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Artikel Tagged ‘EVA’

Join LEOsings in Freiburg, March 5th-8th!

by Florian Städtler, Chairman of the Board, European Voices Association


How do we sing in Europe? How do we teach singing? What do we sing?

From the insight that giving people the opportunity to meet peers from different cultures and countries helps to improve the quality and mutual understanding, experts from five countries and eight partners have joined in the two-year cooperation project “LEOsings!”.

After successful meetings in Barcelona (Spain), Aalborg (Denmark) and Tours (France), the fourth out of five project meetings will take place in Freiburg (Germany) from March 5th to 8th, 2015. This session is hosted by The European Voices Association (EVA) addressing the topic of “Cooperation an Networks in European Vocal Music”.

LEOSINGS (video : Les Loups Blancs) from Les Films du Loup Blanc on Vimeo.

EVA cordially invites choir conductors, arrangers, composers, singers, teachers and organizers from all over Europe to join the project partners’ representatives. The three-and-a-half days conference has three main themes:

  • What’s already out there? Analyzing the European vocal music infrastructure by best practice examples, musical presentations, expert panels and the collective building of a European vocal music map
  • What’s the challenge? What’s in it for me? Discussing the trials and tribulations, the joy and the satisfaction of singers, conductors and organizers in their everyday business as well as presenting a toolbox for vocal music activists
  • Shaping the future of European vocal music. Introducing innovative ways of singing together. Reviewing LEOsings and taking networking to the next level

EVA offers non-project partners to participate at the conference for a special fee of EUR 150 plus catering expenses. The fee includes all lectures, workshops and performances of the LEOsings session. On Saturday, 7th of March, we offer concert tickets to the album launch concert of one of the finest European jazz and pop choirs, Jazzchor Freiburg, conducted by Bertrand Gröger. (ticket price: EUR 20)

If you are interested in an intense experience and exchange with top vocal music teachers and organizers, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Just download the info and registration documents via EVA’s website and feel free to contact the following people if you have questions:

See you in Freiburg!


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LEOsings #1 Barcelona – Interview Jim Daus Hjernoe, pt.1

by Florian Städtler, European Voices Association (Chairman of the Board)

LEOsings is a European Union project exploring the “Diversity of Singing Practices in Europe”, which had its kick-off session in February 2014 in Barcelona. There will be a more detailed report about the project and opportunities to take part in the following sessions in Aalborg (May 2014), Tours (October 2014), Freiburg (March 2015) and Copenhagen (2015, tba). The most exciting piece of information is the fact, that the European Union potentially pays for travel and accomodation of the Aalborg, Tours and Copenhagen workshops, if you are/become an EVA member.

Which leads us to the second big news: You can now apply for the new EVA membership at the European Voices Association’s website. The new thing about becoming a member is, that there are customized membership benefit packages for singers, supporters, small and large vocal group and choirs. So don’t hesitate, become a part of the contemporary a cappella movement in Europe and profit from your membership package!

Talking of vocal music education and networking, you very often end up in Denmark. I had the pleasure to meet and talk to Jim Daus Hjernoe, professor at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Aalborg and while the other LEOsings participants went for tapas y vino, we met on the rooftop of our Barcelona hotel and in my hotel room to talk about the Danish vocal music scene, the Academy programs, Vocal Line and Jens Johansen. Enjoy the first half of the interview, the second one will be online soon here at Vocal Blog and on the EVA website.

I’m Florian Städtler, a cappella agent, blogger and event planner. If you are into a cappella and choir music, you might want to follow me on  Twitter or check out Vocal Blog’s Facebook fanpage and group. If you want to buy cds, dvds, sheet music and other cool stuff, visit And if you want to contribute, feel free to send me your news, links, videos etc. via This is a multi-author blog.

A Vocal Music Database Exchange Format

11. September 2013 Keine Kommentare

by Volker Bauer, A Cappella Online and Treasurer of The European Voices Association

Volker Bauer - business portrait


I’m dealing with vocal music related data for quite a while now. It started back in 2002 when I wrote a web based administration backend for CASA to maintain addresses, groups, memberships and the famous arrangement library, followed by a full integration of the website in 2004.

