Why Matt Woodward is excited about LAAF:
I’m so freaking excited for LAAF. I’m more excited than a soccer mom at a mini-van sale. I’m excited because this is my first aca-fest outisde of the Barbershop Harmony Society. Most of those conventions are great fun, and I like being the youngest person there by 30 years. But I’m ready to move on to the wonders of the contemporary a cappella world! I have high hopes for this event! I want to meet EVERYONE and learn EVERYTHING! I want to stay up exhaustingly late singing tags and improvs with new and amazing people!
As a high school teacher, I want to learn new things and bring back some new tricks for my students. I believe that if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. Who better to learn from than a group like Duwende? Every time I listen to their “Collective” album, I cry a little at the pure genius and method pouring out of my speakers. I write all the arrangements for my students, so learning the finer points from Tom Anderson and his cronies will make everything we do less “high school” and more pro. I’m not a bass, but maybe if I go to Johanna Vinson’s masterclass, some of her bass will linger with me and make me a bass-bellowing human subwoofer.
While I have my soapbox, let’s talk about this collaborative recording thingy. Just reading the tweets from the CR at SoJam made me buy my VIP ticket for this event. Getting to watch, in person, the ridiculous talents of Duwende and Pentatonix creating music (AT THE SAME TIME) is enough to make me a better singer simply by osmosis. Do I want to do my own recordings? YES! Watching the wizards at Plaid Productions and Emerald City Productions work their magic should give me some great ideas to get started on my own, or realize there is no way I could ever do that and I should just pay people smarter than me for their services.
If you don’t know this about being a music professional yet, it’s all about who you know. The best thing about the contemporary aca-community is how kind and welcoming they all are. This event is going to be my best opportunity for networking into the bigger aca-world. I’ve already been talking with Robert Deitz, who has been nice enough to agree to meet with me to talk about a project with my students. If I get the chance to have five minutes with Pentatonix, I’m going to convince them to do a clinic with me at the Texas Music Educators conference to bring some aca-awareness to Texas. Selfishly, I also plan to hug Avi and steal some of the excess bass that falls out of his face like torrential rain from a hurricane.
Why wouldn’t you want to be here? Where else will you be? The Saints are out of the playoffs, so there is no reason to stay home making a gumbo. Don’t you want to be the best acapellaist on the planet? Come learn from the people that are already there! And if you find me, I’ll teach you a tag or two, and you can teach me how to inward snare without choking myself.
Matt Woodward is a choir director at MacArthur HS in San Antonio TX. He loves barbershop, cooking, ridiculously expensive high end home audio, and his smoking hot wife, BriAnne. Also, he can tie a real bow tie.
Find him on Twitter: @mwoodward710