I volunteered a lot this year.

The Yonge Guns killin' it.

The Yonge Guns killin’ it at Acappellooza 2015.

Most of my PR experience has been through volunteer work. #GiveBloodTO, Project Fusion/Ready Aim Hire, PodCamp Toronto and currently…. choir stuff. Mainly organizing a giant concert in a pretty short period of time.

That’s right. This year, in addition to being thrown into a leadership funding position for PodCamp Toronto, I also organized a concert called Acappellooza that happened on March 1st. I’m part of the Varsity Jews, a choir that is loosely affiliated with U of T, and am on their executive team as UTAC (U of T Acappella Coalition) Liaison. My job was to make Acappellooza happen, an annual concert (in its tenth year) featuring four U of T a cappella choirs. Two identical concerts in one day, both with a capacity of 140. This year, I invited an amazing local barbershop quartet called the Yonge Guns to be our special guests, and chose UNITY as our charity. A couple of UNITY’s affiliated artists came and treated the crowd to spoken word, which was awesome. Oh yeah, I also made a group song happen.

I’d been told that all of this basically depended on me, which wasn’t too daunting of a task: I asked how last year went, planned the concert, delegated what I could and hustled the rest. I was worried about what could go wrong (in addition to massive stage fright at my first solos ever!), but planned everything right and assured myself that volunteer positions provide a safe space to learn.

I usually find events stressful, though Acappellooza made me reflect on all steps of event planning (I handled everything from venue, sound and lighting, communications, F&B, to ticket sales and donations), and I know how to do it now. There were a couple things I’d do better next year, but both concerts ran flawlessly and I’m told I was a pleasure to work with. I was thanked many times, and was presented with a bouquet of red roses onstage to boot.

How was the experience of organizing a concert, something I had never done before?

… It was really cool. I want to do more of it.


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