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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Wilsor

The Real Group

Here we are, moving into the tail end of the summer season. As we look forward to the beginning of a new school year and a change in the light and the weather, let's let music accompany our transition.

Got a song you just love? Email to tell Jeff about it!


Back in the late 80s and 90s, there was a boom in the a cappella jazz scene. Particularly here in the Northwest, the popularity of vocal jazz festivals and tight group singing grew to quite a scene among high schools and colleges. At the example and call of groups like Take 6 and Rockapella, this niche world grew reach its height in the early aughts; it's sadly faded to a whisper of what it once was, though who could say why?

One of the premiere vocal groups of the time came out of Sweden. The Real Group began as five singers with extremely creative and complex arrangements, many of which became popular for school groups to attempt. All of the groups I was ever a part of did at least one of their arrangements. They are as playful and joyous as they are challenging for singers to navigate, making them excellent fodder for competitions and festivals.

I thought I'd share a two-fer of their songs today: the first is an example of the virtuosity of this group; the second is just a silly ditty that ends up being a ton of fun to hear. Everlasting classic "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" gets an energetic treatment, with notes and syllables flying all over the place and somehow always landing exactly where they belong. "Chili Con Carne" is a delightfully Swedish recipe for making chili! So ridiculous, and yet so much fun! The real takeaway, though, is the musical and spiritual work it takes to create such unified sounds from 5 voices. Unity is not easy. It's intricate, tedious work at times, but the reward is so very clear. I hope you enjoy a little something different on this Wednesday.



God of Harmony,

Thank you for the example this music gives of what unity can sound like.

We also pray for these, shared in worship this week:

  • Todd - for the family of his colleague who passed away, and gratitude for the chance to reconnect with old friends as they gathered to honor this man's life

  • Karen - for a visit from Gauntt's family, and the celebration of his retirement from the Air Force

Even in our separation, God, help us to feel the deep delight of your love for all. Amen.

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