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Home > Main > The SMAC Conference: Social Media Meets A Cappella

The SMAC Conference: Social Media Meets A Cappella

by Meg Alexander

SMACC is a three-day conference that fuses cutting edge media and evolutionary music. It hosts speakers from around the country who are building the foundations of a more connected world through their web based entrepreneurial endeavors. As society adapts to the digital revolution, it becomes ever more crucial for organizations and individuals to take advantage of emerging forms of communication. SMACC offers an opportunity to learn straight from the creators, how to best utilize these tools.

The SMACC team is comprised of students from Syracuse University and Rochester Institute of Technology a cappella, Public Relations, and Social Media organizations. These students have been working closely with Dave Sperandio and the CASA team, as well as Dave Longo from Sled Dog Studios, to develop an innovative, educational, and entertaining event.

Orange Appeal


The team is divided into two areas of expertise: social media, and a cappella. The a cappella team is a group of students who belong to groups on the two respective campuses. All of these groups (which include Eight Beat Measure, Groovestand, The Mandarins, and Orange Appeal) have established their reputation through ICCAs, various prestigious invitationals, and recognized albums. In fact, all 4 groups will be competing at ICCAs this year in the Mid-Atlantic region.

8 Beat Measure

The Mandarins

As a public relations student who loves a cappella and happens to want to be an event planner, I realized that there was a huge opportunity to combine these two innovative fields. Social media has the potential to launch a cappella even farther into the spotlight, to continue to propel the genre if used effectively. The principles that make social media so useful to a cappella make it essential for most small business or financially limited organizations to understand as well.

The history of a cappella music in the United States goes back about 100 years, with the founding of the Yale Whiffenpoofs in 1909. Since then, thousands of high school, collegiate, post-collegiate, and professional a cappella groups have sprung up across the US. A cappella music penetrated American popular culture in the 1980s, being featured in songs by The Nylons, Billy Joel, and Paul Simon. The 80s also brought the formation of possibly the most ubiquitous American a cappella group, Rockapella. The a cappella craze has slowly been building momentum since then, with the popularity of Boyz II Men in the 1990s and hit shows like Glee and The Sing-Off now in the 21st century. In addition, a cappella has produced some very famous alumni, such as singers Sara Bareilles and John Legend, and actors Peter Gallagher of “The O.C.” and Ed Helms of “The Office”.

A cappella, in the US, especially after this season of The Sing Off, has also grown in appeal, and is fascinating to people who may have previously never heard of it. Our team sees SMACC as an opportunity to help move a cappella forward by giving groups the tools to promote themselves, as well as an opportunity to bring the cutting edge of vocal music to the masses.

Our team is working to create an annual event that brings the international a cappella and social media scene to the Northeastern US.  It will be a weekend of innovation, collaboration, and creation with the opportunity to showcase the best of both fields.

The first conference will be April 1-3, 2011 in Syracuse, NY. For more information, visit

Are you into a cappella and interested in how you could use social media? Let us and the SMACC team know, what you want to find out and what should be discussed: Either here on the Blog or at SMACC. I’m looking forward about some enlightenment from singers 2.0!

If you are living in the German speaking countries, in France, Belgium or The Netherlands, you might be interested in Florian Städtler‘s seminar at the Kulturbörse Freiburg (also April 1-3) on the 1st of April, 11am Berlin time. The 2-hours workshop is called “Culture Marketing 2.0 – getting found by Google, Blogs & Social Media”. Check out anyway, it’s Europe’s leading meeting for music and stage productions, featuring more than 150 live showcases and an A Cappella Special with Acoustic Instinct, The Boxettes (German premiere) and Dutch vocal entertainment group Intrmzzo.

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