I always know it’s been a busy and exciting stretch when my body finally gives in to sickness during a bit of time off. I’ve taken all of the cold medicine possible and am snuggled up in sweats with tea on my bedside table, dying to tell you about Fermata Town’s latest adventure! After over a month of fundraising and the support of more than 200 family members, friends, coworkers and a cappella community members, the Townies gathered in London. Whether coming from pre-festival adventures in Iceland or a week at work, Fermata Town was ready to take the UK by storm.
After a night of board games and fighting jet lag, we woke up Saturday, had a group breakfast in our flat, and headed to Kings Place to check in for the London A Cappella Festival. The Ikon Arts staff were incredibly welcoming (even in spite of Alex’s put-on cockney accent) and got us immediately settled in our dressing room. We settled into the evening performance space during sound check with alum Philipp Walzer looking on and sharing encouraging feedback.
In between sound check and our afternoon performance, Fermata Town headed to Anita Wardell’s workshop on scat vocals. While a few of our members are quite talented in the scatting style, it was fun to watch the rest of us trying out Anita’s exercises and playing around vocally. More than that, there must have been at least one hundred or so festival attendees in that room singing, swinging, and scatting together.
After that and our afternoon performance in the Kings Place lobby, it was time to get ready for our main stage performance, opening up for Home Free! We did a few final runs and then settled a bit, waiting to be gathered and taken to the stage for show time. This is where things really got interesting…
Most of the group had been in on “Operation Walk” for at least a few months, but one important member was not in the know. Dan (planning to pop the question on stage, accompanied by his Townie family) whisked away Becky for a quick stroll so that the rest of the group could sing through “Walk” (written by Dan and arranged by Alex) one more time. They got back just in time to head to the stage, and we were on! Our first two songs were amazing – the whole group was 150% present and the energy in the room was high. It was our second international and first UK performance and we were feeling spectacular.
Dan stepped out from the group to introduce us, a usual practice, but everyone except Becky knew this as our cue to prep for his proposal. He called Becky out of line, the pitch was blown, and Dan’s big moment had come, ready or not! Im quite honestly not too sure what things sounded like from then on, because with tears of happiness streaming down my face, I was lucky I could keep singing at all! As the song ended and Dan asked Becky to marry him, the audience went crazy. And of course, she said YES!!!
Somehow, we put ourselves back together to close out with “Circus”, a Townie and audience favorite. Leaving the stage after a great set, it’s safe to say that we were proud of our performance, but that we were just so filled with love for each other, and for Dan and Becky. We spent the rest of the night eating, drinking and dancing! There was a great cover band at a restaurant in CamdenTown that kept our energy high and our feet moving.
After a Sunday spent exploring Abbey Road Studios and downtown London, and riding the London Eye, it was time to pack up and get ready for our Monday departures. Many of us couldn’t sleep too early however, and just continued to enjoy each other’s company and reflect on the incredible experience we’d shared. We are certainly reminded through adventures like this of how close we are, and how lucky we are to make music and spend time together. London also helped us remember just how incredible the entire a Cappella community is. We wouldn’t have gotten there without the support and love of many.
Now we’re back to real life, and will soon be sitting down together to chart out the next leg of Fermata Town’s journey. There’s no stopping us…
Cheers to London, Becky and Dan, and whatever comes next!
Blog post by Liz Mongrello