April 15, 2014

2014 Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals line up

2013 National Champions - The Honey Whiskey Trio

After the Boston Regional this past weekend our line up for this year's National Finals is now complete. And what a season it has been so far with full houses and talented groups aplenty. It is always satisfying to have a wide variety of groups at the Finals and this year is a fine example. We have vocal jazz, contemporary, world, gospel and a young group from the Republic of Georgia that blends them all. With current champs The Honey Whiskey Trio hosting this promises to be a show most worthy of our 30th anniversary.

2014 National Finals line up:-

San Francisco - Prime Time
New York - The Quintessential Five
Mid-Atlantic - Catatonic
Chicago - 3AM
Boston - Women of the World
Pacific Northwest - SeaNote
Los Angeles - #FOURTY4

Hosted by 2013 National Champions - The Honey Whiskey Trio

Come and join us on May 17th and help celebrate our three decades of presenting some of the Nation's best a cappella groups.


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April 11, 2014

Take 6 inducted to Gospel Music Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Take 6 and The Gaither Vocal Band who have both been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Take 6 have released 18 albums and earned a total of 12 Grammy Awards and 5 Dove Awards, plus a Soul Train award. They were named Vocal Group of the Year by Black Radio Exclusive as well as Best Jazz Vocal group for 4 consecutive years in a Downbeat Readers Poll. Well done guys!

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April 8, 2014

Review - Pentatonix hit all the right notes

Boston Globe (MA):

It could be argued that Pentatonix is simply riding a wave of a cappella enthusiasm that has seen “Glee,” “The Sing-Off” (the group won the show’s third season) and “Pitch Perfect” make not-insubstantial pop-culture impacts in recent years. But timing alone can’t explain the quintet’s rock-star reception — complete with serenaded audience member overcome with freaked-out terror-joy — on Saturday at the first of two sold-out House of Blues shows. The fact of the matter is that Pentatonix is extremely good at what it does.

The group’s meticulousness was unmistakable, so much so that the democratic invitations for audience participation counterproductively undid the tightly packed arrangements. There was madrigal complexity, swing-jazz harmonies and vocals shooting across the stage from singer to singer like an auditory magic trick. Pentatonix’s rhythm was as precise as its pitch, if not more. It stopped and started on a dime countless times, and the group constantly pivoted as one.

It was so seemingly effortless that it occasionally served as a crutch. Two medleys, one of Beyoncé material and one of random pop through the decades (with some overlap between the two), moved so briskly from song to song with no apparent musical thread that they weren’t much more than nods of recognition and displays of Pentatonix’s ability to shift quickly. A Daft Punk medley was more successful by finding ways to put just a few songs in conversation with one another.
Read more.

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April 4, 2014

Paul Salamunovich, respected choral conductor, dies at 86

Los Angeles Times:

Paul Salamunovich, the widely respected choral conductor who led the Los Angeles Master Chorale for 10 years, died on Thursday. He was 86 and was suffering from multiple health complications due to West Nile virus.

Salamunovich served as music director of the Master Chorale from 1991 to 2001, and later became the organization's director emeritus. Under his leadership, the chorale continued to rise in international prominence and take on adventurous programming that put new music alongside classical standards.

As a conductor, Salamunovich also worked frequently in the movie industry, leading choral performances for the soundtracks of prominent movies including "A.I.," "Grand Canyon" and "Bram Stoker's Dracula."

In addition, he served for 50 years as the choir director at St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood. He brought his expertise in Gregorian chants and other ecclesiastical music to bear in numerous concerts, including an audience with Pope John Paul II.

Read more.

Posted by John at 1:22 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2014

Cast Sings Circle of Life on flight

The latest a cappella viral video clip with almost 7 million views in 24 hours is of the cast of the Lion King who, an their way to Australia, broke out singing "Circle of Life".

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March 27, 2014

An interview with Home Free


Home Free became a household name in America when they won the fourth season of NBC's "The Sing-Off". The a cappella quintet - made of Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist, Chris Rupp, Tim Foust and Adam Rupp - are currently on the road with "The Sing-off Tour" across the States but when that ends, the schedule will keep busy for Home Free.

