AcaFanBase & Popappella: A #SpideyBoys Interview

A Joint Interview by AcaFanBase and Popappella

Hello, fellow acafans!  We’ve been away from the blog for awhile, but we’re back with something very exciting…

If you like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you may have noticed us stalking our new obsession with some Broadway boys singing a cappella: #SpideyBoys!

#SpideyBoys
#SpideyBoys are (L to R): Brandon Rubendall, Adam Roberts, and Jake Odmark

We, along with our good friend and fellow a cappella blogger, Popappella, were able to catch up with the very busy #SpideyBoys to get some of our burning questions answered.  Enjoy!

AFB & POP: Who are the #SpideyBoys, and how did the group get started?

#SpideyBoys: The #SpideyBoys are Brandon Rubendall, Adam Roberts, and Jake Odmark. They met as castmates in Spider-man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway in 2012. Brandon and Adam were aerialists and played The Lizard and Carnage, respectively, while Jake played Flash and was the cover for Peter Parker. (Fun note: All three of us wore the Spidey suit at one time or another!) We sang for the first time during the Christmas season in 2012. We sang Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas just for fun – learning our parts during intermissions.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, arranged by Jake Odmark

AFB & POP: Introduce yourselves and let us know how you got started in music.  

#SpideyBoys:

Jake Odmark as Spider-Man!Jake Odmark (@jakeodmark on Twitter and Instagram) went to college as a trumpet major originally, eventually switching to voice/music theater which earned him a degree in voice. He also plays piano. His parents are both instrumentalists, along with his three siblings (two sisters and a twin brother) who are all still working in the music industry. Music has always been part of his soul and to have an outlet like the #SpideyBoys to not only sing with but arrange for is a dream come true!

Brandon Rubendall as Spider-Man!

Brandon Rubendall (@Brubendall on Twitter and Instagram) grew up as a dancer and a musical theater nerd. Skipping college after high school, he decided to put himself out there and attempt to make it on his own. Without any real professional training, shortly after graduation he was able to break into the theater scene regionally. It was doing shows across the country where he was able to get real life training to prepare him for what was to come. After his Broadway debut in the Original Cast of Spider-Man, Brandon went on to dance behind artists like Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna to name a few. It wasn’t until after his second Broadway show closed that he realized singing was just as much of a passion as dancing.

Adam Roberts as Spiderman!Adam Roberts (@adamant9 on Twitter and Instagram) was born into a musical family, his father a singer/guitarist and grandfather in the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, so it was inevitable that he’d follow suit and pursue his dream of performing onstage for the masses. He began working professionally at age 10 and went on to further his education, receiving his BFA in Musical Theatre from Coastal Carolina University.

 

AFB & POP: What are each of you doing now?

#SpideyBoys: Jake Odmark is performing as Harry in the Broadway company of KINKY BOOTS!

Brandon Rubendall has recently returned to his regional roots playing Al in A Chorus Line at Weston Playhouse.

Adam Roberts can currently be seen as one of the Players in Pippin on Broadway and harmonizing with the #SpideyBoys in his spare time.

AFB & POP: Who would you say is your current fanbase for the #SpideyBoys?

#SpideyBoys: Our fan base is anyone that loves music! We have a lot of Broadway fans because that’s, of course, where we first started. However, we have a lot of a cappella fans as well! Through the wonders of social media, we strive to expand our fan base every day.

AFB & POP: Did you anticipate this much attention?

#SpideyBoys: Of course not! The first song/video we did was for our own entertainment, and that’s it! Adam and Brandon knew Jake arranged music in his spare time, so they asked him if they could sing something, purely for fun. When it all came together, we knew we had something special, for sure, but there was no way we could have anticipated this much attention. Our first video (Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas) was shared over 500 times on Facebook… in less than a week!

Latch (opb Disclosure ft. Sam Smith), arranged by Jake Odmark

AFB & POP: How do you select your songs?

