Hooked on “Booked”: How an A Cappella Show Could Be one of the Greatest Performances of your Life

The Pitchforks ICCA 2016

Booked: Gammage’s Hit A Cappella show.

How an A Cappella Show Could Be one of the Greatest Performances of your Life

by Monica Sampson


This past week, I had the amazing opportunity as a co-host for Blaze Radio’s A Cappella show, “Mojo in the Morning,” to go behind the scenes of the the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella 2016 Southwest Quarterfinal or “ICCA.”

I know what you’re thinking. An A Cappella concert, how lame—if I wanted to watch Glee I’d stay at home. The truth is, you’re wrong. Sure, I’m biased; I love accapella, It’s musically incredible and a true genius to make, sing, and produce.

Beyond that, however, the brilliance of A Cappella comes out in a live A Cappella show and for ICCA I was able to sit for some of the most entertaining 3 hours of my life and watch 10 A Cappella groups from all over Arizona preform.

Now, after my experience I can promise you, if you ever get the chance to go to a live A Cappella show it will be the best concert experience of you life and here’s why.

It’s the best live music you will ever hear.

The reason that A Cappella is such a different category of music is because of how it’s presented, performed and arranged. In case you didn’t know, A Cappella is music that is done without any added percussion, instruments, or music tech. It’s all on the vocalists, and this is where A Cappella shines. Being at an A Cappella show means all the riffs, all the belts, and all the base you hear in a song are real and live. In our technical age, it’s hard to know if an artist is lip singing or if everything you hear is a backtrack. With A Cappella, I got to feel the music. I saw the artists really performing their craft.

It’s a 3 for 1 deal.

After the show, I was describing to a friend how I really loved the choreography from one of the pieces. This friend was confused: “Why do they have dancing on stage?” he questioned.

Well, my friends, that’s the beauty of a live A Cappella performance. It’s not only a single concert performance, it’s a dance show and a broadway musical all in one. A Cappella is about telling stories with your voice; it’s music at its highest point, and with that comes the chance to see songs acted out like in an amazing Vegas show only with no fluff just raw talent.

You can hear a bunch of artists you love.

With the ICCA competition came traditional A Cappella pop covers, but artists got to perform anything from Sia’s “Chandelier,” “Smells like Teen Spirit,” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” With one ticket, I was transported to many different concerts without ever leaving my plush Gammage seat. A Cappella is all about showing off amazing vocal qualities, so the artists work to find pieces with great technical components. As an audience, this allows you to experience so many different genres. It’s the amazing win-win of A Cappella.

The environment is unlike anything else.

Because the music is live, the passion the groups felt was passed on through the audience. I know that sounds silly, when many of us have seen pre-choreographed high-tech shows where it’s easy to sit back and enjoy knowing that you’re in for a performance. With A Cappella, the energy is live and hot. Anything could happen as we watch vocalists make their magic right in front of us and the audience gets in on it. Many A Cappella groups had moments with the audience, winked, and engaged in the performer/audience play. At every intermission, all I could do was wait for the show to start again.

It’s fun!

Where else could you see 15 sexy men in bow ties grind to a pop song and then do a Mariah Carey style riff all while having spot on vocals and entertainment shows? If anyone is hesitant to go to an A Cappella show, I encourage you to watch a video A Cappella groups perform on YouTube, or Pateron. You can see the culture of A Cappella come out with each performance, and it’s hard to deny the enjoyment felt in the audience and by the performers.

Priority Male ICCA 2016

Writer’s note: The spelling of A Cappella is a highly debated topic among the community. The spelling for this piece was chosen because it is the spelling used by the  International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.