Main goal for me was to link as many information together instead of keying it in multiple times.

In the following years I developed this approach for my own website project ( also, in first place in my own PHP system, in 2007 replaced by a system based on Drupal.

The main challenges I faced every single time were the following:

1)    How to link what data together to avoid as much (inconsistent) data input and generate maximum value for the reader?

2)    How do I encourage groups and agencies to provide their data for my records?


For 1) it was beneficial that I’m writing software for ages and I know quite well how to normalize data to avoid redundancy. In addition I checked other websites with such information and analysed what were the missing pieces, pitfalls and other circumstances that makes is difficult to deal with the data.

Just two examples in the following:

-       if the group names are mentioned just in the description of the event, you cannot generate a list of concerts of that group.

-       if the location is not given, you cannot search for events in your region


For 2) it is important to understand that group already have a lot of places in the www they have to maintain. Think about the group’s website, Facebook, twitter, MySpace, YouTube and more. Why the heck should they key it in another time on my page??

I solved that problem in the beginning in way that needed a lot of individual programming: As in those days most of the websites were manually programmed and usually just having simple HTML structures, I wrote Site grabbing robots that visited the concert schedule pages of the groups, extracted the event data and pushed into my database.

As this approach was not maintainable with a growing number of Group Sites I decided to stop it when I moved to my Drupal driven page.

The now remaining argument (coming back to my initial question) why people should maintain data on my platform is: it has a high visibility in the scene and at Google and other search engines.


Having read this you may ask: “And?? What’s the problem of this guy now???”

I can tell you what it is: in our global world of the Internet nothing is local or regional anymore. People from the US and Asia are visiting European vocal festivals (and vice versa), groups touring worldwide, fans search for information more globally and much more. This means that the problem is not just how to convince people to key in data on the Website of vocal music in one (the home) country. In addition it is potentially worth to be present in the database of organizations representing the continent as well as global information stores for vocal music. (Honestly, this is not restricted to vocal music, but I personally will focus on it)


Status Quo

At the moment I’m designing the database and information store structures for EVA (european voices association), a non-profit organization to foster vocal music in Europe – see – and I see myself back facing my all-time favourite problems of data exchange as lined out above.

After thinking about it for a while I decided to do a 3 phase approach to nail it down:

1)    Write down the generic concept of a global data exchange format for vocal music data based on the analysis of needs in the user base

2)    Publish the concept and discuss it with organizations and website owners worldwide and finally decide on a format.

3)    implement it for EVA, potentially write data connectors/tools to be used by other website owners


Kicking Off Phase 1

What you usually do first when you start a software design is a stakeholder analysis to find out who is potentially interested the outcome of your project. If you are clear about your stakeholders, you get a much better view on the different angles the results will be looked at later and it helps you a lot during your requirement definition.

Let’s have a look at every single stakeholder to identify the expectation and derive the needs for the concept. I have focussed on mayor interests only to make the list not too long and too much diversified.

-       The Artist/Group

  • Wants to spread the word information and activities
  • Wants to find teachers and business partners

-       The Fan

  • Wants to get information about his favourite group
  • Wants to get information about activities in his area
  • Wants to get information about activities and groups when travelling
  • Wants to get information about organizations and festivals

-       The Teacher

  • Wants to spread the word about his offerings, skills and activities
  • Wants to get information about artists interested in his offering

-       The Company

  • Wants to spread the word about its offerings
  • Wants to get information about artists interested in its offering
  • Wants to get information about events to support, take part or offer services

-       The Organization

  • Wants to provide an as complete as possible view on their core interests in the area it covers
  • Wants to provide information beneficial to other stakeholders

-       The Media

  • Wants to get information about interesting activities to publish


If you drill those needs down you can see that the basics can be categorized into 2 types of information: Address and Calendar

Address Calendar
Group Information
Group Event Group Event
Teacher Information
Workshop Workshop
Booking Agency
Event/Group Management
Recording Studio
Equipment vendor
Festival Festival
  Media Appearance


Only the area of media (CDs/DVDs/MP3/…) is not represented in one of the 2 main buckets. In addition I have to say that fur sure the for example the group information consist of much more than the address, but the address is an important part.