#SpideyBoys: Since we are all working in different shows now, we are rarely all in the same place. So, we have a text thread going almost all the time and if there is a hot new song that one of us likes, we’ll send it in the text thread to the others to see what they think. When we all agree on one, that usually means it’ll be our next.

Jake does all the arranging. He has been arranging choral and a cappella music for about nine years now and definitely has a passion for it!

AFB & POP:   Are you keeping the name #SpideyBoys, even though the show has closed?

#SpideyBoys: You know, at first we all agreed that this name was accidental and that we were going to change it at some point. But now? We’re not so sure. We are starting to like the name! It represents where we met, it’s different and definitely won’t be confused with other bands or groups, and it’s got kind of a cool ring to it, don’t you think? The #SpideyBoys might be staying! (We did add a hashtag – it’s very important to note that!)

AFB & POP: Can we expect recordings soon?

#SpideyBoys: Absolutely! Brandon is away for a few more weeks, but when we get back in late August… be on the look out! Do you have any requests?

AFB & POP: Do you have any exclusives for AcaFanBase and Popappella?

#SpideyBoys: You know, we have a pretty killer version of the Star Spangled Banner that we learned way back when. We could probably give AcaFanBase and Popappella a little snippet of that when Brandon gets back! We’ll tweet you!

Chandelier (opb Sia), arranged by Jake Odmark

Well, acafans, what do you think? Will you join us in our stalking obsession with the #SpideyBoys? Be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram: @jakeodmark, @brubendall and @adamant9!

Big news! #SpideyBoys will be performing LIVE for the first time at BroadwaySpotted’s 5th Anniversary Party on August 30th. Buy tickets here!

Also, be sure to follow the blog of our friend and partner in this interview, Popappella, and also like Popappella on Facebook and follow @Popappella on Twitter.

AcaFanBase

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Sing Off Tour Schedule with Special Guests

Hey, fellow acafans! Sing Off Tour starts tonight! Who’s going?

Sing Off Tour

We’ve compiled a list of all the special guests we have been able to confirm for each of the dates.  We’ll be updating as we get more info, or let us know what we missed.  See you out on the Tour!

Date Venue Location Special Guests Tickets
Feb 19 Turning Stone Casino Verona, NY UR Yellowjackets Tickets
VIP
Feb 20 The Wilbur Theatre Boston, MA Tufts Beelzebubs Tickets
North Shore VIP
Feb 20 The Wilbur Theatre Boston, MA Tufts Beelzebubs Tickets
North Shore VIP
Feb 21 Count Basie Theatre Red Bank, NJ Element Sold   Out
Princeton Footnotes VIP
Feb 21 Count Basie Theatre Red Bank, NJ Element Tickets
Princeton Footnotes VIP
Feb 22 American Music Theatre Lancaster, PA Princeton Footnotes Tickets
VIP
Feb 23 NYCB Theater at Westbury Westbury, NY Element Tickets
Princeton Footnotes VIP
Feb 25 Bergen Performing Arts Center Englewood, NJ Tickets
VIP
Feb 26 GE Theatre at Proctors Schenectady, NY Tickets
VIP
Feb 27 Sands Bethlehem Events Center Bethlehem, PA Tickets
VIP
Feb 28 Bryce Jordan Center University Park, PA Maxx Factor Tickets
Savoir Faire VIP
Mar 1 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA UD Deltones Tickets
Savoir Faire VIP
Mar 2 Baltimore Soundstage Baltimore, MD Maxx Factor Tickets
VIP
Mar 4 Fillmore Charlotte Charlotte, NC Tickets
VIP
Mar 5 The Fillmore Silver Spring, MD Traces of Blue Tickets
VIP
Mar 6 Memorial Auditorium Raleigh, NC Tickets
VIP
Mar 7 Golden Nugget Atlantic City, NJ Tickets
VIP
Mar 8 Wolf Den Uncasville, CT Tickets
VIP
Mar 9 UB Center For The Arts Amherst, NY Tickets
VIP
Mar 11 Bogart’s Cincinnati, OH acoUstiKats Tickets
Street Corner Symphony VIP
Mar 12 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN Street Corner Symphony Tickets
VIP
Mar 13 Murat Theater Indianapolis, IN Street Corner Symphony Tickets
VIP
Mar 14 State Theater at Playhouse Square Cleveland, OH Street Corner Symphony Tickets
VIP
Mar 15 House of Blues Chicago, IL Tickets
VIP
Mar 16 Palace Theatre Louisville, KY acoUstiKats Tickets
VIP
Mar 19 Royal Oak Music Theatre Royal Oak, MI Tickets
VIP
Mar 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI Fannin Family Tickets
VIP
Mar 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI Fannin Family Tickets
VIP
Mar 21 Mill City Nights Minneapolis, MN Tickets
VIP
Mar 22 Arvest Bank Theatre at Midland Kansas City, MO Cat’s Pajamas Tickets
VIP
Mar 23 Ogden Theatre Denver, CO Face Vocal Band Tickets
VIP
Mar 25 The Showbox Seattle, WA Groove for Thought Tickets
VIP
Mar 26 Elsinore Theatre Salem, OR Tickets
VIP
Mar 27 The Warfield San Francisco, CA  Vocal Rush Tickets
VIP
Mar 28 Fox Performing Arts Center Riverside, CA Tickets
VIP
Mar 29 House of Blues West Hollywood, CA Tickets
VIP

