SingStrong is “Comic-Con for A capella singers.”

Steve Cochran

Kid of the Week

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Our Kid of the Week is Senior Choir Board President Veronika Sostaric from Niles West Choir High School. You can read more about the organization that Veronika is a part of below, called SingStrong. Veronika says her family can’t sing, but this event sounds like something you should check out!

SingStrong is a weekend-long  a cappella music festival, featuring groups from around the world performing every style under the sun, from barbershop to doo-wop, pop to jazz, beatbox to overtone singing and beyond. Profits support the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease and local music programs.

But we know your experience is about more than just the amazing performers. That’s why we’ve gone out of our way to make sure the entire weekend flows smoothly for you.
All concerts and classes take place in one building, on one floor.
Niles West High School. 5701 Oakton Street
Skokie, IL 60077.
No running around from building to building, or worse, driving from class to concert.

All afterglows take place at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-North Shore/Skokie
5201 Old Orchard Road. Skokie, Illinois USA 60077. Stay up late. Have fun. Stumble to your room when you’re done. Easy!

All parking is free and plentiful. And we mean all. Parking at the hotel is free. Parking at the concerts and classes is free. Parking at most nearby restaurants is free. No parking tickets. No meters. No worries.

Don’t feel like driving? No problem! All shuttles are free. That’s right. You don’t even need a car to get from the Hotel to the SingStrong concerts, classes and coachings, and back again.

All you need are tickets and a hotel reservation. Simple. Like a world class a cappella festival should be.

Coming from out of town? We’ve got you covered! Fly in to Chicago’as O’Hare Airport and take a taxi directly to the hotel, where you’ll stay at a specially negotiated low rate.

After settling in at the hotel, on Friday at around 6 PM (approx), take the hotel’s free shuttle just 10 minutes to SingStrong or drive and enjoy free parking onsite.

Your Full Weekend Pass provides access to all shows and classes. Plus, Full Weekend Passes offer tremendous savings over buying tickets individually.

Or, if you prefer, purchase a ClassPass for access to all classes, and then separately purchase just the concert tickets, a la carte, as you like. If you happen to be competing at SingStrong, you’ll need either a Full Weekend Pass or a ClassPass. There are no other fees to apply or compete.

Ready for your first SingStrong event? Friday’s ACA-Idol Pro & Collegiate Competition begins at 7PM. Groups compete in fast-paced, 10 minute sets for $1,000. Celebrity judges give witty, live, on-mic commentary. As an audience member, you get to vote by celphone. (No cumbersome paper ballots to slow down the show.) Or perhaps you’d like to compete?

Every seat in the house has clear, unobstructed line of sight to the entire stage. And our stadium seating policy allows you to sit with friends, as you like, regardless of when you each purchased your tickets.

After the concert, join performers and attendees for food and drinks at the Ruby Tuesday’s off the lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-North Shore/Skokie Hotel for a meet-and-greet afterglow. Socialize and network, but don’t stay out too late on your first night, because Saturday’s a big day!

After a night’s rest, enjoy Saturday breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-North Shore/Skokie. Of course, it’s free for guests of the hotel.

Saturday 8:30 AM, take the hotel’s free shuttle 15 minutes to SingStrong or drive and enjoy free parking onsite. You’ll be greeted with smiles as you register, meet other attendees and hear groups starting to sing already.

9:30 AM classes begin, generally two or three at a time, on a variety of a cappella-related topics such as beatboxing, arranging, copyright, recording, directing and much more. Simultaneously, groups enjoy free coachings with professional talent, focused on the issues that matter to you.

Between the classes, coachings and concerts, there are many performance opportunities for singers and groups of all levels. You might perform as part of a class, or in the Spotlight Showcase Concert. Perhaps you’ll be a pre-show lobby performer, or perform on the mainstage with The SingleSingers.

The SingleSingers is a group open to all attendees. You learn your 20 minutes of music in advance, rehearse for a few hours on Friday and Saturday and then perform on mic, on the mainstage, at the Saturday Matinee, typically to a standing ovation. Members range from pro to amateur, and middle school to octogenarian. Pre-Registration is required.

Grab a bite on site while you listen to groups perform at the 1pm Spotlight Showcase Concert, or head just one mile into town for a broader variety of food choices. But don’t spend too much time there, because you’ll want to return in time to catch high school’s rising stars.

Saturday at 2 PM The High School Competition begins. HS groups from all over compete in 8 minute sets for trophies, and receive private, written critiques from experienced a cappella and choral professionals. The Single Singers will also perform during the judges’ deliberations.

Following the concert, classes and coachings continue until about 5:00 PM. Take the free shuttle back to the hotel to quickly refresh, grab dinner and prepare for an incredible evening of cutting edge performances.

Saturday at 6:30 take the hotel’s free shuttle to SingStrong or drive and enjoy free parking onsite.

7:00 PM The First PRO Concert begins, featuring these groups.

8:30 PM The First PRO Concert ends and the Charity Auction begins! This silent auction is where attendees can get great deals on a wide variety of goods and services, from new cameras to romantic get-ways, massages to karate lessons, discounts on a cappella recording and arranging to jewelry and beyond, there’s something for everyone.

Best of all, 100% of the proceeds support the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. Each year we raise thousands for this worthy cause. Perhaps you’ll even donate something yourself!

At 9:10 we wrap up the final countdown of the auction and start opening doors to the next concert. The night is still young!

9:30 PM The Second PRO Concert begins featuring entirely different acts. Almost all the audience members from the first show also attend the second. It’s too tempting to miss!

11:30 PM Take the free shuttle back to Ruby Tuesday’s off the lobby of the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago-North Shore/Skokie to enjoy the Open Mic Afterglow. Groups and singers perform into the wee hours. Your group may take the stage, or perhaps you’ll jump up and join in harmony with one of the headliners. This is a great time to strut your stuff or just have fun.

Eventually, at some point, you may get some sleep. Or maybe not.

Either way, for many of our late night revelers, the next morning comes a little early. But with a bit of free breakfast at the hotel, we know you’ll rally.

Sunday at 9:30 AM take the hotel’s free shuttle 10 minutes to SingStrong or drive and enjoy free parking onsite.

10 AM Classes and coachings begin.

2 PM The Third Pro Concert begins featuring new groups, as well as brand new new sets from one or two of Saturday’s groups.

4 PM (approx) SingStrong comes to a close.

If you need to, feel free to take the free shuttle back to the hotel.

Or join attendees as they linger, wearily and joyfully, at local eateries, fondly recalling the weekend’s highlights, and accepting friend and follow requests on facebook and twitter.

Fill out a survey where you let us know what you loved and where we can improve. Tag yourself (or perhaps try in vain to untag yourself) in photos from the weekend. And let out that huge sigh that says, “That. Was. Awesome.”

Incredible harmonies. Lifelong friendships. The time of your life. All for a worthy cause.

That’s SingStrong.

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