A new CD, a new headlining tour in the Fall, covering One Direction's "Story of My Life" in their next YouTube video, or giving advise to future "The Sing-Off" contestants, check out all things Home Free's Chris Rupp had to tell us in our exclusive interview.

Read the interview.

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March 22, 2014

Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon and an iPad sing doo wop

The old chestnut "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" is given a modern spin when Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon sing a cappella - with the help of an iPad.

Posted by John at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2014

Cutest viral video yet

The latest viral video clip is the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences childrens choir performing Pharrell's big hit "Happy". This should make you smile.

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March 18, 2014

New TV show casting choirs

This looks like a good opportunity for a choir. The show is to air on the Oxygen Channel. More info here.

Posted by John at 8:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2014

A cappella “social media rock star” singing sibling

During her college years at Harvard, Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark, sang with a cappella group The Harvard Opportunes and sings nowadays with friends from Facebook in a local group called “feedbomb.” The former Facebook exec debuts March 14 in a two-week stint on Broadway singing in the musical “Rock of Ages.”

“I am nervous and excited and thrilled!” the 33-year-old New York native said during rehearsals for the show in which she is cast as Regina, a community leader.

The musical, nominated five times for a Tony Award, is marking its fifth anniversary (and 2,000 performances) by toasting its social network of fans with a month-long celebration called #RockofAge5, from March 14-April 14. Zuckerberg, who producers have hailed as a “social media rock star,” performs with the show from March 14-March 28. (Follow her at #RandiRocks.)

Posted by John at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2014

Obit for Paul Cooper

I only found out recently about the untimely passing of James Paul Cooper, a founding member of The Nylons, who performed with them from their early beginnings thru their international touring days. Here is his obituary by fellow founding member Claude Morrison.

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March 11, 2014

The Esoterics Explore the Choral High Seas

Sunbreak Magazine:

Vast and mysterious, calming and perilous, the ocean has been a source of inspiration for cultures around the world and a rich topic for generations of poets and musicians. This weekend, local choral ensemble The Esoterics celebrates the many moods of the sea with Oceana, a selection of contemporary vocal works spanning several continents.

Literary legend Melville was an experienced seafarer, his maritime voyages providing the fodder for a large collection of poetry as well as his classic novel Moby Dick. Banks’ These oceans vast arranges six of Melville’s poems in a loose narrative describing a journey through uncharted waters to faraway lands.

English composer Richard Rodney Bennett’s Sea change honors the work of three legendary British poets: Edmund Spenser, Andrew Marvell, and William Shakespeare. These three literary giants paint a picture of the sea as a powerful force full of mysterious isles and hungry sea monsters. Bennett’s experience with jazz and film scores is evident in the four-part Sea change, which injects the old poems with fresh musical character. Read more.

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March 7, 2014

2014 Harmony Sweepstakes A Capppela Festival begins

It’s is the 30 anniversary of the Harmony Sweepstakes and we have plenty of reasons to celebrate!

We have had a record amount of group entries this year and the talent is better than ever. We have singing lawyers, priests, scientists and plenty of professional performers. We have groups from Camaroon, Georgia Republic, Namibia and from across the US.

There are groups of every musical genre imaginable and the full breadth of vocal harmony is amply displayed.

The first two shows of the season, San Francisco and Mid Atlantic, are already sold out and our other events are expected to have full houses as well.

Tickets for the 30th annual National Finals go on sale this coming Monday March 10th. Held at the iconic Marin Center (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) in San Rafael, California - a 20 minute drive over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. If you want to hear the “best of the best” then how about planning a nice vacation here in beautiful Northern California? Hear top notch a cappella and see giant redwoods, San Francisco and the Wine Country all in the same day!

2014 Schedule:-

San Francisco - March 8
Mid-Atlantic - March 8
Pacific NW - March 15
New York - March 22
Chicago - March 29
Los Angeles - April 5
Boston - April 13

National Finals - May 17

More info on the web site:-

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