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November 10, 2006

A cappella group ready to wail with the pros

Marin Independent Journal (CA):

Every Thurday, James Currier leaves his busy family and his full-time job to spend three hours with 17 other men. It isn't to discuss business or argue about sports. It's to sing, a cappella. Currier is a co-founder and member of the Richter Scales, a group dedicated the performance of a cappella music for every occasion.

"I've been singing all my life," the Strawberry native says. The group started early one August morning six years ago at an International House of Pancakes, where Currier and two friends, Mark Casey and Rob Seal, joined in their common passion: to sing a cappella. "We auditioned about 80 people, took about eight and then we started," says Currier. "We grabbed a bunch of a cappella scores and we just started learning them and performing whenever anybody would let us."

The group, whose members come from all over the Bay Area, will be performing for the first time at the 13th annual A Cappella Summit at Dominican College on Saturday with big a cappella stars M-Pact and Vox One.

"We're really excited," Currier says. "I think it's going to be great. While people are going to be judging us in the end, I feel like having more groups perform together is a great thing because we can all appreciate each other's art." "It'll be a treat," adds Casey, a San Francisco resident. "It's always fun to perform for an audience that likes a cappella."

The group will be singing three original and humorous compositions written by member Brian M. Rosen and included on their just-released first CD, "We Hate A Cappella." The group spent a year working on the CD because members only wanted to include original compositions and original arrangements.

"We don't really hate singing a cappella. We just like singing about hating a cappella," says Casey, who says he's happy to be back in Marin after a recent performance at Mill Valley's 142 Throckmorton Theatre. "We like performing in Marin. The audiences there are pretty sophisticated. They either like us or they're just being nice to us."

It will be another event to juggle in their busy lives, but Currier, an Internet entrepreneur and the former CEO of Emode, says the balancing act is worth it. "The experience of standing in the middle of 10 guys singing in harmony is unlike anything I have ever experienced. It's beautiful and powerful. You have everyone's vibrations and resonance in your body and your jaw, resonating with the other people around you," Currier explains. "It's incredibly uplifting."

The men have also made friendships that they believe will never fade "It's really hard to keep a band together, whereas a cappella groups stay together for decades - there's less ego when there's no external instruments, and it's harder for one musician to stay better than everyone else," Currier says. "A cappella creates great friendships. If you can't all work together then it's nothing."

Currier loves all aspects of his singing life - but one thing truly stands out. "The street scene is probably what I love most, where we can just walk around and walk into a restaurant singing a song," he says. "People's jaws just drop open, and that doesn't happen when there's a band playing. It makes me feel accomplished, like an artist - I feel pride in what I do."

He hopes to pass that along to his four kids. "We sing with them every night before bed, at the dinner table ... I would love it if they could end up singing a cappella," he says. "Singing a cappella is beautiful and powerful. It takes a normal afternoon and turns it into a sparkling day you'll never forget."

We are all busy getting ready for the big event tomorrow. Ticket sales are strong and we expect a good turnout and hopefully great fun will be had by all.

Posted by acapnews at November 10, 2006 1:30 PM