If we have a look at the identified data blocks in the first go, it seems quite simple and straight forward. We can put them all in an address database and a calendar and we are done. But this is valid for the first look only. If you dig a bit deeper you can identify the 3rd important component needed: linking information.

What does it help if I have the group information and not having it linked to the concerts of the group? Would I have to key in the Group information for every single event? What does it help to have a festival listed and not being able to list the concerts and workshops during that Festival? Linking information is the key!

Below an exemplary link list between data objects:

Object Link Object
Artist/Group Represented by Booking Agent
Artist/Group Represented by Management
Concert Performed by Artist/Group
Concert Happens at Festival
Workshop Held by Teacher
Workshop Happens at Festival
CD/DVD Recorded by Artist/Group
Web Link Shows Artist/Group


With this information I’m able to design the basic data model with all the information to be exchanged, BUT:

The creation and transport of data is not the biggest challenge!

The biggest challenge in that environment is the definition of uniqueness and the so called “leading system”.

To illustrate the problem imagine the following situation:

There is a Group XYZ added into a database in the US. At the same time a group XYZ is added into a database in Europe. What defines the valid entry? Is that the same group or two different groups? In case it is the same group, what do we do if in both places changes were made? What change is the correct one? In case they are two different groups, how do we make sure that the events attached to the US group XYZ are not moved to the European XYZ when a data transfer of concerts between both databases takes place?

Honestly I haven’t found the golden bullet yet. There are multiple possibilities I will think through during the further development of the concept, just as a heads-up a few possible approaches:

-       One big global central database acting as the master and everything is added and edited there and just the output will be provided to the local databases.

-       Globally defined unique identifiers per database instance to identify the source of information and to make sure to update the right record

-       Clear matching criteria to identify duplicates. Clear process to handle those exceptions, like: no overwrite of duplicate and alert importing party about the duplicate.

-       Mark imported data (origin other than own data) as read only. Updates can only be made on the source side.

-       Enable the owner of information (e.g. the group) to decide what database holds their “master” of data.

Have one global database instance doing the importing, consolidating and data clensing. This database is used as the communication master (upload to master to this DB only, download to local DBs from this DB only)

-       The group(s) maintain the data on their own website, are able to provide the data in the exchange format (RSS newsfeed-like) and register this feed with all other databases (CASA, EVA, Festivals, … ) where they want this data to be present

Ok – let’s make it happen. This is definitely not a one man show. I see it as an effort of the community and I invite everybody interested to become a part of this journey. May it be as a contributor to the fields needed in the database, objects of interest I forgot to include. May it be as a potential stakeholder I missed and explain what you see as your explicit needs and benefits. I’m open to any comment, any help and support to make this happen.

I will now start writing down the object structures in detail as the basis for further discussion.

To summarize the advantages and benefits if we get this off the ground:

  • Maintain once, but be present in multiple places. Reduces a lot of effort for groups, artists, teachers, website owners
  • Exchange of information and datamining for the big organizations and websites. With this concept it is possible to generate the most complete data pool EVER for vocal music.
  • Useful information filtering or searching/finding as all data using this format have a guaranteed data quality and content. All interested people can search their area, their country or region.
  • Potentially also better usability across the participating platforms as with similar datastructure must likely the access to the data is comparable too.

All in all there are tons of benefits for all of us beeing in the vocal music scene and it will allow us to reach a level of service for the community we never had before (and maybe no other art form has).

