Monday, February 10, 2014

2 Years Young

The Quest is celebrating its second year anniversary today!
I am elated that this blog has gained support from readers and singers alike. As of today, the Quest has been viewed over 12,000 times. A popular a cappella site, Vocal Asia, is currently working on translating this blog into Chinese, for international distribution. The website,, is taking an inordinately large amount of time to develop (sorry…).
In what is sure to be known as the “most self-indulgent blog post of all time,” I’d like to list the top ten blog posts so far, based on the amount of reader responses. Why am I doing this? Because it’s my blog, and I can. So nyah nyah nyah.
10) Goofus and Gallant Return to the ICCA
The two boys who teach moral life lessons in the popular children’s magazine “Highlights” finally grow up and join a cappella groups, in what can only be described as the “dumbest fan-fiction ever written.” Goofus is clearly about to lose the ICCA and Gallant is clearly going to win.
“Whoops” moment- When I promoted this article on Facebook, I pluralized ICCA into ICCA’s. That would mean the event was actually called the International Championship of Collegiate A cappellas. Wrong.
9) A cappella Day and S.O.S
I’d like to believe this, and only this, was the sole reason the Sing-Off was saved from cancellation. I know it’s definitely not true, but it makes me sleep better at night.
“I failed” moment- I started a petition on to convince MENC (now NAfME) to declare December 14th “National A cappella day,” in concurrence with the first airing of the Sing-Off. It didn’t get enough signatures. And MENC changed it’s name, presumably to avoid me.
8) How To Compete in a Riff-Off, part 2
I really don’t know why this entry became 4 parts, but after watching Pitch Perfect, I knew the riff-off scene could, in theory, be duplicated to some extent. In this particular entry in the series, I talk a lot about theory.
“Bored in class” moment- I wrote this during a college class, in which I was really bored. The teacher didn’t seem to notice…or maybe he just didn’t care.
7) How To Compete in a Riff-Off, part 1
The one that started it all. Thanks to this post, I was able to teach these lessons at several CASA festivals, and the ACDA National Convention in 2013. When you read it, try to figure out where I am the angriest/most passionate. (Hint: It’s the part where I say WRONG in capital letters, multiple times in a row. Not my proudest moment.)
“Angry Reader” moment- This series of articles was written in response to a review of Pitch Perfect, where the interviewee stated that the “Riff-Off” scene was impossible to re-create.
6) What I learned from LAAF
This is the most recent blog post, but it exploded like a thousand fiery death stars of death. CASA festivals are where I got the idea for this blog, and they will always remain at the top of my “to-do” list.
“Duh” moment- I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner, but I plan to do this after every major CASA festival from now on.
5) Warm-ups are Always Picked Last For Dodgeball
In one of my earliest attempts to be funny, I tried to make the case for improvisation over traditional warm-ups. My view of this has changed dramatically since I wrote it, two years ago. I still maintain that improvisation is a crucial part for a balanced breakfast of singing, but traditional warm-ups help strengthen vocal skills and shouldn’t be ignored. Plus, I thought the “fat kid in dodgeball” reference reflected my horrible childhood.
“Typo” moment- I wasn’t proofreading these first posts. I was too eager to post them, and had too limited of time. The most common typo was when the computer corrected “your a cappella” with “you’re a cappella.” Stupid Microsoft.
4) How to Compete in A Riff-Off, part 3
I included this post in all of the bibliographies that I hand out during workshops, so it’s no wonder that this one is so popular. Either that, or people are really interested to learn about traditional music theory.
“Formatting” moment- Making these lists was horrible. Really, truly, utterly, horrible. I will never post something this detailed again.
3) Riffing about Riff-offs
Geez. Riff-offs are apparently popular for some reason.
“Sell Out” moment- My blog, at this time, was not getting a lot of hits, so I tried to up the readership by posting about a topic I already knew was popular. Devious, I know.
2) How to Compete in a Riff-Off, part 4
This is the post where I invented the rules of a Riff-Off. They are terrible and I wish I had thought more about them before posting. Please, for your own sake, make up your own rules.
“Get Out of Jail Free Card” moment- I knew these rules would create some controversy, so I included a rule at the end that said the host group had liberty to change the rules as they saw fit. That way, no one could yell at me that my rules were wrong. After all, no one had ever invented rules for a Riff-off before…
1) Mash-ups vs. Medleys
I’m really glad this post is getting as many views as it is. One of my biggest pet peeves in a cappella is when someone calls something a “medley” when it isn’t and when someone thinks a “mash-up” qualifies when a second song is merely “quoted.” It’s almost as bad as spelling a cappella like “acapella.”
“GLEE hates me” moment- I definitely thought I was going to get some backlash when I proclaimed that GLEE did not invent the term “mash-up.” I didn’t. Hooray!
My personal favorite:
The Completely Accurate History of A cappella
Man, I thought this was hilarious. No one else did.
Thank you for reading. You have made me the luckiest blogger on the face of the aca-blogs. More in store, I promise.
Marc Silverberg
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