It’s been one week since the [BOSS] Boston Sings a cappella festival and like all of the previous CASA festivals I’ve attended; I left feeling energized and inspired. The people in this community continue to impress me and I’m very lucky to have found a second family through Fermata Town within it. Last weekend marked the third festival that we’ve attended as a group and our second BOSS together. As we approach our fifth anniversary as a group later this summer, it’s safe to say that festivals like BOSS have helped us grow as well as network within the community. Two things we’re very thankful for.

If you missed it, here’s a quick recap from BOSS:

Friday – College Competition

The weekend kicked off with 4 collegiate groups competing for a spot to open up the Professional Showcase on Saturday night. An honor worth fighting for since our childhood idol, Rockapella, was headlining the evening. Ithacappella, FSU Reverb, a.squared and CCSU Acabelles took the Roxbury CC stage with four unique styles and sounds. There were no eliminations throughout the show, just a few themed rounds that the groups had to adhere by. Every group had to perform one song in the dark in the Lights Out round. Groups could then pick their other two songs for themed rounds ‘Turn the Beat Around’, ‘Find me in da club’, and ‘Free Bird’.

In the end, Reverb took home the first place honor after a moving performance that pushed the boundaries of contemporary a cappella. Ithacappella was named the runner up but may have been the big winner of the night because they ended up opening the show for Rockapella due to a previously scheduled Reverb booking with the NU Nor’Easters.

Both performances were amazing but the group that really turned some heads was a.squared and their looping system. They reminded me of Postyr Project meets One Direction and believe it or not, it worked… really well.

The college competition set the bar high for a great weekend to follow. Also, not to be over looked, the Highlands Voices HS group that hosted the night WAS AWESOME!

Saturday – Workshops/AcaBombs/CARA Banquet/Red Carpet/Professional Showcase

Talk about a jammed packed day of a cappella-goodness. The Saturday schedule at BOSS was non-stop for 16 hours but I’d have it no other way.

We kicked the day off with a Fermata Town masterclass run by Tom Anderson and Michael Eldredge. We’ve been pretty lucky with our clinicians so far at CASA festivals and they delivered again. We worked on our JT Pusher/That Girl medley and closed with a little bit of 101. Great session and start to the day.

At 10 AM I attended the workshop Say Something on Stage run by resident funny man, Scott Cobban on Five O’Clock Shadow. Lots of improv skits that I think will be helpful with witty banter at shows. At 11 I stopped in on Marc Silverberg’s CASA Workshop Leadership Training. It was fun to listen to the CASA Director of Education giving his formula for a successful workshop. Following this class, I had a great meeting of the minds with Marc and John Hazangeles from the Capital Hearings. We had a nice chat about CAL and CASA happenings.

For lunch, FTown walked down the street to grab a bite at Lily’s Gourmet Pasta. Earlier this month, Lily’s donated lunch for our music video shoot so we returned the favor and recommended their shop to the entire festival. Everybody wins!

After lunch it was time for a few FTown run workshops. First, Philipp and Katya ran ‘Art of the Cover’ in a standing room only crowd. Their audience was engaged and got to hear a surprise performance of Circus to close out the workshop. Right after their session, I ran the ‘A Cappella: After College & Beyond’ workshop, giving some tips and tricks for getting a post-collegiate group off the ground.

Following the workshop portion of the day, it was great to catch back-to-back Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) AcaBomb performances by Satellite Lane and Redline. Loved hearing some new music from both groups and being able to support our CAL buds.

There wasn’t much time before the CARA banquet started up so I shot over to Cyclorama where I was volunteering as the Door Man. I love this spot and will do it every year if the BOSS team will let me. It’s great to say hello and check everyone in for the CARA’s.  While the house was waiting to open the doors, I got to enjoy the sound check by The Rainbows. It was nice to hear our Harmony Sweepstakes friends again. We shared the 3rd Place honors together with them in 2013 Sweeps National Finals so it was very cool to see them continuing to do big things.

Once the doors were open and the crowd had arrived, the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARA) got underway, hosted by Amy ‘Bob’ Engelhardt. FTown was up for two CARA’s this year, nominated for Best Jazz Song (Twentysomething) and Best Contemporary A Cappella League (CAL) Song (Lonely Boy).  We were thrilled to win the Best CAL Song and found out later that we were the Runner Up for Best Jazz Song behind The Swingle Singers… so basically a win! It was such an honor to have been nominated again with so many amazing groups. I was also excited to be able to present the CARA for Best CAL Album and a big shout out to DeltaCappella for winning this year’s honor!

After the CARA’s, Fermata Town got to take a few pictures on the red carpet, including an awesome selfie with Michael Eldredge. We followed that up with an AcaBomb performance of our own which was so exciting.  We also love performing, especially in front of a community who appreciates and understands what goes into a performance.

Our friends, Sound Off, performed the final AcaBomb of the evening on the main stage. It was awesome to finally hear them live and we hope that we’ll be able to share a stage with them sometime soon!

The professional showcase kicked off with a two-song set by Ithacappella. Woah… these guys set the tone for the night. #hangingwiththepros

Next up, The Rainbows showed the CASA community that they can rock too! Was really fun for us to watch them in action again after getting to meet them last summer in San Francisco at Sweeps.

And then there was Rockapella. Everyone’s inner child was eagerly awaiting this show and they did not disappoint. They even performed the Carmen San Diego theme song and Zombie Jamboree with two of their original members as a final encore. It was a perfect way to cap the night.

BOSS 2014 certainly did not disappoint. We unfortunately were not able to attend the Sunday portion of the workshops because we were hosting the Boston Harmony Sweepstakes at Tufts but it was still an awesome weekend all-around.

Until next year, BOSS!

Dan Campagna Business Manager Fermata Town

CARAs 2014