So we thought it would be a good idea to put our swan set thank yous into video form. This seemed like a good idea at the time. We’re not sure our video editor will ever forgive us. Like, ever. We might have done some irreparable damage. Hashtag, FAIL.
….Isn’t it strange?? Memories and mind-glow, but oh, things must change!
Someone please tell us how in the WORLD it has been a year since Orlando? Weren’t we just packing up the Cruella set dresses and heading down to warmer weather? Squeezing in a last-minute coaching session, deciding what color to paint our nails, wishing and hoping for a medal of some kind… any kind!?!
Epic has had a year, in a nutshell, of no regrets! From the days after returning from IC&C last November (and immediately heading off to compete in The A Cappella Sing-Off judged by Rockapella… we were runners-up!) to welcoming a few more gorgeous children to our Epic family to giving birth to a different kind of baby–our album. If you follow us on Facebook or here on our site, you know that the shows and travel and experiences have brought us immeasurable amounts of joy in our reigning year.
When it came time to spell out some thank yous in preparation for our crowning ceremony, we each had a long, long list of people to mention, both individually and as a quartet. We decided to present our thank you “speeches” in a unique way, and we don’t want to give too much away before IC&C next week. But you should know that our Epic “family” includes hundreds and hundreds of people. Our husbands, our children, our parents, our extended families and fans, our chapters (Fairfax Jubilaires and, now, the beautiful Bella Nova Babes), our sisters in Area 2, our sisters in Harmony, Inc., our fans and supporters in the greater Washington, D.C., region, our coaches, the talented team that produced our album….the list goes on and on.
In this calm before the proverbial storm, we just want to take a quiet moment and appreciate each other. Of all of the cool and crazy experiences we’ve had in the last 12 months, all of them combined can’t begin to compare to the development of our relationships with each other. We are sisters in the truest sense of the word, connected by common experiences, loyalty and LOVE. We take care of each other. We look out for each other. And we laugh so, so much with each other.
A lot of people ask us what’s next for Epic. The truth is, every step of this journey has been somewhat beyond our ability to control. We just know that we love spending time together… even if it’s for a short rehearsal or a coffee date. We are so entwined in each other’s lives now that it’s hard to imagine a time when we won’t be Epic. We’re family now and we’ll be celebrating milestones together for years and years to come! We plan to be an active quartet for a long, long time…. growing our Bella Nova Chorus, raising our children, traveling the country (maybe the world!) together.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. We have no words to reflect how much it means to us. Looking forward to celebrating with many of you next week in Windsor! XOXO.
Once upon a time, a slightly insane quartet by the name of Epic had a gig. Epic does a lot of gigs, so sometimes the lines of appropriateness get a little, umm… blurred. At this recent gig, Epic was very much looking forward to singing some new songs for a lovely audience, but Epic also had some important business to conduct. You see, International Contest & Convention (IC&C) is coming and Epic has this thing about buying new clothes, especially for big events.
So at the gig, Epic looked far and wide for a restroom or a dressing room that wasn’t full of the men in the other chorus singing on the show. Alas, there was no such restroom or changing room. But business had to get done–there were new dresses to try on. So with a soccer field full of men playing in the background, Epic decided that trying on costumes in the parking lot was a perfectly acceptable approach to this monumental challenge.
Now in the interest of keepin’ it classy (ha!), the members of the quartet looked out for each other, making sure there were NO passing cars during this daring feat. Naturally, the smartest member of the quartet started snapping photos so she would be absent of such interesting evidence.
Then, another innocent Epic comes along and gets pulled into the antics. At first, this innocent Epic hesitates. “No,” she says. “It’s not proper for a pregnant Epic to go around changing in a parking lot.” But eventually, the evil influencers prevailed.
What will this do to her unborn baby!? Will he be “Epic’ed” as well????
Never fear, unborn Epic baby. There is solid field research that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this crazy Epic-ness is not a predestined fate. In fact, top scientists have recently caught such proof on film…. as highlighted here….
