Acappella Memories: The Seat of Questioning

Acappella Classic

photo courtesy of Keith Lancaster

We (Acappella Classic) had a reunion concert in Amarillo last week. It was a wonderful time, and more events like this are planned. Most people probably don’t realize that these concerts are much more fun for us than for the crowd. Or, at least, that’s what we think.

When we get together, old stories and habits start popping up quickly. Most of the habits and antics would be senseless to you, as they are the product of so many years together on the road. Many of them are just plain stupid, but they made us laugh.

But the stories… there are countless stories to remember and share. For instance, one former member (who shall remain nameless in this entry) shared his approach for the ride home with the people who would be hosting us.

Some explanation is probably required. For the first few years of Acappella’s existence, we stayed almost exclusively in homes, usually members of the church where we sang. This continued from the beginning (1984) until somewhere around 1992. At that point we slowly started adding in hotels, until it became nothing but hotels a few years later.

Staying in homes was usually a great experience and I firmly believe that is one of the reasons we enjoyed such success early on. Some of those hosts have become lifelong friends. Still, it was tough in ways you wouldn’t expect unless you’ve experienced it. Every host home fed us like it was our last meal. I would wager I gained 200 pounds and lost 170 over my time with the group, due in large part to the fabulous food our host families offered us. Along with this, every host would want to talk to us until late into the evening, long after the concert was done and most sane people were long since sleeping. Between the lack of sleep and the food, we had to make some changes which is why the hotels started coming into play more often.

But I digress. Let me share about the “ride home.” This would vary somewhat, depending on whether or not the host knew who we were (oh yes, there were a good number who thought we were college kids or who didn’t come to the concert and had no clue). In general, the person who sat in the front seat took the brunt of all the questions. We would take turns being in the front – the seat of questioning. The guys in the back would relax and snicker at the Inquisition happening up front.

What amazed us was that you could always expect the same questions from town to town. Even more, when asked about their own city, the answers we’re always the same. Always. Our nameless member became very good at turning the tables.

There are three things that invariably came up in our conversations. This singer would intentionally take the front seat (what a selfless guy) and “innocently” go on the offensive.

Question 1: “I hear your city is growing pretty quickly.” This was a great lead off. The answer was almost always in the positive. The city is growing like crazy. Why, just last month they opened a new subdivision south of town. That new Walmart is always full, etc. etc. This was good for at least 5 minutes.

When the conversation started to taper off, he would follow up with Question 2: “Someone said your economy was hurting?” This was always good for 10 minutes of listening. The economy has slowed down terribly. Jobs are scarce. Prices are high, etc, etc. I could never figure out how the city was growing so fast with such a bad economy… but no matter.

I bet you know the answer to Question 3: “ What’s the weather like around here?” Does this sound familiar? Oh, it’s nice most of the time, but if you don’t like it, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change. We have the craziest weather. You can never trust what those weathermen say. Why, just last week we had a hailstorm followed by snow, etc, etc.

These three questions would generally get us home with the host carrying most of the conversation. Now, of course, I never did this. I am merely sharing the technique of one nameless member of the group. I would never do this.

Um… if there are any of my former hosts out there reading this, I certainly hope this doesn’t sound too familiar. If so, I apologize. <grin>


  1. Want to help re-do our website?

  2. I really could have used this the first time you drove us to your house after recording. 🙂

    I remember a lot of those drives on Firemen trips too. We met a lot of great people along the way.

  3. Mitch Gray says

    When I was a teen we always stayed in host homes whenever we attended youth events out of town. I remember the exact uncomfortableness you are talking about…it was even more odd as a teen. I always enjoyed interacting with adults but I always found it interesting to ask questions that would measure how active these adults were in their church. It was REALLY awkard and you could sense most of them thinking ‘why won’t this kid shutup.’ The best story was the house we stayed in my senior year with the tv from the early 50’s with an actual remote control that weighed at least 5 pounds and made a loud thumping noise when you pushed the inch and a half tall buttons! Good times!

  4. Rob Fraser says

    That was great to read! I remember it being worse for “interns” like myself being asked questions on the rides there and back. We were asked a lot too and really did not know what to say. My only regret is not documenting the 70 plus cities we went to over a course of 4 1/2 months. Thanks for all you’ve done and are still doing and for affording me the opportunity to be involved in one of the best experiences of my life! God bless.

  5. hahaha SPOT ON!!!!

  6. Kathy Irwin says

    I enjoyed reading about your trips to the host homes. I truly enjoyed taking you all aroaround northern Calif sight seeing good times to remember

    • garymoyers says

      Thanks Kathy. You guys were always at the top of our list. We really enjoyed our times with you. Thanks again!

  7. troy campbell says

    Just curious… I see Robert C Guy in this Amarillo concert. Did Robert C Guy move from Cali to Texas? Or did he just happen to be in Texas for this Aca Classic concert? He usually appears rarely with Acappella since he lives so far away in Cali. Just curious.
    P.S. Is Steve Reischl attending? He has never made any reunion appearances

    • garymoyers says

      Robert flew in for this event. It was good to have him join us. And I believe both he and Steve will be at the 30th event.

  8. Jonathan Paden says

    Wow, wish I had known this when I was on tour in college!

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