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CAL Group Highlight: Capital Blend

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Capital Blend is an all-female a cappella group based in the DC area that has been going strong since 2008. They are a group of women who come from all walks of life and range in age from 23 to thirtysomething. Last year, they released their first EP, First Cup, which won an award at this year’s CARA Awards (Best CAL Song – “Because”). This will mark the first time the group will be attending the festival together, and they couldn’t be more excited!

How was your group formed?
Shana Jacobus, our Musical Director, and Erika Cogliani, our President, were both working at the same company, and both were looking to start some sort of office choir or a cappella group. A couple of others joined, and that how Capital Blend got its start!

What style of music does your group perform?
Mostly contemporary stuff, lots of pop, rock, R&B, country, and oldies. We’ve also performed some Broadway, and have even performed songs that were written by some of our members!

What was a challenge your group faced early on and how did you overcome it?
I think one challenge we continue to face in our group is people leaving the group after a few years. DC is a total transplant city, and a lot of our members move here because they were able to snag a job here after graduating college. A few years later, they leave the city (and us, sadly) for grad school or another job opportunity. The number one reason people leave our group is to go to Harvard (three members in two years, haha). It’s not something you really overcome, but it’s a big reason why we’ve always been a larger group than many of our other CAL contemporaries. I think it’s also really helped to have a larger age range in our group. A lot of groups in DC are made up of mostly members who are under 30, so having a group where half of our members are a little older and will probably end up staying longer than a year or two has been great for keeping CB going these past five years.

What has been your group’s most defining moment?
We won a CARA Award this year, which was really awesome, but I think our most defining moment happened last year, when we sang at the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary celebration on the National Mall. We performed for an audience of 100,000+ people. It was insane, and I think it really made us realize that one of our biggest goals in CB is spreading female empowerment through song. Since that event, we’ve gigged at several women-related conferences (AAUW, WOW, Ladies DC), performed at a Women’s History Month event at the Smithsonian, and sung the National Anthem at two Washington Mystics (our WNBA team) games and a DC Rollergirls (a local roller derby league) bout. These types of events always end up being our favorite performances because we forget about the little things (uncomfortable shoes, singing the one song we’ve sung 1,000+ times, being stuck in a cramped space in a packed room) and remember why we all auditioned for this group how ever many years ago.

How has your group benefitted from being a member of CAL?
CAL has been a great networking tool. When you don’t have a member who’s on the CASA board, it can be hard to really get into CASA-related events and feel like you’re a part of the a cappella community. It’s also difficult when you’re a post-collegiate group to figure out your niche. You’re not quite a professional group, since you all have jobs that take priority over a cappella, but you want it to be a little more serious than just getting together and singing in someone’s basement. Reading about other CAL groups’ experiences on Facebook, forums, and other social media outlets has helped us figure out goals for our own group and given us ideas for arrangements, gigs, and even performance attire, haha.


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