Lots of vocal groups go to festivals with no opportunity to perform. Others enter competitions that are fun and rewarding but which require a ton of work and money with no tangible reward for winning. We (OneVoice) did both, and left feeling frustrated and kind of lost.
Then we went to SoJam, and everything changed.
After doing the education industry festivals and the a cappella competition circuit for a couple of years, I felt pretty disillusioned. The festivals were a good networking opportunity for me, but my kids didn’t get much out of them. The competition was a rush for the kids, but hugely expensive and ultimately a let down; inconsistent sound and judges unfortunately made the experience one neither I nor my kids wanted to repeat.
So when SoJam founder Dave Sperandio called and told me I *had* to bring my group to SoJam, I was more than a little skeptical. Ultimately though, my trust in Dave and my hope that there had to be something better out there for my needs and my kids made me decide to take the chance, make the investment, and make the long drive from Memphis to Durham.
That decision to attend SoJam may have been the most impactful of my career to date. What my kids and I found at SoJam was an amazing competition and pro concert with state of the art, professional sound and lights, super informative classes with industry experts who really cared about us as a group, and most of all: inspiration by the truckload.
I left my first SoJam with my head spinning with ideas, and my kids would not stop talking about the experience. I heard them planning all sorts of things on their own, as a result of what they saw, heard, and learned there. On the drive home I started to think about how some of my peers (and their kids!) might benefit from an experience like this, especially if it were more tailored to educators and included more high-school and middle-school-focused elements. Soon after, we participated in the Kettering AcaFest in Ohio (now an AEA sponsored event). It had great headliners, supportive performance opportunities, and transformative masterclasses. My wheels starting turning…
And thus, the National A Cappella Convention was born.
Our AEA team decided to create an event that took the great parts of events like SoJam, Kettering, and the a cappella competitions that were already established, add in more robust educational offerings and judging rubrics, an exhibit hall with industry pros, and provide groups an opportunity to compete or perform in front of their peers on a fully state of the art sound and lighting system managed by the best in the business. The result is a new spin on “conventions” themselves– as opposed to professional teacher conferences wherein student groups perform but only teachers attend sessions, NACC engages directors AND singers in a weekend of intensive learning and inspiration.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to ignite a fire under your group, come to NACC!