AcaVids: #LAAFtermath…and then some…

Hi everyone!  I’m excited to be making my debut AcaVids post today! I know, it’s late, but it’s STILL Monday, so it totally counts…I hope! Please, Dave, don’t fire me just yet! [Editor’s Note: Not only will Tara not be fired, I’m thinking she should take over ALL of my posts for me. Great work below…keep reading]

I was fortunate to be able to attend the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival where Overboard emceed the Scholastic Competition and performed on Friday night.  I was thrilled to see Overboard perform again and hear new songs.  Completely surprised by their performance of ‘Help!’, which I love off their album of the same name.

All of the scholastic competitors (UCLA Scattertones, Calabasas High School Unstrumental, Oakland School for the Arts Vocal Rush, USC Reverse Osmosis, USC Trojan Men, and UCLA MEDleys) brought their best to the Bovard Auditorium stage at USC.  However, I was (as were the judges) blown away by the two high school groups that competed.  I had never heard of Unstrumental and was impressed not only with their stage presence, but by the lead vocal of Brooke Wetterhahn in ‘Mamma Knows Best’.

I had heard Vocal Rush‘s music before the festival, but it didn’t compare to seeing them perform live.  They hold a serious energy about them that draws the audience into their performances.  They opened with their take on ‘Bottom Of The River’.

You can see the other songs they performed that night on my YouTube channel.  Vocal Rush took the first place title, followed by Unstrumental in second, and Scattertones in third. I also must give credit to my good friend Shaina E. for her invention of the #LAAFtermath hashtag which was inspired by Brian C.’s #LAAFter, post weekend.

There have been quite a few musical releases today, but since this is an AcaVids post, I’d like to point out two that grabbed my attention.    If you haven’t heard of The Other Guys, definitely head over to their website and check them out.  They released a new song and video today which was the very first thing I saw upon waking this morning!  It’s also out in perfect time for Valentine’s Day this week! :)

Lastly, Straight No Chaser is releasing a new CD on May 7th featuring collaborations with artists such as Sara Bareilles, Jason Mraz, Phil Collins, Rob Thomas, Seal, and Dolly Parton.  Today we received a sneak peek of the album with the track release and video of  ‘I Want You Back’ that they recorded with the infamous, Sara Bareilles.   Please comment below with your thoughts on this song!  Chasers, we want to hear from you!

Feel free to tweet me at @OooImSoExcited!  Hope to hear from you!  Have a great week everyone!

-Tara :)

AcaVids: Feb. 4, 2013

Welcome to the new AcaVids. If you missed it, there’s a new system and new team in place for AcaVids, which will now be brought to you every single Monday, without fail. For more on the folks joining the team, click here.

So, I am excited to kick things off this first Monday in February with a tribute to last night’s Super Bowl. As I did after last year’s Super Bowl, the segment today will honor the victorious city (sorry, Deke, a cappella’s biggest Niners fan!): Baltimore. This has proven surprisingly difficult, as there are not many groups in Baltimore with an online presence. C’mon, a cappella people, let’s get “Charm City” on the vocal map!

Meanwhile, here’s what I was able to find. If you know of some other groups in the Baltimore area, please feel free to comment/share links below, or email me at or tweet me at @acatribe.


The Acaholics are the only post-collegiate group in Baltimore with a web presence. This clip was from their performance at UMBC this past fall.


The Johns Hopkins University Octopodes have been a good group for a long time. Here’s them performing Ke$ha’s “Animal” last spring.


The UMBC Cleftomaniacs were founded in 2006 by CASA Ambassador Jeeves Murphy. Check out their cover of Jessie J’s “Domino” from last Spring.


Have a great week, everyone!


With all of the exciting things about to happen in 2013 in the world of a cappella (like these), there are also a number of changes coming to this blog.

The biggest change is the expansion of the Acatribe team. When I started this blog, I always hoped that if people actually read it, I might someday be able to invite some other contributors to join me so that it is really Acatribe, and not just AcaGuy. Well, that is finally going to become a reality. Beginning soon, there will be 4 new faces here at Acatribe, volunteering their precious time and energy for you, the readers. Heather Newkirk, Tara Marie Ahn, and Pat Holden come from a variety of a cappella backgrounds, a fact which will hopefully expand the breadth of the Acatribe perspective. To start, each will be involved with the AcaVids portion of the blog. With each taking one week a month, and my own matching contribution, we’ll be able to bring you new AcaVids every Monday, as I originally promised and intended. This segment will move away from the old AcaVids page (for logistical reasons), and instead be available in an individual post which is tagged with “AcaVids” for faster loading.

A little about each one? Sure.

Tara Marie Ahn is a fifth grade teacher and “a cappella super fan.” In the past year, she has been lucky enough to see The House Jacks, Swingle Singers, Overboard, Pentatonix, Street Corner Symphony, Duwende, Hyannis Sound, Ball in the House, Straight No Chaser, and Musae, among others, in concert. She also attended VoCALnation 2012 and SoJam X, and will be attending LAAF this weekend and BOSS 2013. Basically, she is willing to travel to see some great a cappella performing. She also has some videos and playlists up here.

Pat Holden has performed 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 chef at Trump National Golf Club. He is also the only one of us who can pull off a beard without looking ridiculous.

Heather Newkirk is a member of Syracuse University’s Main Squeeze, with whom she sings, arranges, percusses, and dances. Check out her doing most of these things at last year’s ICCA Quarterfinals right here.  She also tweets more than some nations. Follow her on Twitter here.

It is my hope that, in time, each will also contribute one or more substantive blog posts on anything related to a cappella which strikes their fancy. Yep, people still use that expression (apparently). For now, though, look for the AcaVids rotation to begin with yours truly next Monday, February 4, followed by Tara, Heather, and then Pat. We hope you enjoy this weekly change in voice (so to speak) and perspective.

We also have another new contributor who will provide periodic discussion and analysis on the availability and use of popular versions of a cappella music in a classroom setting.  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:  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 (

In other news, I hereby pledge to have at least 2 substantive posts of my own each month. My goal is to get one up every week, but life sometimes has a way of interrupting such goals. So, the best I can promise is 2 substantive posts a month, with occasional (or frequent) bonus posts. What can you expect with this increase in content? We’ve got more Spotlight segments on the way (not just with producers this time), more analysis, and more discussion. I hope you’ll check back periodically or follow the blog to see what’s going on.

There are a few other projects in the works for the blog which are very preliminary, but you can look for hints on those later this year (probably late spring).

Last, and I’m sure this will devastate some of you, we’ve got a new logo and/or banner on the way. I’m sure some of you have really enjoyed the cheap, crappy-looking pitchpipe .gif which we use as a twitter icon and the faded, distorted arrangement we use as the banner, but the time has come for a change. No timeline yet, but both are in the works for 2013 debuts.

I am thrilled and excited for these changes, and I am open to additional suggestions.

So, tell us…what kind of content would you like to see on Acatribe? As always, we welcome ideas either in the comments section or via email to or tweet us @acatribe.

Welcome to Tara, Pat, Heather, and Matt.

2013- here we come!

~Dave Bernstein