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21 February 2007 @ 10:38 pm
This will either be a huge success, or a massive failure.  
OK, so my online ventures have expanded to include MySpace and YouTube.  Both have gotten some attention, both have had people asking me who I am.  And I've designed my spaces on both in such a way that it's not really appropriate for me to answer.  My MySpace is for a cappella coaching, my YouTube is for a cappella videos.  My LiveJournal is for me.

So here's the deal.  I'm taking the basic idea from one of the latest Meme's, tearing away parts of it, and expanding on other parts.

"Interview me!"

This journal entry is all about me (as opposed to the rest of this LJ.  Well, ok, but this is a more compressed format).  If all goes according to plan, it'll be an evolving interview.  Feel free to use the comments on this entry to ask me anything you want to - much of the answers are likely to be found elsewhere in the LJ, but there's a few years' of entries to dig through, and I don't expect anybody to care about me that much.  I'm going to link to this entry from both MySpace and YouTube, so anybody from any source has the opportunity to find out who I am, and possibly glean from that why I do what I do.  It's like an interactive FAQ. 

For my part, I'll try to be as honest as I can in answering your questions, while respecting the privacy of anybody else involved, and the sensitivities of those who I know read this journal.  For yours, feel free to post from your LJ account - or not.  Feel free to sign your entry - or not.  Anonymity is fine by me.  I'm going under the assumption that most of the people who already read this journal will probably not have much to ask, and those who ask stuff are probably people I don't know.  If I'm wrong about that, however, feel free.  I didn't specify what kinds of questions you can ask.  Whatever you want to know.  Open forum.

.....aaaaaaaaaaand.....GO!
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
Idtechnomonkey on February 22nd, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, forgot to mention
There are a few subjects for which the question and/or answer may not be appropriate for prying eyes. If that's the case, I may hide or delete the sensitive entries. I'll try to reply in such a way that I can leave the reply up without the original question, but it may be that you post something and later find that it's gone. I sincerely apologize for that if it ends up happening, but hopefully it won't very often.
Idtechnomonkey on February 22nd, 2007 07:04 am (UTC)
YouTube username
I'll get things started:

"ChiroJoel?" Huh? Is that like, "cheer-o-Joel" or something?
Idtechnomonkey on February 22nd, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
Re: YouTube username
It's actually "chiro," as in "chiropractor." I'm currently in school to become one.
wings_on_waterwings_on_water on November 26th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC)
Hi! *waves* Um, I'm here from the link you put on your YouTube profile... because I was really curious about all the videos, and wanted to know something about the person putting them up. Doesn't look like there's been a whole lot of activity on that front, so here goes:

How did you get/why do you have so many acapella videos? What is your acapella/singing/music experience? If it's a looong story, I don't mind the short version. :)

Also, my mom is a chiropractor. Yay!
wings_on_waterwings_on_water on November 26th, 2007 07:57 am (UTC)
...or the long version. Whichever you want to post!
Idtechnomonkey on November 26th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
How'd I get so many videos?
It's surprisingly easy if you have a video camera and a lot of free time. (I've got the camera - the time is something I'm still working on. =) )

I go to a LOT of a cappella concerts in the Southern CA area, and I travel to them elsewhere when I can - which usually means ICCA shows in the Northern CA area. Last year, my wife was the ICCA West producer, which meant she had to be at every ICCA West show - and I was able to tag along, which is how I got the videos for all those ones. But for the most part, I check groups' websites and MySpaces on a regular basis to see when shows are coming up and I go when I can.

Making the vids is another matter - that part takes time. As of this writing, I'm eight concerts behind - I've got the tapes sitting and waiting for me to process 'em and put the vids up, but I'm also trying to survive in the "real world" (whatever that means). I go through 'em when I have the opportunity, and I'll get them up eventually, but I do hate being that far behind...
Idtechnomonkey on November 26th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
My a cappella / singing / music experience
Sadly, this is the short version:

Music:
Middle/High school: band (flute and trombone) and choir

Singing:
Early years: singing with my mother's barbershop chorus (Channelaire) and their kids' chorus (the Channel Heirs)
Middle/High school: choir
College: Concert Chorale (including a tour of Italy, during which we sang in several amazing places including the Vatican)
College: In the production of Pirates of Penzance, I had the esteemed role of Generic Policeman #4
Post college: Masters of Harmony Barbershop Chorus (I was with them as they took their fifth and sixth consecutive International Chorus Gold Medals)

A Cappella:
No personal singing experience, other than barbershop as noted above

Misc:
I've judged for ICCA Quarterfinals and Semifinals
My wife and I've coached several a cappella groups, including USC Reverse Osmosis, USC Troy Tones, CSUN Acasola, and Cal Poly Take it SLO
I've got a spiffy MySpace blog for groups to peruse for long-distance coaching
I'm "Dean of the College of Left Coast Studies" at the podcast A Cappella U (check out episode 13 for my thesis)
I'm a geek with a video camera.