And that is the end of our Epic tale. (Look people–we’re punchy waiting for our CD to show up. We’ll try to pull it together for the next blog.)
Those of you who have come to know us over the last couple of years probably have picked up on the fact that we’re slightly proud (well, maybe a little more… ahem… fine, a LOT more than slightly proud) of being affiliated with Harmony, Inc. We love the women in the organization, we love the spirits of the chapters, and we love singing what are traditionally guys’ charts on the guys’ scoring system for contest.
Now we get to tell you another little something that we love. And as it turns out, it happens to be something we love that helps something we love. Confused yet? Let’s be more clear… there’s good news for Harmony, Inc.!
Our bass, Shana, is engaging in a new quartet project. Despite the tendency to think this might mean something more behind the curtain, it doesn’t. She’s not leaving Epic, and Epic is not slowing down. We have many shows on the books for next year and we’re just about to launch our very first (of many??!!) CDs. We’ve never been closer as a quartet and we love hanging out together. Our Epic family continues to grow with new babies (Shana’s son is due in October) and we just founded Bella Nova Chorus together, as a team.
We support Shana and her new Harmony, Inc. quartet, Halo, one THOUSAND percent. We support them because #1) Harmony Inc. just gained three super-talented new members. Score. #2) Shana gets to grow her chops on another voice part. Excellent. She’ll finally quit stealing tenor notes from Chris (yeah, right). #3) Halo is made up of four talented and gorgeous African-American women. We think this sets an inspiring example for the youth harmony movement, and so do they.
So we wanted to give you the scoop! We are thrilled to welcome the Halo quartet members to the Harmony, Inc. sisterhood. And for those of you who reached out to us about auditioning for the bass part of Epic, we assure you that we’re all good :-) Shana is little but she’s tough… she can fight off the masses to keep her spot!! LOL.
Some of the Halo members might be able to join us in Windsor, so please take a moment to meet them… or better, yet, sing with them!!! They’re really good! They’ll be competing next year for the first time, and their three biggest fans (Epic Chris, Epic Anne and Epic Kris) will be cheering the loudest for their success.
We love you, Shana. We’re proud of you. And welcome, Halo Quartet! You’re about to launch on one of the most incredible journeys you could imagine. Trust us….
After all this time, we are so thrilled to say that Bella Nova Chorus had it’s first rehearsal today!
And talk about PROUD. Here’s the very first tag we EVER sang together. The very first noises we ever made as a chorus. Truly the beginning of something special. XOXOXO!
The next couple of weeks are going to be marked by a whole lot of counting down and holding our collective breath! That’s because we have officially launched our Kickstarter project to pre-sell our debut album, “It’s Epic,” and raise the rest of the funds we need to get this labor of deep and devoted love across the finish line!
Please, please, please consider supporting our project. We are really proud of the work we did on this album and we are confident that it’s one you’ll want to hear over and over again!
It’s particularly important to us to secure this funding in the next 18 days because we want to deliver the project on time and we don’t want to have to cut any songs. We recorded a whopping FOURTEEN songs when we were in the studio, but it costs extra money to edit, mix, master and (most significantly) pay the extra licensing fees for these songs. We could trim it down to 10 or 11 songs but we’re proud of all of them and we’re committed to our goal of leaving each and every one on the album.
Thank you so much for your consideration and support. You’re backing a CD and you’re backing a dream. We don’t even care that it’s a cheesy cliche. It’s 100% true. Thanks so much!
We have been working so hard on our debut album and it is so fulfilling to hear some of the final tracks coming our way. Some folks thought we were crazy to record the entire thing in one weekend, and even more thought we were crazy for going so far away to do it! But we felt strongly about doing our album in the Wright studio, which is completely optimized for barbershop harmony. We are certain that the CDs you hear coming out of that studio are going to be some of the best on the market! We know that TNS was recording right around the same time we were (can’t wait for that one!), and we’re super proud of what we’re hearing so far from ours!
