Imagine getting a bunch of your friends together to organise a small music festival. Now imagine asking the Rolling Stones to headline - and Mick, Keith and co saying yes.
The second VoCo Festival (VoCo is short for Voice Community), in Auckland from Tuesday to Saturday, can't quite boast the Stones, but the celebration of unaccompanied vocal music has managed to attract The Real Group, arguably the world's leading pop a capella ensemble.
It's quite a coup and while the organisers are all committed choral singers, none is a professional musician or even arts administrator. VoCo's driving force and artistic director Brian Lee has been involved in barbershop and choral singing since 2000, but in his day job he's an international business consultant.
VoCo, however, is a labour of love, not a business proposition.
"It's an opportunity to bring people together, that's number one for us," Lee says.
"It's a chance to share what we do from a community level, where people just love singing, to the professional level, where groups like The Real Group give us something to aspire to."
For their part, The Real Group is happy to travel from its base in Sweden, not only to sing but also to offer encouragement and mentorship. It's a long way from performing at the opening ceremony of a soccer world cup, as the group did in 2002, but sharing experience is part of The Real Group's philosophy, says baritone Morten Vinther.
"I think we have insights into things that people who don't rehearse as much as we do might not, so we want to share the ideas we've run in to," Vinther says, adding that it's not a one-way exchange. "We also look for inspiration - and it is truly inspiring to work with other musicians. "To hear people sing and to be part of their process is rewarding, both as a teacher and a musician."
Vinther points to a tradition of massed singing in Scandinavia, citing a study which showed that, along with the church, choirs offer the most important social gathering points in that part of the world, ahead of sports teams.
A capella is New Zealand music's quiet achiever. In 2020, Auckland hosts the World Symposium on Choral Music; The Musical Island Boys won the International Barbershop Award in 2014 and our best classical choirs, often led by the legendary Karen Grylls, are world-class with international trophies to prove it.
Lee is a former University of Auckland student of Grylls', and credits her with inspiring him at a time when he was ready to give up music.
"She took me aside and gave me a different point of view; what the job of conducting is and what music-making is. A lot of what's being done in New Zealand choral singing is because of her."
It's a cold night in a cold room at Baradene College, where the Stellar Singers gather to rehearse. Everyone's wrapped up and there are coughs, splutters and congested noses.
"So many of us have sniffles," a young singer warns. "We're going to sound terrible."
They don't. Launching into the Erroll Garner/Johnny Burke standard, Misty, they sound lovely. Conducting, Lee is animated, encouraging and emphasises having fun. While Lee is not exacting, he is exact.
The choir is rehearsing Sankta Lucia, the Swedish version of a famous Neapolitan folk song, when Lee introduces a couple of latecomers. They're not here to sing; they're Swedes Lee has enlisted to ensure correct pronunciation.
The Real Group's Vinther, a Dane living in Sweden, might appreciate that though, like Lee, he prizes the social aspects of singing above accuracy.
"People want to sing and people want to sing together," says Vinther.
What: VoCo Festival 2017
Where and when: Various Auckland venues, September 19-24