Tim Kasper is owner of Golden Openings of Florida, a Sarasota-based event planning company that specializes in staging innovative grand openings for businesses.

"My best friend and I started an a cappella group while we were attending a performing arts high school in Fargo, N.D. We'd play as many dates as we could-the dental wives luncheon at the Holiday Inn, for example. We were getting paid, but not much; we were doing it for fun.

Then in college we became part of this four-man a cappella group called The Blenders. When a new guy joined the group who was really good, I thought, 'we've really got something here,' so we got a manager and started touring. And before we knew it, we were doing over 200 dates a year-colleges, small theaters, fairs and festivals, private corporate stuff, you name it.

Our first real show was opening for Bowser from Sha-Na-Na and Peter Noone from Herman's Hermits at Iron World, an outdoor amphitheater in northern Minnesota. I was 21 or 22 years old. We probably made only $500 bucks among all four of us.

Back then, in the early 1990s, we were considered pioneers of the new a cappella, like Rockapella, The Bobs and The Nylons. Since then we've opened for comedians like Howie Mandel and Jay Leno, and lots of bands like Savage Garden, and Lou Rawls. Today, our performance fees range from $10,000 to $20,000, depending on the event.

We've made seven albums. Our two Christmas albums have sold very well; When It Snows came out in 2002 and reached number 34 on the Billboard holiday music chart. It sold between 50,000 and 100,000 copies. And we recorded some pop stuff that was number one in Norway.

"The guys started having families and we reached the 10-year mark, so we decided to slow down. Now we just do 18 Christmas shows each year at 1,000- to 3,000-seat theaters, mostly in the Midwest.

The funny thing was, it all kind of fell in my lap; we started touring and I said, 'Oh my god, we're booked for the next year and a half.'"

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