Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A cappella Festivus

Turkey. Stuffing. Cranberries. Sweet Potatoes. Crazy Uncles…
Thanksgiving has arrived. The time when families gather in someone else’s home, criticize the wallpaper in the dining room, stuff themselves full, argue over the benefits of eating white or dark meat, provide ridiculous commentary to a muted football game, get into a deep-seeded rivalry over a board game that will eventually destroy relationships, and then leave to line up for the midnight opening of their favorite store on Black Friday, leaving the dishes and the mess in your capable hands.
You know. The good times.
Despite your feelings about Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays that follow, there is one holiday we tend to neglect every year, and it’s about time we recognize its importance.
I’m talking, of course, about Festivus.
You know. The holiday invented by George Costanza’s father on Seinfeld, that takes place on December 23rd. Traditions include the hanging of the Festivus pole, the traditional “airing of grievances,” the “feats of strength” demonstration, the easily achieved Festivus miracles, and finally, the Festivus meal of meatloaf and hip flasks.
Now for those of you who have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, that’s okay. You were probably too young to have seen this episode and/or some of you were not even born yet. Here’s the brief, brief, brief, brief history:
Seinfeld was a television show. It was really popular. One episode featured a fictional holiday called Festivus. The episode was watched by lots of people. Festivus suddenly became a practiced holiday. The end.
I began to wonder (as I always do)… with the holidays approaching, is there an a cappella holiday that we can create, like Festivus, that will take off and be celebrated all over the country?
From what I have gathered about Festivus, there seems to be six “key components” of inventing a new holiday:
1) A date to celebrate (December 23rd)
2) Decorations (Hanging the Festivus Pole)
3) A reason to celebrate (Airing of Grievances)
4) An activity to participate in (Feats of Strength)
5) A holiday backstory or myth (Festivus Miracles)
6) Something to eat (Meatloaf)
So let’s create our own a cappella holiday! And I shall call it…
So how do we celebrate “Acappellamas?”
1) Date of celebration
I proclaim December 14th to be Acappellamas, in honor of the first Sing-Off broadcast that aired on December 14th.
2) Decorations
A cappella is, of course, a form of music and obtaining music-themed decorations is very easy nowadays. But since A cappella is considered to be even geekier than singing in a choir, we need to make sure these decorations strike the right balance of musical sentiment and a complete lack of “coolness.” Here are some ideas:
Instead of a Christmas tree, we should hang the traditional music stand, complete with lights and a pitch pipe glued to the top.
Instead of a Menorah or Kwanzaa candles, we could go outside, light a campfire, and sing an a cappella version of Kum-ba-yah.
Instead of Mistletoe, let’s hang a small working model of “Audrey II” from Little Shop of Horrors (that plant can SING).
3) A reason to celebrate
As I stated before, the very first broadcast of the Sing-off aired on NBC, on this date. Perhaps you could gather with your friends and watch some of the old seasons on itunes, zune, or amazon video. Celebrate how the premiere of this wonderful show gave us hope that we may one day be taken seriously, even in a battle-to-the-death scenario.
4) An activity to participate in
Of course, this is the moment when I would start talking about circle songs and improvisation and blah blah blah…but that’s too easy. Let’s get really creative!
Instead of door-to-door caroling, try door-to-door riff-offs.
Instead of exchanging gifts, exchange arrangements.
Instead of waiting for Santa, wait for a chord to tune.
5) A holiday backstory or myth
The Acappellamas Poem
By Marc Silverberg
Twas the night before Acappellamas, the preparation had begun
My group was rehearsing “Some Nights” by F.U.N.
We practiced our vowels, our claps and our stamps
In hopes that we would become the ICCA champs.
The number was over, and we started to chat
Cause we realized we ended a step-and-a-half flat.
But just then a miracle took us by surprise
The magical Deke Sharon appeared before our very eyes.
He told us such stories of days long ago
And how he did not like, the syllables “Jen" and "Jo.”
His songs were so pretty, his VP was tight
He told us to stop singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
And then, just like that, he was gone in a flash
But his presence had made a really big splash
We practiced our hearts out, determined to excel
We busted out our mash-up, of Queen and Adele.
On “doo!” On “bop!” On “dee!” On “doh!”
And now switch to ooh, wop, zee, and oh!
And suddenly the music had a life of its own
We recorded ourselves on my brand new cell phone.
And we knew from now on, our group would be alright
So happy Acappellamas to all, and to all a good night!
6) Food.
Let’s be honest. The best food is usually what you eat during the breaks of your rehearsals. So let that be our celebratory food, which includes:
-Anything from a vending machine
-Fried, greasy foods from the food court
-Food you can order from Delivery
For the holiday, avoid eating/drinking the following foods/drinks:
-Dairy products
-Orange Juice
-Carbonated Soda
Have a happy Thanksgiving and prepare yourself to celebrate Acappellamas!
Marc Silverberg
Follow the Quest for the A cappella Major:

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