by Blair Baldwin
Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.
~ Nicholas Sparks The Last Song
Hello friends. For those of you who know me, you are probably quite surprised to see that I opted to quote Nicholas Sparks as the intro to this blog post. For those of you who don’t yet know me, I am Blair Baldwin and I am the Executive Producer for AcappellaFest. And while I am typically quite averse to girly romance novels, I felt like this quote accurately encompassed my feelings toward AcappellaFest (thanks mom for strong-arming me into reading the novel.)
In fact, I believe that we could substitute the phrase’a song’ with ‘a cappella’ and the statement would be all the more accurate. The ‘beginning’ — be it the first song in a set, your freshman year in a group, or your first time producing an event — is most certainly mysterious. There are a plethora of unknowns, and far more questions than there are answers. As a first-time producer of a CASA event, I can definitely vouch for that.
Sean Patrick Riley (our Social Media wunderkind) asked that I gear this entry toward my experiences as a virgin producer, and perhaps give a little insight as to what it’s like ‘behind the scenes.’ I’m not sure that I can fully divulge my producer experience, as it is still under construction. However, what I can say is that I have an unfettered confidence that AcappellaFest is going to be worthwhile, and then some. Our team is (and has been) hard at work making sure this weekend will be inspiring, intellectually stimulating, and flat-out mesmerizing. The festival big-shots (Sonos, Edge Effect, and Six Appeal) are all coming ready and armed with brand new sets, and the workshops promise to be challenging and engaging. Honestly, I’m still in awe of how the team has already managed to do so much.
Ten years ago, I went to SoJam with my group, The UNCG Sapphires. Words fail to describe the impact that it had on all of us. We learned, we bonded, and most importantly, we got better. We also continued to get better every year after that. As the EP of AcaFest, it is my sole desire to bring that same vigor, growth, and camaraderie to groups throughout the Midwest.
I can’t express enough how invaluable this experience will be. If you want to sound better, perform better, and gain the tools you need in order to be innovative, then this is your shot. I assure you that the confirmation will come afterward. This will be the single most important decision your group will make, and it will change you. How it changes you or your group is up to you. Make your commitment to a cappella worthwhile. Come to AcappellaFest.