AcaFanBase

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AcaFanBase #LACF2014 @SwingleSingers Sweepstakes

We are in London!!!

At London A Cappella Festival, that is. We’ll be blogging our way through all things a cappella we encounter: House Jacks, SLIXS, The Songmen, The Real Group, and of course the host group Swingle Singers! In honor (honour) of our first official international festival, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Swingle Singers, we’re giving away the Swingle Singers “Weather to Fly” CD autographed by all seven current members!

This contest runs now through 11:59 PM EST on January 26, 2014. is open to anyone 18 years and older who lives in the US, Canada, or the UK!  Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e42934/

Stay tuned for blogs from the festival!

AcaFanBase

 

 

And the @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY T-shirt Winners Are…

Please join AcaFanBase in congratulating the three winners of our @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Giveaway that was held December 20-22.

LINDA W.
@SproutNewLife
For following @acoUstiKats on Twitter

AUBREY V.
@Aubsauce15
For following @acoUstiKats on Twitter

MARIAH S.
@MrahSrmek
For tweeting about the giveaway

Each of these fine folks will be receiving some very special AcoUstiSWAG: their very own Official acoUstiKats t-shirts.  If you didn’t win, you can still buy your own!

Keep following us for more ways to win.  We’re always on the lookout for fun stuff to give away to our fellow acafans.

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The #SingOff’s VoicePlay: 5 Guys & 1 Lucky Lady

By VoicePlay™

Our big journey onto the small screen started innocently, and as all journeys do: with the Taylor Swift tune “Trouble.”

No doubt many of you have already seen the video on YouTube or listened to the track on iTunes.  It is indeed a different take on the song, and with the incomparable Rachel Potter on the lead lyric, and we created some momentary musical magic.  Magic enough to catch a road weary Sing-Off Producer’s eye and magic enough to land us a coveted invitation to do a video audition for the 7-episode NBC special, The Sing-Off.

Well, that was all fabulous and amazing and exciting, but herein lies the rub: the fine and wise folks at NBC wanted VoicePlay to be featured on the show as a 6 voice group.

I’ll say it again while you wrap your head around that one. 6 voices: 5 guys, 1 lucky lady.

“Hmmmm…” you say.  “Who was this lucky lady that the producers had their eye on?” And to that I say, “Quit interrupting with your silly questions, I’m getting to it shortly.”