Feel free to get in contact with me in case you want to comment, participate, help or just give some input to incorporate in this piece of work. You can reach me at



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European Voices Association Open for Membership Now

Press release by, as of May 24th, 2012

The recently founded European Voices Association (EVA), a cultural and educational non-profit organisation working for the development and exchange in vocal, a cappella and choral music, has announced that it is now open for membership application via the organisation’s website

Founded by vocal music activists from Sweden, France, Germany and Denmark, EVA has laid down its principles in the European Voices Manifesto, a document that was signed by more than 80 musicians, teachers, composers and non-profit organisers to create new opportunities for the growing vocal music community in the countries of the European Union.

“We want to make people aware of each other”, says Peder Karlsson, former member of the groundbreaking Swedish vocal group The Real Group, to describe the important role of international exchange, that is one part of the Manifesto. Karlsson (now headmaster of the vocal music online school “The Real Academy”) as well as Jim Daus Hjernoe, professor at the renowned Aalborg Conservatory in Denmark and Tilo Beckmann, vocal coach and founder of Germany’s first vocal group ever, 6-Zylinder, also stand for another central EVA goal: To improve musical education for vocal groups, choirs, composers and arrangers.

EVA kick-off meeting at Aarhus Vocal Festival, May 2011


EVA’s German Chairman of the Board, Florian Städtler, emphasizes the importance of teamwork and involvement of as many local, regional and national activists: “This organisation will have a decentral structure: The practical work like concerts, workshops, seminars and making music together will always be a local and regional thing.” Along with his board colleagues Peter Martin Jacob (Germany), Céline Morel (France) and Volker Bauer (Germany) he now hopes to “welcome members from all European Union member states” until the first annual meeting at The Real Group Festival in Stockholm (August 16-19, 2012)

“For an annual fee of 60 Euro, you can be part of a pioneering project, that will promote vocal music on three domains: Information, education and networking”, states Volker Bauer, EVA’s treasurer. Becoming a member is possible via the association’s website “Right now,” adds French festival organiser Céline Morel, “the organisation is young and has to develop programmes and growing benefit for its members: However, it’s vitally important that we get the support from new members now. And it’s so exciting to be part of such a groundbreaking international project.”

The fascinating variety and richness of the European festival scene has shown that bringing people from different cultures and with various musical background together can create a climate of creativity, tolerance, openness and understanding.The steady growth of the vocal music community seems to prove the fact, that singing is a basic human need.

“What’s more,” says Peder Karlsson: “Again and again I experience that singing in groups simply brings out the best in people.”


European Voices Association e.V.

c/o SpielPlanVier, Kartäuserstraße 14, 79102 Freiburg, Germany

phone: +49 761 38 94 74, e-mail:

6 Lessons from LACF 2012

by Florian Städtler on BA 753 from London Heathrow to Basel/Freiburg

London A Cappella Festival was a blast: A growing audience, a buzzing venue, an international line-up and an impressive number of vocal music movers and shakers from places as far as Taipeh, Toronto and Torino. The sheer joy of three days packed with concerts by some of the top artists of the genre, enthusiastic youngsters meeting the pros and the encounters with all those wonderful aca-family members rings on while the 2012 festival is over.

Any event that really meant something to us, leaves us with a kind of post-festival nostalgia, maybe a little hangover and the occasional farewell-miss-you-hope-to-see-you-all-again tweets and status updates. But it also leaves us with a lot of homework if we want to avoid telling this one favourite musicians’ lie: “Let’s do something together!” (The others are: “I’ll never drink again” – “I’ll give you the money back tomorrow” – “I really liked your solo” – “I’ll call you next week” etc.).  So here’s the lessons and the points of action that from my point of view will make London A Cappella Festival 2012 not only a temporary firework of musicality, expertise and camraderie but a step towards the development of our community including the occasional look outside the a cappella bubble, i.e. “the real world”:

