Quality Vocal Arrangements For Contemporary A Cappella
Contemporary a cappella singing is a hobby of mine. I was weaned on barbershop quartet music - my dad was involved with SPEBSQSA (now the Barbershop Harmony Society) as a singer, arranger, judge, and coach long before I was around. When I went to college, I sang in a 50's doo wop group that, during my tenure as director, branched out into contemporary a cappella music. This was back in the early 90's, when groups like Rockapella, The Bobs, The Nylons, The Blenders, and Take 6 were blazing trails in "rock bands without instruments" performances.
During my days at Penn State, I primarily sang with The Dreamers of Phi Mu Alpha, but I did short stints with several other groups on campus, including The Pennharmonics. The Dreamers was the first a cappella group on campus - founded in 1989 by Kevin McMahon, who now sings with the Voices of Liberty and the Dapper Dans at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Kevin brought his love of close harmony singing to the brothers of the Alpha Zeta chapter, and they in turn spread that love across campus by founding several other a cappella groups.
Shawn Pearce, a Phi Mu Alpha brother who sang with The Dreamers, was directly involved in either co-founding or singing as a charter member of nearly every a cappella group that has had longevity on campus. He was a founding member of None Of The Above, a co-founder and former director of The Pennharmonics, founder and former director of The Grace Notes Christian a cappella group, a member of several pick-up groups over the years, most notably Section 8, Gin n Tonix, and The A Cappella Project. He really is Penn State's "Godfather of a cappella" and for his proliferation of a cappella singing across campus, he was given the fraternal nickname "Kingpin" by the brothers of Alpha Zeta Chapter.
Over the course of his time at Penn State, Shawn not only started and sang in groups, he also became involved with the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) as a reviewer for the CARA awards, regional coordinator for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) competitions, and also led The Dreamers to the semi-final round of the ICCA's in 1998. While doing all of this great work, Shawn also became a very accomplished arranger of a cappella charts. He has over 200 arrangements he has created for all manner of a cappella group: all-male, all-female, co-ed, quartets, sextets, large ensembles, contemporary Christian, and more.
A Logical Progression Of A Lifetime Passion
At the beginning of April 2011, Shawn opened the doors on Value Vocals, a website dedicated to "quality a cappella arrangements at affordable prices for any group's budget." Shawn understands not only the music theory, vocal ranges, and idiosyncrasies of contemporary a cappella singing; he also has a firm grasp of what is easy to perform and what is challenging. He is able to tailor his arrangements to a young formative group that is still learning the art form or to semi-professional groups capable of more layered independent writing.
Value Vocals features custom arrangements that are tailored to the specific strengths, weaknesses, and needs of any kind of a cappella group. Shawn's pricing is created with the collegiate a cappella group in mind, knowing that most collegiate groups are student-led organizations with limited budgets. For groups just starting out, or for high-achieving groups that want a specific musical effect, Shawn's custom arrangements grant that personal touch.
In addition to the custom arranging, Value Vocals has an arrangement catalogue of the best of Shawn's work with collegiate a cappella over the past twenty years. I am quite familiar with most of this library from our days together at Penn State, and I can honestly say that there is some fantastic stuff in the vaults here. One of the most effective a cappella arrangements I have ever heard is Shawn's arrangements of Verve Pipe's The Freshman - highly recommended.
Value Vocals also offers several free arrangements that showcase some of the most solid, singable arrangements in the library.
Finally, Shawn is writing some great articles on his blog about all things a cappella related, including a video of the week and a running commentary on episodes of Glee and the upcoming season three of The Sing-Off.
An Example Of An Arrangement From Value Vocals
This is Shawn's arrangement of Wild at Heart originally performed by Glorianna. This performance is by The Pennharmonics from Penn State University
April 2011 Special Offer
As part of his grand opening, Shawn is offering one free catalog arrangement (a $15 value) with every custom arrangement order. If you mention that you found out about Value Vocals by reading this review, he might just cut you a special deal as well - just tell him Tom sent you! Contact Value Vocals for details.
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