Well, naturally it was Rachel, the darling songstress of Broadway and the apple of many an eye.  So, with a dream in our hearts and a Twinkie in our pockets, we inquired as to where Miss Potter’s affections lay.  Alas, our feelings of warm vocal yumminess were not returned, for her heart belonged to another reality show on a competing network, the X-Factor.  So it was written in the stars that our paths shall not be entwined in a cappella glory, and she strutted off to get a bazillion views on YouTube and thousands of Twitter followers, yada, yada, yada, happily ever after.

“So,” you ask, “What happened to our heroes VoicePlay?” And once again I’ll ask you to let me do the talking and kindly zip the lip!

Ahem.  Back to the story at hand:  VoicePlay, not to be deterred from their visions of Pentatonix-like aca-geek fame and low rating network television wealth, forged ahead into the crucible of reality TV with a new front lady, a valuable friend with a voice like a caged animal — and hair to match — Miss Honey Larochelle.

The audition was filmed.  The link was sent.  The call came in.  The non-disclosures were signed.  The deal was done.  6 weeks later we were in LA… and THAT is where the story REALLY gets good…

THE SING-OFF -- Season: 4 -- Pictured: VoicePlay -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
THE SING-OFF — Season: 4 — Pictured: VoicePlay — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

For the rest of the story (in multiple installments), be sure to follow VoicePlay™ on their website and everywhere else they are available:

http://thevoiceplay.com
http://www.facebook.com/voiceplay
http://twitter.com/thevoiceplay
http://www.youtube.com/user/theVOICEPLAYdotcom

And follow us, too, because we’ll be sure you get all the aca-news!

AcaFanBase

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AcaFanBase and @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Sweepstakes

Has everyone been enjoying The Sing-Off as much as we have?  We have loved seeing the competing groups bonding with their fans on our social media timelines. Acafans are the best.

Any acoUstiKittens in the audience?

acoUstiSWAG

Click Here to Enter our AcaFanBase and @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Sweepstakes!

We are excited to announce that we are sponsoring the AcaFanBase and @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Sweepstakes, which will start RIGHT NOW, Friday, December 20, 2013 and run through Sunday, December 22, 2013, 11:59 PM EST.

AcoustiSWAG

THREE (3) Winners of our AcaFanBase and @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Sweepstakes will be selected to win:

one (1) Official acoUstiKats T-shirt (short-sleeved, limited to sizes available on-hand), generously provided by the acoUstiKats.

When you click on the link to enter, you will see there are three ways you can earn entries.  If you’re already following us both on Twitter, it’s even easier!

  1. Follow the acoUstiKats on Twitter @acoUstiKats (1 entry)
  2. Follow us on Twitter @AcaFanBase (1 entry)
  3. Tweet about us daily (1 entry daily)

There are a few legal points we need get out of the way…

  • Sweepstakes is open to US residents 18 years of age and older (Sorry, international friends; we’re working on it!)
  • No purchase necessary.
  • Void where restricted or prohibited by law.
  • This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or WordPress. Entrants are providing information to AcaFanBase and acoUstiKats, not to Facebook, Twitter, or WordPress.
  • The products offered as prizes for this sweepstakes were provided by the acoUstiKats.
  • More legal information in the sweepstakes’ Terms and Conditions.

Be sure to tell your friends about AcaFanBase.  Stay on the lookout for more a cappella and Sing-Off news coming soon. Don’t miss out!

Click Here to Enter our AcaFanBase and @acoUstiKats #FOLLOWFRIDAY Sweepstakes!

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Female A Cappella Is Not a Thing

My name is Rachel Chalhoub.  I am female, and a cappella is my “thing.”

