Bolder A Cappella
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Clear DayHere's a salute to community a cappella in Colorado:Bolder* A Cappella arranged its first 'club' appearance by a resident Colorado group on January 30, 2001. The relatively new Boulder jazz club, EnVie, had become well known by then and was open to a "new idea" for its entertainment roster. A series of semi-weekly a cappella groups was arranged and opening night drew near. Two days before, the club operator was shut down due to overdue lease payments and that was the quick end of what seemed so promising.Actually the club operator appealed to the property owner and was permitted to stay open one more night so our a cappella fans could be satisfied. It was an evening of mixed emotions featuring a great group called Storm Front and a packed house of soon to be disappointed a cappella fans. Two months before, the California group SoVoSo had appeared there at a concert afterglow sponsored by the Colorado Vocal Jazz Society; that's when the Bolder A Cappella idea was born.After scouring the Boulder night life scene rather desperately for a replacement venue, the series was reincarnated at a popular brewhouse and restaurant called Redfish, just off the Pearl Street Mall. That was April 6, 2001 and it's lived at this very hospitable spot ever since, thanks in part to efforts by CVJS, who provide its modest promotional expenses, thanks to the granddaddy of all Colorado pop a cappella groups, the Wizards.**That's seventy-six Monday evening two-show programs in the ensuing four plus years. These have featured 32 different groups, almost all from Colorado. In that time almost 7,000 patrons have been on hand to hear about 120 hours of contemporary a cappella. Okay, so that's a really small crowd at the 'Can',*** but, for a town like Boulder, it's probably something of a record.The groups have all been paid for their appearances, with the club footing the bill, thereby requiring no cover and no minimum for the attendees. Performance fees have steadily increased, offered by Redfish owner Steve Shenk, who has always had a hidden affinity for a cappella that permits him to take chances that he'll come out alright in the long run. It has probably become a labor of love, since Bolder A Cappella has had its packed houses -- and sometimes, its rather disappointing turnouts.It's always family night in the very accommodating "music room" beyond the long bar, with kids and their parents, college students, and adults of all ages on hand, depending on the group performing. Steve's very accommodating staff have assiduously monitored the attendees, with no "inappropriate refreshment" incident ever appearing. The groups gain performing experience, increase followings and make a reasonable fee for themselves as they provide Boulder with yet another of its eclectic offerings in the entertainment scene.It's quite likely when fall of 2000 rolls around and Coloradans begin coming back indoors, another series of six 2-show evenings will again be added to the Redfish entertainment-every-night schedule. And a winter and spring series will likely follow. A lot of Denver Metro folks hope that will happen -- and so do a score of groups eager to try out next season's new arrangements, recently replaced vocalists and improved presentation ideas. Fans will show up; we're sure of that.A Cappella is very alive here.
* Yes, it's "Bolder," honestly stolen from the world famous 10k race as a tribute to its challenge to the enthusiasts who participate in a cherished activity.
** The Wizards are the "New Wizard Oil Combination," who form most of the board of the tax exempt Colorado Vocal Jazz Society and serve up some of their modest gig money to cover BAC mailings and other promotional costs.
*** Affectionate term for Denver's huge Pepsi Arena.