Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


Kickapoo High Quarterly


A Ca-Chief!

Graduate Lily Jackson attended an audition-only program in Los Angeles, California run by former Pentatonix member, Avi Kaplan.
Photo by Chester Capistrano
A Capella Academy members having a dance break after a long day of recording and rehearsal.

  The A Cappella Academy in Los Angeles, California is a prestigious ten-day camp for students ages 12 to 18. A Cappella Academy is an audition-only program designed to create and inspire new, young vocalists.

    In 2014, the program started from one tweet posted by former Pentatonix member, Avi Kaplan. 

    “Ok. I’m buying a plot of land, building a large log cabin for my future family, and putting together an a cappella camp every summer,” Kaplan said.

   Co-founders Robert Diaz and Ben Bram saw the social media post and decided to make Kaplan’s imagination a reality. 

    The plot of land and log cabin became a college campus and dormitories but still holds all of the magic Kaplan once imagined. 

   The program only accepts 80 students out of hundreds that audition. Former student Lily Jackson was among those 80 accepted.  Jackson actually attended the camp 2 summers in a row.

   Jackson first sent the information her junior year through the app BAND, which is something directors and students use to communicate. while she was in the Ozarks Choir. Her director urged all of the students to audition and Jackson was uninterested. 

    “I saw a TikTok about it and thought it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t that into acappella and I had never even been to California,” Jackson said. 

   Jackson’s friends told her that they were auditioning as well and that she needed to do it with them. 

    “By the time I had actually considered doing it, it was the night of the deadline and I just realized it wasn’t worth it to stress out about,” Jackson said.

   The morning after, she checked the website and realized they extended the deadline. 

    “It felt like a sign that I needed to audition,” Jackson said. 

   A couple weeks later, Jackson got in! She was beyond thrilled and excited to start a new amazing opportunity. 

   When auditioning, you choose a song best suited for your vocal range, upload a video of you singing said song to YouTube, and submit it to the academy.

   “When I first went, there really wasn’t that much information out about what you would go through. However, we did get a packing list and what documents we would need. They were very thorough on the traveling portion, just not really what you would experience while you were there, which was honestly cool because it added to the mystery of it,” Jackson said. 

   When you arrive, you stay in the dorms provided at the campus.

    “The architecture surrounding the campus was just so gorgeous and seeing the mountains every morning was so amazing,” Jackson said. 

   While at the academy the students are  well taken care of.  

   “We went down to the beach one year, and they catered an entire Mexican food spread. They also had a huge bonfire and beach volleyball. It was just so cool, especially since I had never been to the beach,” Jackson said.

    The students frequently had breakfast together  and usually, the founders would be found sitting right there among them.

     “I sat next to Avi Kaplan at breakfast and I don’t even remember what we talked about. I just was too nervous and I couldn’t stop looking at him. I was a huge Pentatonix fan growing up, and just being able to train under him was a dream come true” Jackson said.

   At the end of the stay, they do a big showcase where you show off everything that has been worked on all 10 days. 

   “We got to walk a red carpet and they hired real photographers to make it look like paparazzi, and we all just felt famous,” Jackson said.

  Overall, this is an amazing experience for those seriously interested in acappella.  Applications were due February 1, 2024, and applicants were notified of their results on February 15, 2024. 

    Auditions for the following summer will be announced around August of 2024.

    “If I could tell anyone anything about auditioning, I would say just do it. You have nothing to lose, and it is an amazing experience if you get in. If you don’t try again next year,” Jackson said. 

Lily Jackson posing with founders Avi Kaplan (right) and Ben Bram (left) at their big showcase on the last day of camp. (Photo by Lily Jackson)

     Here are links to Lily Jacksons video!


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About the Contributor
Aubree Sims, Reporter