Suggestions from Greg Bowne, Webmaster at http://www.bacs.org/
Before you get started with your group, whether you’re auditioning, or whether you have a group of people in mind to sing with. By answering some of these questions below, you’ll have a smoother transition into becoming a group with a feel, as well as having a better chance of hitting the ground running. Some questions to consider are:
Say you have two friends who match your vocal ability and drive and goals for the group and you all sing different parts. If you’re aiming for a group of four or five, you can pretty much dictate the other voice parts you need, as well as define the group first, and add new members to fit that mold. If you’re aiming for a larger group, the newcomers are going to outnumber the initial members. You will likely have to re-think the group as it forms and solidifies and there may be some personnel changes as people decide they don’t want the group that just formed anymore. (Things happen.)
Post audition notices to news:rec.music.a-cappella and news:alt.music.a-cappella, as well as to bacs.org. Plan a half hour for each audition. Some things to do in an audition are: hear their range, pitch matching exercises, hear a solo, talk about their experience, have them sing with you (if you think they’re a possible match), and singing for them. You should also explain the group goals, and what you plan to sing. (See the next step) Make sure you’re all definitely sure about taking someone, but don’t let the good ones get away. Keep in touch with them and keep the process moving. If you have an odd feeling about someone, talk about it with the other members. One good test is the van test: could you spend seven hours in a van with this person without killing them or yourself? Would you still be happy they’re in the group? If no, then maybe they’re not the right person!
You can get arrangements from the CASA library. (See http://www.casa.org/ for information). The sooner you start learning songs, the better. You’ll need to have something to audition people on, and to let them hear what type of stuff you do as well as how you sing. As for choosing songs, sometimes it's good to bring in a recording of the song you'd like to do, and make sure the rest of the group likes it (or at least will tolerate singing it) before you work up an arrangement of it. Sometimes, however, a song that sounds great in a recording just doesn't cut it a cappella. Don't be afraid to abandon things along the way!