A cappella, a voice art that remains unfamiliar to most people, is enjoying a revival of sorts right here and the recent International A Cappella Festival 2014 could be a major reason.

Talents hailing from Asian countries like Taiwan, Malaysia and Korea, along with their fervent fan base, were flown onto our shores to take part in the annual International A Cappella Festival organised by The A Cappella Society (TAS).

That, together with a touch of local flavour added to the mix, made the festival an instant hit, making it the Society’s most popular show to date.

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“We were a bit worried at first, as we used to focus more on Europeans,” said Alex Sassarak, general manager for TAS. “Now it’s more Asian focused, and we’re rethinking our content.”

A misunderstood art, a cappella is not as far off from orthodox music as it may seem. “It’s an instrumentation of voice. You don’t play the piano or the guitar, you choose to use your voice,” said Angelina Choo, music director for TAS.


Angelina notes the average age in the industry is between the ages of 25 and 30. However, since the spike in choral groups featured in big screen hits like Glee and Pitch Perfect, a stronger bond and support has been given to this art form, with even working adults signing up for a cappella classes in recent years.

In an effort to reach out to working adults, TAS used the online social network, meetup.com, to promote their free programmes. With that, names began flowing in, with as many as 150 members walking through their doors.

“It’s not easy to get people to sign up for something like this, so every person who walks in through our doors is really special,” Angelina added with a smile.


The buzz from the music community also helped renowned a cappella group, MICapella, make its mark in Singapore.

“At times, it was a little difficult as a there was less understanding from audiences, event organisers, and the crew about what type of performing set up we have,” said Peter Huang, producer and vocalist for MICapella. “We were at times mistaken for a choir or a pop group with a backing track, so that had to be explained further.”


MICapella took part in the X-Factor style a cappella competition, The Sing-Off, in Taiwan, clinching the first runner-up position, and putting the spotlight on Singapore’s homegrown talent. Since then, the group has continued to keep busy having most recently completed their tour in Europe, gaining a huge following for their Facebook song covers.

To continue fanning the flame for the vocal sport, TAS has begun to provide a diploma for singing instructors all across Singapore.

However, Angelina adds:  “The increased awareness is still very superficial, as it’s mostly interest with no action. But at least people know what a cappella is, and we no longer have to explain it to them.”

The original version of this article can be found in HYPE Issue #40. Photo Credits: The A Capella Society, MICapella and Universal Pictures