THE SING-OFF -- Season: 4 -- Pictured: Element -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)
THE SING-OFF — Season: 4 — Pictured: Element — (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)

So, when AcaFanBase approached me to write a blog post about my experience on The Sing-Off, I came up with a lot of different topics to go over:

  • what the show was like, our rehearsal process, the stress of preparing (AH! STRESS)
  • what it was like meeting a group a girls just a week before performing with them on national television (AH! DOUBLE STRESS)
  • how the show wasn’t really a competition and how we were all one big happy family (it’s totally true)

But over the past few days, there have been a lot of conversations about Element and their visual appearance in conjunction with female a cappella.  Which is a conversation that can be really annoying to talk about.  No one’s happy with any answer or explanation, and ultimately, someone is going to feel left out or alienated.

So, here’s my comment on the situation:

Female a cappella is not a thing.

Sorry.  What I mean to say is female a cappella is not just one, singular thing.

Most who know me (or any other human being) know that I am not just one thing.  I’m not just a beatboxer; I can also sing.  I’m not just a performer, but I am an educator.  I’m not just a host on Inside A Cappella, but I am also the Director of Video Production with The Vocal Company.  I also like walks on the beach and potatoes.

And in that similar vein, pigeon-holing a cappella to be one thing by placing a gender on it is not something we should be perpetuating as members of this community.  Female vs. male is a fun conversation. Each holds its strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes a strength or a weakness is more recognizable than another, but they both exist. To assume that women who perform in dresses and heels are only one thing is unfair. Speaking as one, I can say that we are much more than that.

Element came to The Sing-Off as a group of ten very different women, including some who had never performed a cappella prior to the show. These women’s roots were in stage performance, and while they are all incredible vocalists, a cappella was not something they were originally expecting to do at this point in their lives. It’s also important to note that a lot of our performance attire and song choices were driven by the producers. Still, as a group, we enjoyed performing in our outfits and singing the songs chosen for us. We wanted to show the viewer our take on a cappella.  And after all of the stress of the show, I’m proud with what I saw and heard.

I like being sexy. I like being intimidating. I like being relatable. And I like working hard. I want that to show when I perform. I want my group to embody that kind of message.

When I got up on that Sing-Off stage with Element, I wanted to be a certain thing for women and men in a cappella: myself.  I wanted to show that I can be so many things while representing something even bigger than me, all within 2 minutes of airtime.

When it comes to group performance, as a community, let’s allow a group to evolve into a sound that makes it notable.  Why make it a battle of the sexes or a display of stereotypes?  A cappella isn’t a genre that should be broken into gender groups. Women – and men — are more than a “thing.”  We are more than pop princesses or barrel-chested jocks or bow-tie wearing harmonists, just to name a few a cappella stereotypes. And to enforce such a narrow scope onto a performing a cappella group is simply wrong.

When we argue over the judges’ comments or the outfits we see, we lose sight of what the group was there to do: entertain.  Many people – men, women, adults and kids — enjoyed Element’s appearance and performance, and the group has received plenty of positive feedback from a wide array of viewers and supporters. We are so thankful for their support and to bring them more of what they love.

Element may have started because of The Sing-Off, and it may or may not be the group I would have created to put on the show, and it may have been created to fulfill a demographic, but that’s not what it is now.  Element is evolving.  With each performance it gives, the members of Element – myself included — learn something new about our sound and our voices.  And as we leave the shadow of the show behind us, we need your support in moving forward.

We are excited to share our voice with an EP that represents our brand of a cappella, regardless of gender.  You might find some of that Element “sparkly dress and heels” sound on our EP, but you may also find yourself taken by surprise with our versions of other popular songs.  But what I want you to pay the most attention to is that we are taking the opportunity to present our take on a cappella.  And that might just be something you like.

And if you don’t, that’s totally cool.  That’s the best part of a cappella.  This is a genre where there are no rules.  We can take anything and make it anything. Our voices free us from constrictions, and I can’t wait to share with you what we have to say with our upcoming EP.

- Rachel
www.elementvocals.com
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