Now the fun part… paying for it! We have a big budget for this project. We are committed to giving our friends, fans and fellow barbershoppers the absolute best product we can. This means editing that doesn’t sterilize our Epic sound, professional mastering of the album, Epic-approved packaging and, best of all…. LOTS of songs! We have come to understand that it’s expensive to have more than 10 or so songs on a CD. Those editing, mixing and licensing fees add up when they’re charged per song!
We recorded a whopping 14 songs when we were in the studio and we really, really don’t want to cut any of them. To be able to include all 14 on the final album, we’re going to have to work hard on our fundraising efforts. We’ll launch our Kickstarter project in the coming weeks for individual pre-orders and support, but we have a special offer for choruses.
If you’ve ever thought of having Epic on your annual show, please take a peek at the PDF announcing our package incentives. We think it’s a fantastic deal for your chapter, and it would help Epic deliver the absolute best CD we can to the marketplace. By scheduling Epic right now for your next show, you could have the quartet just for the cost of expenses (and for Harmony, Inc. chapters, this could be offset with the Queens Travel Fund!). Check out the flyer to learn more!
If you’re willing to have a conversation as a show team or a board–just a conversation to consider taking us up on our offer–we will send you a SUPER SECRET sneak peek of our favorite song on the album! It’s a custom arrangement exclusive to Epic and it will be a part of our swan package this fall at International! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the MP3 to preview with your show committee and a sample contract outlining our incentive options.
The deadline for this offer is August 15th (with contracts signed by Sept. 1st) so please talk amongst yourselves and let us know if we can answer any questions! Thank you sooooo much for your time and consideration.
We did it! We got all 14 songs recorded in one weekend. And we are TIRED! We had four songs left heading into our final few hours Sunday, and we weren’t sure we’d be able to get them all done. We started with a new song we learned for our swan set and then moved on to the 8-part song with Ashley (well, eventually with Speed of Sound!). We started getting nervous about the time… we had to leave in time to make our flight! We moved on to “My Romance” with a degree of focus that’s not exactly typical for Epic. The clock was ticking and we needed to get through the song quickly. Good thing that this contest ballad is still among our faves. We worked through the song and as soon as it was “in the can,” we got a little giddy and punchy. We had just one last item on our checklist… recording our version of the Star Spangled Banner. We sing Jim Clancy’s arrangement with a few Epic twists at the tag; it was the perfect song to leave for last. Nothin’ like ending with a screamer tag!
We missed our isolation booths the minute we walked out! We got connected with those little “huts” over the course of three intense days!! Just kidding, just kidding… but we sure did enjoy our time at the Wrights’ house. They are such a beautiful family and so much talent!!
We also have to share many thanks for our coach, Richard, and all of our husbands for holding down the forts while we were gone. We also had a several grandmas step up in a big way to care for Epic kids for the weekend. We are eternally grateful.
We may have some more insights to share (and some video to boot), but right now, we need a nap…
Today’s the day, ladies and gents. We have just four more hours in the studio to wrap up the last of our CD. We have settled into a groove on the process, but it has taken us longer to get through what we had planned to accomplish each day. We’re juggling the vocal fatigue, for sure, but we also have decided against “good enough.” The technology available for recording an album is beyond impressive. It can fix just about anything you want it to, and you can sing a section over and over until it sounds exactly like what you had in mind. But technology can’t create emotion. And it can’t create “fun.” So we’ve been dedicated to trying as hard as we can to capture the real Epic on the recording.
We are relying on technology today for one cool element of the CD. A while back, we learned an 8-part song to sing on a show with Speed of Sound, a fun and talented Sweet Adelines quartet. The members of the quartet are spread out throughout the South, and even if all four of them could be in Nashville with us this weekend, there aren’t enough isolation booths in the studio to accommodate eight singers at once. However, there are FIVE booths… which is exactly what we need to make this song work. Ashley, the lead of Speed of Sound, is going to sing the lead part of the Speed of Sound parts of the song while Epic sings the four-part version of our sections of the song. When we leave today, the Epic part will be recorded, using Ashley to help us get the timing right. Then, about a month from now, Speed of Sound will be in Nashville for a rehearsal and will lay down the tracks for their parts. Cool, isn’t it?
