The Magnets - tickets now available

Tickets for our workshop day with The Magnets on Sunday 29th April 2013 are now available.  See http://singacappella.org/magnets for further details.

Review: Sing a cappella's Jonathan Rathbone workshop

Lee Robinson of Take Twenty writes: Those who didn’t come along to the Sing a Cappella Jonathan Rathbone workshop at the end of October will (or should be) kicking themselves for having missed something special. For Jonathan proved to be as excellent a leader as he is an arranger. Noted in the a cappella community for his work done for The Swingle Singers, taking in everything ‘from Berlin to Bach’, he started the day as he ended it: offering insight and expertise, delivered with warmth and generous smatterings of twinkling-eyed humour.

The obligatory warm-up not only did the job vocally but brightened our moods before launching into the hard work of the day: focussing on Jonathan’s arrangement of Queen’s Love of my Life. Jonathan’s approach was gratifyingly thorough, with lots of emphasis on those technical-stylistic aspects (tuning, blend, dynamics, vocal quality, rhythm and feel) that can transform a performance from a competent into a moving, nuanced one. Hard work indeed, but well worth the effort.

Having rehearsal MP3s supplied in advance was a help and very much appreciated. However, I personally found their pace too rapid and, as it turns out, at variance with how we ended up doing the song it on the day (much more slowly and soulfully). Unfortunately part-voice files (ie: those featuring sop, alto, tenor and bass lines) didn’t work terribly well for me either, as the backings seemed rather loud, making it difficult for me to to pick my part out.

Still, a minor quibble in what was all in all a great day. Also, excellent value for money – so thank you, Sing a-cappella!, for that too!

Pitch Perfect?

Pitch PerfectI was fortunate to be given tickets for a preview of Pitch Perfect, the highly acclaimed film based on the American Inter Collegiate a cappella competitions (ICCAs). It took a light hearted look at the relationships that developed when Beca, played by Anna Kendrick, joined her new college, under parental insistence, and visited the "Freshers Fair" hoping to find a group to develop her interest in becoming a DJ. When she is approached to join the all girl a cappella group, The Barden Bellas, she pretends that she cannot sing to avoid the approaches of the very intensive recruitment team, Aubrey and Chloe. Of course there would have been no story if Beca had not been overheard singing in the showers, found out to have a beautiful voice and enrolled into the group. 

I really enjoyed the film which had some amusing dialogue between the two commentators of the TV broadcast team and some interesting relationships developing between a cast of difficult and somewhat stereotyped personalities including the arrogant male leader of the boys group and the lovely " Fat Amy." Then of course there was the inevitable competition between the boys and girls groups and of course the developing love interests. There was plenty of good a cappella singing with some clever over dubbing to give the girl groups some amazing bass sounds! Maybe they will release the songs from the soundtrack which were mostly arranged by Deke Sharon.

The film is based on Mickey Rapkin's non fiction book Pitch Perfect.

From my point of view, as an a cappella nut, it was well worth seeing and I think you should all look out for it when it goes on general release in the UK on December 21st.

Jean Digby

Meet our Honorary President: Suzi Digby

Suzi Digby - our honorary president

Incredibly passionate about singing, both from a musical perspective and for its ability to transform lives, Suzi has an international reputation as a choral director and conductor.

In 1993 Suzi founded the Voices Foundation. Working in infant and primary schools in deprived areas throughout England and Wales, the Foundation aims to transform children and the ethos of schools through singing, helping children socially, emotionally and intellectually. Also reaching out to schools internationally, close to one million children have benefited from the scheme.

Suzi also founded the chamber choir Voce in 2003. Comprising experienced singers in their twenties and thirties, they perform frequent concerts and tour abroad regularly. With a very high standard expected of her singers, she aims for Voce to become one of the finest chamber choirs in Britain and they are already well on their way.

In 2007 Suzi received the OBE for services to music education. In 2008 she acted as a judge on the BBC show Last Choir Standing, and in 2009 Suzi accepted the position of Honorary President of Sing a cappella!, the British contemporary a cappella society.

The Voice Festival UK 2012: Youth competition and university finals

Young competitive singers give it their all: the future of a cappella is bright!

If the event at the Barbican on March 10th is anything to go by, a cappella harmony is the next big phenomenon – and it's coming to a town near you! As groups from all over the UK converged on the City of London School for Girls, for both the well established University finals, and the Youth competition, it was a day of amazing moments – dazzling performances, crazy choreography, fabulous arrangements and, of course, great singing.

Introducing our national executive

The Singacappella Executive in 2009

11 October 2009. This will be remembered as an historic date for Sing a cappella! - and not just because of the retro numeric progression of 11/10/09! On this auspicious date the inaugural General Meeting was held in the boardroom of The Betjeman Arms at St Pancras International station.

A constitution was adopted and a National Executive Committee elected: Jean Digby as Chairman; Bob Bissett, Treasurer; Tom Digby, General Secretary; Belinda Magee, Membership Secretary; Cathy Davies, Events Co-ordinator; Ian Tolley, Website Manager and Kate Bissett, Minutes Secretary. All were current members of the steering group. One vacancy was left unfilled – that of Public Relations & Marketing Officer. If there’s anyone out there who might be interested in filling this important role, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can let you have a job description.

Suzi Digby (no relation – honest!) was adopted as our Honorary President by a unanimous vote.

A motion resolved that individual membership subscriptions would be fixed for the year to the date of the first AGM in October 2010. The rate would be £5, but discounts would be offered against future events to those who subscribe. One of our members present at the meeting, Mick Kett, using his experience as Director of Membership Development of BABS (British Association of Barbershop Singers) made some useful suggestions about membership services. At a meeting of the newly elected National Executive immediately following this General Meeting, a possible scheme for group membership was discussed. A proposal will be put to affiliates before the first AGM in October 2010.