And I think that's about it!
wings_on_waterwings_on_water on November 27th, 2007 07:08 am (UTC)
Re: My a cappella / singing / music experience
Hmmm, I'm curious - what does "coaching" an a cappella group involve? Is it a workshop-type thing?
Idtechnomonkey on November 27th, 2007 07:27 am (UTC)
Coaching
We've done three kinds of coaching sessions.

1: General concepts, one group. We do a workshop with a single group, using one or two songs as springboards to go over concepts and exercises that can be applied to the group's entire repetoire.

2: General concepts, multiple groups. Similar to 1, except we get to poll the other groups for opinions - it works very well and seems to build a great sense of camaraderie between the groups. Several members of different groups are good friends a year after we did this the first time.

3: Single group, specific songs. This is more rare for us, since we prefer to improve a group's level rather than improve a group's set. But if we're a week or two from an ICCA competition, it's worth making those twelve minutes as good as they can be, and figure out how to generalize the stuff later. =)
Idtechnomonkey on November 27th, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)
Oops, I lied.
We have one other kind of coaching session we've done.

#4: Concept meeting. Prior to meeting with the group, we passed a survey asking things like "who's your group's best soloist" and "what songs would you like to see added to your repetoire" and "what goals do you have for the group?" We took the names off of the papers, did some basic statistical analysis, and shared the results with the group. It helped solidify the group's direction for the year - they got a feel for who they were as a unit, and what that unit's goals were, and how they wanted to get the unit to achieve those goals. Setting all of that down on the table and getting the group to agree was a huge success, and helped them achieve pretty much every goal they said they wanted to accomplish that year.
Idtechnomonkey on November 26th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, and...
If you want to know how I got into the contemporary a cappella scene, just ask. =)
wings_on_waterwings_on_water on November 27th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
Re: Oh, and...
*ahem*

How did you get into the contemporary a cappella scene?

:D
Idtechnomonkey on November 27th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
How I got into the Contemporary A Cappella scene
That particular road is long and convoluted, so I'll try to just hit the highlights.

As with many people's, my Contemporary A Cappella story begins with "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" My brother and I found a love for Rockapella through that show, and we went to a concert of theirs in which the opening act was a group then called This Side Up.

We followed This Side Up through their name change to Spiralmouth. (several hundred albums later, I still feel strongly that Spiralmouth's is the best a cappella CD in my collection. If you haven't heard it, go to Amazon and buy it today. It's worth it.)

Spiralmouth was a guest at a concert hosted by USC SoCal VoCals, and my then-girlfriend (now-wife)'s roommate's boyfriend's roommate was in the VoCals at the time (I told you this was convoluted), so that couple was dragged to the show. Anne introduced Jen and I to the VoCals. We went to their CD Release party for V3, their third (and best IMHO) album, and were told about the ICCAs at that show.

The ICCA quarterfinals were at UCLA that year, and we were introduced to several groups that we've followed obsessively since: USC Reverse Osmosis, UCLA Awaken A Cappella, and UCSB Naked Voices.

RO in particular, we became scary-stalker-fans of. Eventually, we and Brendan (RO cofounder) started talking after shows and such, and Jen and I convinced him to let us coach the group. Lord knows how we managed that - we didn't know much of what we were doing back then. Still, it could have gone worse, and they were kind enough to invite us back. It took a year and a half, but we weren't in any hurry.

At that time, I was heavily in the barbershop world, and something happened in ICCAland. Specifically, they had a major computer crash and lost their entire database of judges. Competition season was coming up quick, and they were panicking, so they sent out a call for help to all the a cappella societies, including barbershop. Suddenly Jen and I were judging.

A couple of years ago, we were helping RO with the ICCA process (we coached them three or four times that year) when a judging SNAFU got them an invite to the ICCA finals. (The judges hadn't gotten back to their seats when the second act started so they didn't see RO's full set, and they couldn't honestly say whether RO would have taken 1st or not if they'd seen it) We convinced the group to let us tag along, and while we were there we met Amanda Grish, then-Executive Producer of the contest. Jen chatted her up, and talked her into a more serious conversation that later became a job offer, and suddenly Jen's the ICCA West Producer. (Sadly, her "real-world" job commitments have changed and she wasn't able to maintain the position this year, but that's a different story)

Meanwhile, I bought a video camera. I specifically did that for ICCA finals that year (2006), and have been camera-happy ever since. Well, I guess to be fair, I was camera-happy with my digital still-camera long before I got a video camera, but I've found my interest in still frames to have waned since I discovered the wonders of multimedia.

