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There’s a word for it – the kind of singing that adapts instrumental sounds and techniques to popular songs and ageless standards. It was once called vocal jazz and was most often supported by instrumental backing. It now covers a much wider range of musical styles and techniques using the term “contemporary a cappella.”

The nonprofit Colorado Vocal Jazz Society (CVJS) was started over twenty years ago to preserve and promote vocal jazz in the State of Colorado. With its 24-member board of directors (listed below) and a legion of volunteers devoted to the genre of contemporary a cappella and vocal jazz, it has been able to produce workshops and competitions, as well as host college and avocational gatherings that encourage a larger appreciation for this kind of music. Its tax exempt status also enables it to more effectively support increasing efforts in education and community programming

The organization works closely with the Contemporary A Cappella Society (CASA) which has become the focal point of popular a cappella attention, with several hundred participating groups and organizations around the world. This organization’s resources are very impressive, providing attention and awards for growing ensembles and tools for starting and developing a cappella skills. The Barbershop Harmony Society (formerly SPEBSQSA) is another significant partner in highlighting the talented singing groups that reside here in Colorado, as well as to see that nationally renowned groups come through Colorado.

Vocal jazz and its a cappella ensemble outgrowth usually incorporate rhythm patterns, melodic variations and harmonic treatments which may modify the original composition and reflect similar techniques first used by both black and white musicians early in the 20th century. Through the harmonic interpretations of Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and others, vocal groups began to develop ensemble styles that emulated these presentations. The pattern of vocal styling made popular by the Modernaires, the Four Freshmen and the Beach Boys is now heard in the music of currently popular groups like Take 6, Rockapella, and m-pact. Here in Colorado, a cappella vocal bands in this style have become very popular, with college groups like Extreme Measures and Room 46, as well as avocational groups like the Denver A Cappella Project and 3-Story Limit, and professional groups such as Cool Shooz, Groove Society and the 17th Avenue Allstars, thus expanding the genre into the younger generation.

It’s an exciting time for this music, and we hope you will enjoy and support its performance in the clubs and community facilities in your own area. Contact us for more information.