  1. Education   There is an enormous demand from teachers, music teachers and even business consultants for tools that can help to improve music education as well as the development of social skills in all domains. Singing together is an immensely effective tool and our community has both the capability and the duty to make this tool accessible to as many people as possible.
  2. Face-to-Face Communication  The vocal music festival as a combination of concerts, educational events and social activities is the heart and soul of the community. It must be the goal to create ANNUAL events in as many countries, regions and cities as possible. And these events can start very small – it can take years to grow an audience, to find collaborators and to get heard in the media. Meeting people in person will always be the best, so bring on the a cappella events!
  3. Internationality   Our knowledge of how to improve and innovate is naturally limited. Some call it tunnel vision, some blame the daily grindstone. But only if we continually try to get a different, a somehow external perspective, we will truly improve and develop both the art form and the business models. We are lucky to already have established transcontinental communication and invitations, but now let’s turn it into concrete collaboration.
  4. Infrastructure   We now have three organisations covering Planet A Cappella: CASA (The Contemporary A Cappella Society) was founded on the US West Coast by the godfather of US vocal music, Deke Sharon in 1991. Due to 20 years of hard work and the latest mainstream media successes (Glee, Sing-Off, Straight No Chaser) CASA is stronger than ever and has developed attractive programs for approximately 600 members and 10.000 CASA account holders all over the US of A Cappella. Vocalasia was founded less than two years ago and their track record in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan is impressive to say the least. And by December 2012, EVA (The European Voices Association) has begun to work on the collaboration of existing organizations in more than 25 EU member countries. The first informal talks between the representatives of the organisations were very promising. They left us with the homework to make exchange of know-how and talent an ongoing, structured process.
  5. Out of the Comfort Zone   It’s quite cosy in the a cappella bubble, isn’t it? So full of festival-triggered endorphine, why would we want to change a thing at all? Let me tell you why: Because what we have seen yet, could be only the tip of the iceberg. What if Deke Sharon’s vision of an annual a cappella event “no farther than 2 hours drive from every US citizen” came true? What if Clare Chen‘s plan to open up the Chinese mainland market for international a cappella became reality? What if Peder Karlsson’s Real Academy was the vocal music educational web hub of Europe, Asia and the US? What if there was a single platform for worldwide a cappella resources and information? All these ideas are worthless….as long as we’re only talking about them. We need more people who really get things done. And getting things done means leaving the personal comfort zone: Raise money, cut red tape, lobby for your cause, make this unpleasant phone call.
  6. The Big Q was already mentioned above: A Cappella Coocoon vs. Dream of the Mainstream. As a cappella mentor Peder Karlsson said, “if you asked a taxi driver, he won’t be able to tell you the name of any vocal group”. Do we want this to change? Or would this destroy the a cappella family? And why not search for the Big A: The way to combine commercial success and community bliss? Let’s make this our common homework.

This blog post and

Deke’s “Tough Love” post has led to some interesting replies by peer bloggers, find the links to related articles here:

Jan 15 Vocal Blog – Florian Städtler „6 Lessons from LACF 2012“

Jan 16 CASA – Deke Sharon „Tough Love – Tough Market“ including comments by Peter Hollens, Willy Eteson, Florian Städtler

Jan 17 Vocal Blog – Florian Städtler “From Europe with (Tough) Love”  including comments by Mark Gregory, RJ Eckhart, Deke Sharon, Willy Etson

Jan 17 Acatribe – David Bernstein „Calling Out ‚Professional‘ Groups“

Jan 17 RJ A Cappella – Robert-Jon Eckhart „The Big Q“

Jan 19 CASA – Deke Sharon „So What Can I Do?“

Florian Städtler is founder Vocal Blog and Chairman of the European Voices Association. He can’t believe how quickly this blog has developed a following of wonderful, intelligent and nicely-smelling people. Thanks for sharing the greatest ideas and the latest aca-gossip with a growing number of vocal music enthusiasts. If you can’t get enough of this stuff and/or want to get in touch with almost 1000 a cappella buddies like Vocal Blog on Facebook. If you want to make us of Vocal Blog as a filter and aggregator of a cappella news, links, tipps and hilarious tweets, follow Vocal Blog on Twitter.

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If you like face-to-face communication (like 4-hour candle light dinners or after party allnighters), I agree: This is the best way to communicate. So let’s stay in touch via social media and meet in person when Vocal Blog goes on tour: See you in Stockholm!