65 isn’t a hugely significant number. Its a common speed limit on highways. And it’s the nominal age of retirement.  Neither has terribly much to do with a cappella. But they are both indicative of limits, changes, and endings.  No joke, it has literally been 6 months since I last put out a show, and it’s time for me to fess up to myself and to everyone that The Acapodcast, at least as it is, is being retired.  And I’ll go into this in a bit, but I want to start with some thanks.

Thanks to all the groups who sent in music, or gave me the green light to put them on the show. Especially those in the first year, when podcasts were still fairly new, and The Acapodcast was a new thing with not a lot to show. It’s because of early groups responding to emails out of the blue from some random dude with no name or affiliation that I was able to build a show and a brand and get more and more for the listeners.

Thanks to fellow podcasters and audio wonks who contributed their knowledge. When I started I came with a knowledge of the computer side, but not the audio side, and the help was invaluable. A special nod to Brian Ibbott of Coverville fame for his write-ups on dealing with music licensing agencies. Similarly, thanks to all the other podcasters and websites and people who made a plug for me, mentioned me to their audience, or just told a friend.

Thanks to the a cappella community as a whole.  The folks at RARB, CASA, and every other a cappella community venue are some of the most passionate, and yet the most kind and supportive folks around.  Every hobby, niche or not, should have such a talented and dedicated community.

Thanks also to a few specific people who helped me turn the show into what it became.  Thanks to Tony Angeles for the artwork, and the enthusiasm.  Thanks to Deke Sharon for all the music, the bed tracks, and his humble cheerleading. Thanks to Joey C., Mr. Tim, and others who gave me something to measure up to and who unknowingly egged me on to be better.

Thanks most of all to all the listeners over the past 5 years. I never stopped hearing from fans, giving words of encouragement, suggestions, thanks, and compliments.  I’m a fundamentally shy guy by nature, and you rewarded me for putting myself out there.

So, why stop?  Well, basically, its because the show has kind of reached the point where it’s done what I’ve set out to do with it.  When I started 5 years ago I was interested in podcasting, and especially interested in podcasting a cappella. At the time I saw a big vacuum in that regard, one that I had the ability to fill.  At the time, podcasts were starting to take off, but a cappella was still far out of the mainstream.  I’d hoped that by starting the show I could reach out to a little bit more of that mainstream.  Now, I’m not saying that a cappella is mainstream yet, but face it, we’re closer than we’ve ever been.  I say this coming off the heels of the second season of the Sing-Off, including appearances in the Macy’s Day parade. I say this because I feel we’re now at the point where almost everyone has at least heard the term a cappella, and knows what it means.  I say this because more and more mainstream musicians are connecting with a cappella, from Naturally 7 touring with Michael Buble, to Ben Folds releasing an a cappella covers album.  I say this because shows like Glee are raising a global interest in vocal music, and the interest in voices as more than just the lead to a pop song.

I also set out to become more involved and connected with the a cappella community myself. To get to know more great artists and groups, fans and a cappella movers and shakers.  And I have.  It’s brought me to more concerts, festivals, and discussions than I would have thought possible.  As I mentioned, I’m not normally one to put myself out there. I was always the guy who sang the harmonies or the fundamentals, and not the soloist. So it was also a dare to myself, to be the front man on something. And since I have too much stage fright to front a group as a soloist, I started behind a microphone at my desk instead.

There are other reasons for wrapping up the show.  To be fair, my life is in a different place.  It’s been 5 years, and a lot can happen in five years.  I’ve changed jobs, gotten married, and bought a house.  And those are just the big things.  Putting out a regular show doesn’t fit in my life the way it used to.  And I care too much to phone it in.  Some might say I’m letting perfect be the enemy of good, and that any show is better than no show, but there’s more to it than that.  There is no reason for me to put out a subpar show now when there are so many good places for you to go that are way better avenues.  The rise of iTunes, Pandora, and YouTube make it far easier to find new and quality music.  Websites like the Acappella Blog and The Vocal Blog can give you more news and updates than I ever did.  Twitter and Facebook can keep you more connected to your favorite artists.  And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Mouth Off Podcast, where Dave and Chris do a better job at everything I was hoping to do than I could ever do.  Having two people, with a segments and updates format, a weekly album review, and a legitimate background in the hobby gives them more insight, authority, and connectedness than I ever had.  You might complain that they don’t play full songs, but trust me, the licenses for that are -not- cheap, and if the goal is to learn more about a cappella and to find great new music, it;s hard to do better than their show.

So where do I go from here? Where does the show go from here?  Well, I’m not going away.  The web site is staying up, I’m still on twitter and Facebook and email and forums.  For the third year I’m nominating for the CARA awards.  And I’m still going to more shows and listening to more a cappella than I did before all this started.  I’m going to be stepping back though, and looking for where I can next spend my energies to help out this community.  And yes, I’m open to suggestions.  I’m hoping to do more singing in 2011, as I haven’t been in a group since 2007, and haven’t done much singing at all since then.  I fear I’d have a hard time with even the warmups at this point.  I may even change things up and record a podcast now and again, but The Acapodcast as it has been is over.

So, in closing, thank you all for listening over the years, and for being a part of this with me.  I have been deeply humbled and honored by you.  It has been an amazing ride sharing the love of a cappella with all of you.