and a Masters of Music Education, Choral Conducting from The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. While at Potsdam, he was a member of the all male a cappella group, the Potsdam Pointercounts. After college, he performed briefly with the Ithaca-based group, The Sons of Pitches, a group that ultimately became the vocal band, The Fault Line, which reached the semifinals of Season 2 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, and was also mentioned in the Mickey Rapkin book, Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory, and Brody McDonald’s book, A Cappella Pop.
At Eldred, Justin is responsible for five choral groups, including the Eldred Key Elements, an a cappella group consisting of students in grades 7-12. He is an active member of the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), CASA (Contemporary A Cappella Society of America) and the New York State Theatre Educators Association (NYSTEA). He was recently selected as the New York Chapter Representative of the A Cappella Education Association, and he currently serves on the Executive Board for the Sullivan County Music Educators Association. Justin has toured across the country with The Fault Line, giving performances and workshops to a wide array of choral groups, and has presented lectures on Contemporary A Cappella in the Choral Classroom.
In early 2013, Acatribe welcomed the addition of several new voices to the blog.
Tara Marie Ahn is a middle school math teacher and “a cappella super fan.” She has seen nearly every major a cappella group or vocal band to appear in the United States perform in recent years, including The House Jacks, Swingle Singers, Overboard, Pentatonix, Street Corner Symphony, Duwende, Hyannis Sound, Ball in the House, Straight No Chaser, and Musae, among others. She has also attended nearly every American a cappella festival, including VoCALnation, SoJam, BOSS, AcappellaFest, LAAF, and SingStrong. Basically, she is willing to travel to see some great a cappella performances. She also has some videos and playlists up here.
Matt Warren has presented sessions across New York State on integrating popular music into school music curriculums. His work has been featured in The Choral Journal as well as on his personal website: http://tinyurl.com/MattWarrenMusic. Matt has taught chorus and general music for seven years at Spry Middle School in Webster, NY, and was also a member of the Potsdam Pointercounts (not at the same time as me or Pat). You can follow him on Twitter (@MattWarrenMusic) or Facebook (http://facebook.com/MattWarrenMusic).
Patrick Holden has performed as a tenor and occasionally soloist with the Potsdam Pointercounts, the Collegiate Chorale, the Long Island Sound Men’s Barbershop Chorus, and numerous smaller groups performing contemporary a cappella and/or barbershop music. By day (and sometimes night), he is a saute chef for some guy named Jean-Georges. He is an avid fan of dressage, curling, and bog snorkeling.
Heather Newkirk is a very small girl with a very large love for music. She began at Syracuse University with the all-female and fabulous Main Squeeze. In four years, she served as business manager, public relations director, music director, arranger, vocal percussion, and choreographer (yes, all of those). She has been awarded Best VP and Best Arrangement at ICCAs, and led Main Squeeze to record their first EP. Her arrangement of “Wolf & I” can be heard on Voices Only 2013. She also helped to co-foundVolta who competed in the 2013 BOSS Collegiate Competition. She is currently coaching high school a cappella group Codman Chaos through the Bubs Foundation. She also serves as CASA’s Program Manager of Social Media, and teaches at various aca-festivals throughout the year. When she isn’t doing a cappella things, she’s probably off being a nerd about computer games or eating food, but usually both at the same time.