Also at this National Executive meeting, it was resolved to co-opt David Robertson of Serenata as an ordinary member of the NEC.

Update: During 2010, David Robertson left the NEC and was replaced by Angela Evans of Vox Concordia. In 2011 we eventually found someone – for the first time –who would take on the role of PR & Marketing. (Hooray!) Jill Barnes from Just A Cappella had her first NEC meeting on 20 March. So we grew to nine members, representing five a cappella groups.

The Voice Festival UK - FINAL

The Voice Festival UK returns to London on 10th March! Having toured around the UK during February and March, the Voice Festival UK now returns to the capital,

The story so far ...

On 27 January 2008 six groups of a cappella singers (96 singers in total) from varying musical styles came together for a day festival of quality coaching, and singing to each other. They enjoyed the experience so much that it was agreed that a British a cappella organisation should be brought into existence so that there could be more of the same! Since then, two more festivals have been organised, the latest on 7 March 2010.

This website is being developed to serve Sing a cappella! – the name adopted for the new society at the inaugural general meeting in October 2009. We also adopted a constitution and elected the first national executive committee at that meeting.

The society's aim is to support groups singing in harmony and singing predominantly a cappella, from duets through to large choirs and choruses. We hope that Sing a Cappella! will be of particular appeal to those groups or musical styles for which there is no support organisation currently in existence. Barbershop choruses and quartets have their own associations in the UK which offer all this and more for them. College groups are similarly supported by The Voice Festival UK.

The initial challenge continues, ie. to discover just who is out there singing a cappella either in mixed voice groups or in all men or all women groups around the UK. No-one really knows. We had 37 groups affiliate to us early on, but we suspect that it's just the tip of the iceberg.

We also have had a scheme for Individual Membership since the beginning, but at our first AGM in October 2010 we also introduced a scheme of Group Membership, whereby both the group and all of its singers are members . The drop downs from ' Join' in the main menu of the site will take you to the membership area, where you'll find a full description of benefits and costs.

Alongside the October 2010 AGM, we introduced a different kind of workshop which was based on the individual rather than on singing groups. We all enjoyed Suzi Digby's enthusiasm and expertise and, by sheer co-incidence of course, it also provided us with a well attended first AGM!

Wall of sound harmony group

Hosted by Renown voice coach Joshua Alamu and singer songwriter Sam Walton. The wall of sound harmony group are a bunch of singers from all walks of life- doctors, teachers, students, physiologists etc- that meet every Monday night at 8pm in West Hampstead for the sake of learning interesting repertoire and developing an ear for harmonies. The ultimate aim is to have enough songs together in order to perform live regularly as a group.

Coaching and arrangement for the group is by Sam and Josh. We sing a range of genres from jazz to soul, gospel and folk. We're looking for 2-3 additions to our group and would particularly welcome male voices.

Fees: £60.00 for four weeks (£15.00 per week) or £20 per workshop.
Options to pay as you go or to buy a block of four weeks for a discounted price.

Contact Name: Elaine - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07956130006 for more details (or see http://madaboutthevoice.com/JoshuaAlamu/WALL-OF-SOUND.html.

Our mission and aims

OUR MISSION

Sing a cappella! exists to bring people together in harmony, to enrich lives through contemporary a cappella singing, and to educate both the public and singers in the a cappella art form.

We aim to serve and inspire the UK a cappella community involved in performing contemporary unacompanied vocal music, whatever their style.

OUR CONSTITUTION

If you would like to see this, and/or print a copy, please click here.

WEBSITE

We have built a central point on the Sing A Cappella! website for supplying information about, and discussion of, new music; legal matters; performing rights; constitutions and other organisational support; insurance deals; singers wanted; choral groups wanted; publicity materials; recordings; coaches available/wanted; and similar matters. Support there also take the form of databases of affiliated and member groups, of arrangers and coaches, all with contact details. Another important area is offering assistance with musically related IT problems, including music notation software and learning aids using computers. There is a full communications facility within the Members' area of the site for open discussion between all members and for private discussion within member groups.

EVENTS

We want to organise more events like the very successful workshops we have already organised since 2008, and help groups to organise similar events in their locality. We plan to offer reduced rates for members. On the Members' Home page of this website we have a poll which we'd like you to consider completing. This will help us plan for the future.

If this sounds like an organisation you'd like to be part of, either find out more at Join on this website or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or, if enquiring about individual or group membership, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Swedish Smorgasbord - deluxe!

Some Sing a cappella! members attended the most fantastic workshop on Sunday 9 May, organised by The Voice Festival UK and The London a Cappella Festival. For those of you that missed the Real Group workshop in Hammersmith, here is a review by Lee Robinson, who is a member of Sing a Cappella affiliate group Take Twenty. Four members of the Sing a cappella! NEC were also there, and stayed to watch the Real Group coach another affiliate group, In the Smoke.

The launch of Sing a cappella!

On March 29th 2009, Heathrow’s Concorde Club saw the inaugural event of this brand new society for a cappella singers. As was pointed out by one of the participants – ‘we now have lift off!’ For a longer description of the 2009 Sing a cappella! workshop day, click here.

Besides bringing together all types of a cappella groups to share and enjoy this special performing art, another objective of the steering committee was to make this workshop day a launch pad for the new society. We hope to go on to facilitate similar, more extensive events, and provide a forum for all aspects of a cappella singing. We have had messages of encouragement from Suzi Digby, Gareth Malone, Ben Parry and Michael Welton on behalf of The Magnets, and the committee is now planning the next event for Autumn 2010.