We’ll give you another update soon!
Greetings from Nashville, friends! We meant to update you last night as we wrapped up day one of recording, but to say that we were exhausted was an understatement. It’s a good kind of exhausted, though. It feels like post-contest exhaustion. Like post-adrenaline-rush exhaustion. A very good kind of exhausted.
Thursday when we landed, we headed straight to the Barbershop Harmony Society headquarters. What a cool place. Even if you’re not a barbershop singer, you should definitely plan a visit the next time you are in Nashville. We took a tour to check out the really cool building, meet with staffers, and, of course, drop some cash in the gift shop! We loved seeing our coach (Richard Lewellen) and one of our close friends and arrangers, Larry Wright, on the “every man” mural. And before we left, we screamed a few tags in the “tag chamber.” Maybe not the best plan the afternoon before a recording session, but when in Rome…
So yesterday (Friday) morning, we headed to the Wright’s studio. We cannot say enough good things about the set-up of this studio. Barbershoppers, we’re talkin’ the Taj Mahal of four-part harmony recording. The idea is to keep the four individual voices in separate isolation booths so that corrections and post-production work is easier. But barbershoppers need to see each other…we play off of each other when it comes to emotion, timing, breathing, etc., etc. So the booths have several windows so you can see your sisters (or brothers) around you. It’s very cool and technologically impressive.
We also need to take a moment to talk about our recording engineer, Chris Wright. Seriously–this dude is very, VERY good at his job. He is worth every penny of our travel expenses. We can’t see him when we’re in our recording booths, but we hear him (and Richard) through our headphones and he navigates his space-aged recording software like nobody’s business. Richard says something like, “can we take them back two lines and have them hear that…” and within moments we’re listening to that exact spot. Chris is also a barbershop-brat so he has an amazing ear for things. We’ll be kicking along and he’ll say, “Hold on one second, I want to check the quality on the such-and-such part….” Besides the technical skills, he is super chill. He has the kind of personality you need on a project like this. There’s enough pressure in the situation, so you wouldn’t want a recording engineer without a high degree of patience! He’s a great guy. And since the quartet already has a Chris and a Kris, we’ve decided to distinguish by calling ourselves “Adams,” “Lewellen,” and “boyfriend.” It’s quite amusing when Richard refers to Chris Wright as “boyfriend.” Just sayin’.
We had a big, big plan for yesterday’s session and we didn’t get through all of it. But that’s ok! What did get recorded is very special. We never accepted “good enough.” We wanted every track to be awesome. We started with High Heeled Blues because Chris (tenor) and Anne (lead) needed something that wouldn’t be too high for first thing in the morning. We were having fun with a novelty song, so when that was done, we decided we’d do One More Minute next. With those out of the way, the voices were warmed up and feeling super strong so we moved on to a ballad– For All We Know. This is one of our favorite songs and it’s like riding a bike. Still, we took a lot of time to make sure the quality was reflective of our best performance ever. We spent the afternoon working on Cruella (soooooo fun!) and Cry Baby.
Here’s something interesting we learned…. flexibility is key. We have a new tune that was arranged for us by Richard, Jar of Hearts. It’s a contemporary piece that we’ve kicked around here and there pretty much since we got together. But we have only had the official, final chart for about a month. Still, we love it so much, that we’ve been working it so that we can share it on the CD. We started to record it yesterday and all it took was one run-through to know that we just weren’t feelin’ it. It was a bit rattling, to be honest, but we shook it off quickly and just decided to move on. We’ll come back to it today (Saturday) and see if it clicks a bit better.
Well, it’s time to get ready and head back to the studio! We’ll add pictures later … and keep an eye on our Facebook page because we’re posting some there: http://www.facebook.com/epicquartet.
Wish us luck!!! Well, maybe you should save your luck and prayers for “Boyfriend Chris.” He has gotten a big, fat dose of Epic this weekend, and that poor man is probably going to need a nap once we leave the state!