Anyway, that's about it. The past twelve months have included coaching several groups that we hadn't had the opportunity to work with previously, which we love. We buy far more CDs than could possibly be healthy for our budget. We're basically big geeks who have found a niche that we love.

And yes, that's the short version.
wings_on_waterwings_on_water on November 28th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
Re: How I got into the Contemporary A Cappella scene
Yay! That sounds awesome. I never even knew there was a contemporary a cappella genre before this! But it certainly makes sense. Personally, I love listening to and singing a cappella music, though I've never been really seriously into it, and I've only sung in more traditional choirs. My favorite group in the whole universe is Rajaton, a six-person group from Finland. They're pretty famous in their home country, I take it, though they're starting to make a name for themselves in Canada (I have no idea about the US). Anyway, I'll have to investigate some of the groups you've mentioned, and find some time to view more of your YouTube videos!
Idtechnomonkey on November 26th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Hi back atcha!
And hi to your mom the chiropractor as well! =)
(Deleted comment)
Idtechnomonkey on December 4th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
Please don't think I'm ignoring you.
I want to give your question the full answer it deserves, with links and such. Unfortunately, I am vacationing out of state at the moment, so I don't have access to my bookmarks or CD collection, nor do I have the time to dedicate to it right now. I'll give you a brief preview off the top of my head if you want to look it up yourself, though:

Spiralmouth (self-titled) - far and away the best a cappella CD I own. Professional, mixed group that sadly isn't doing nearly as much together as they used to. They did the soundtrack to the video game "Crash Twinsanity," though - and the entire soundtrack can be downloaded online for free if you care about a cappella video game music.

USC Reverse Osmosis. One of my favorite groups live, they do a decent job of translating their sound and energy to their CDs. My favorites are their latest, self-titled album and their third, titled "50 Million RO Fans Can't Be Wrong." Both can be previewed and downloaded on iTunes.

USC SoCal VoCals. Their sound is consistent, and their latest three albums are all great. My favorite is "v3: Previously Unreleased," but anything since then is a safe bet.

UO Divisi. All-women collegiate a cappella. Both of their CDs are great, but my preference is their first, "Red Hot."

For a change of pace, I recommend Sixth Wave's first album. They're a professional mixed jazz group, and they're great.

Moosebutter's first album has a few of my favorite comedy a cappella tracks, but if you really want a comedic treat, get all three CDs from Da Vinci's Notebook.

Similarly, The Ex-Boyfriends' second album is one of my favorites as well.

If you want a solid selection of stuff to peruse, I highly recommend the BOCA (Best of Collegiate A Cappella) series, of which there've been new additions every year for the past ten or twelve. "Voices Only" albums are also great, as are the "Sing" series.

Oh, and you should definitely check out the three a-cappella podcasts available. My favorite is A Cappella U, but it hasn't had a new episode in a couple months, so we're not entirely sure if it still exists. Second to that is The Acapodcast, and third is CASA's A Cappella Originals. Be warned, though: listening to these podcasts can be dangerous to your wallet, as you'll find all sorts of new groups whose CDs you want to buy.


That's enough to get you started, I think. Check around a-cappella.com and acatunes for some ideas on what and where to buy. I'll update with links and possibly more ideas when I get home...
Annasomewhat_amused on February 8th, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
so I stumbled upon your youtube videos while "doing homework" and I just have to say that you have the most incredible collection!

if you happen to have a free moment, perhaps you could check out my school's a cappella group - Syncopation... http://youtube.com/watch?v=tYSAHedN9sA and http://youtube.com/watch?v=kH6vq_xhpwo (these aren't mine by the way)

it's actually last year's group, and it's only the six guys, but amazing nevertheless. I really wish there were more videos, especially of the full group, but these are the only ones to make it online apparently.
Idtechnomonkey on February 8th, 2008 07:17 am (UTC)
Nice!
I tried to do a search, but "Syncopation" and "a cappella" seem to go together fairly regularly in Googleland. So instead of cheating, I'll just ask - what school is the group from? Have they a website or MySpace? =)
Annasomewhat_amused on February 8th, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Nice!
oh sorry haha forgot to mention that... it's Plano West Senior High

you know I've actually never thought to look to see if they had a myspace, and they do! http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=142253240 but once again, it's last year's group... apparently whoever made it hasn't updated it in ages. the band site listed doesn't work...