December 17, 2014

The Melodores win The Sing-off

Congratulations to The Melodores who took top honors on tonight's broadcast of the Sing-off. They are an all male collegiate group from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and did splendidly tonight and are most worthy winners of the contest.

Posted by John at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2014

Steve Carell sings barbershop

Steve Carell joined Jimmy Fallon's barbershop quartet The Ragtime Gals last night on the Tonight Show to sing Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing." Fun!

Posted by John at 4:09 PM | Comments (0)

The Sing-Off competing groups

Somewhat curiously NBC has still not announced the competing groups on the upcoming Sing-Off special nor seemingly sent out much publicity material but our a cappella sleuths have determined who this year's performing groups are.

A Squared
The Exchange
Timothy's Gift

The two hour special is to air on Wednesday Dec 17th 9/8C.

Above is a clip of Timothy's Gift who not only sings wonderfully but their organization does some great charity work.

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

December 10, 2014

Pioneer of a cappella music, Stan Krause to be honored

Nestled between a fish market and a Dunkin Donuts on Bergen Avenue is a true historical gem of Jersey City. The place is called Stan's Square Records and it is owned by a man named Stan Krause.

The walls of his store are covered with vinyl records from artists like Lionel Richie, Joe Tex, The Beatles, Nas, and Lorde. His customers all greet him by name and shake his hand. After 36 years in the same location, Krause is a neighborhood fixture.

He was also one of the biggest catalysts of the acapella movement of the sixties and seventies, and will be honored for his success December 12th inside the Council Chambers at City Hall.

"I never looked at it as success," said Krause, 76, of his career in the music industry. "Every record I ever put out was a love, every band I worked with was a love."

It was that self-assurance that led him to a group of Jersey City acapella singers named The Persuasions. Krause arranged a live show for The Persuasions at the State Theater in Journal Square in 1968, for which he would record a live album.

"It was a rainy Tuesday night around final exams time and we still drew a crowd of over 2,000 people," Krause remembers.

Through a friend, the record found its way into the hands of Frank Zappa, who brought the Persuasions under the wing of Reprise Records, which was founded by Frank Sinatra in 1960.

From then on, The Persuasions and Krause's fame grew exponentially. Stan toured all over Europe with the band, even meeting Eva, the woman he would marry, at a show in England.

He would go on to work with many famous acapella groups, including 14 Carat Soul, with whom he appeared on Saturday Night Live with in 1983.

"We made acapella music the sound of Jersey City," said Krause. "From Boston to Baltimore, everybody was listening to it."

Read more.

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

December 6, 2014

GRAMMY a cappella nominations

Great news! The Grammy nominations announced today have changed the name of the Best Arrangement award to include a cappella in the title! It is now Number 62. BEST ARRANGEMENT, INSTRUMENTAL OR A CAPPELLA.

How cool is that? And it comes as no surprise to see Pentatonix (along with Ben Bram) being nominated for their arrangement of "Daft Punk" on the PTX Vol 2 release.

And big congratulations to The Martins (pictured above) for the Best Roots Gospel Album nomination for their new release "A Cappella". Other a cappella nominations include New York Polyphony for "Sing Thee Nowell" in Best Small Ensemble Performance and Conspirare for "The Sacred Spirit of Russia" in the Best Choral Performance category.

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

November 23, 2014

Pitch Perfect 2 on cover of latest Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly:

SPOILER ALERT: The Barden Bellas have split up.

But before you scream “A ca-scuse me?!” it’s just a temporary separation. On this muggy June day in Baton Rouge, La., the cast of Pitch Perfect 2, the sequel to Universal’s sleeper about a college a cappella group, is pulling double duty. Rebel Wilson (returning as blunt bombshell Fat Amy) and Brittany Snow (back as dim bulb Chloe) are cloistered in the production offices, recording and preparing for dance rehearsal.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, Anna Kendrick and Skylar Astin, reprising their roles as vocal power couple Beca and Jesse, are shooting Beca’s first day of work as an intern at a recording company. “Any first-day jitters?” Jesse asks. “No,” Beca responds. “I’m just going to be moody and distant—artists love that, right?” If anyone has slight jitters, it’s the woman behind the camera: actress Elizabeth Banks (the Hunger Games franchise), who produced the original and appeared in a small role as sassy judge Gail. She’s now making her feature-directing debut. “This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever had,” she jokes during a break in shooting. “My first movie is this huge studio movie that a lot of people care about that also happens to be a musical with massive dance numbers. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Read more.

Posted by John at 2:45 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2014

A singing comet?

Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) has uncovered a mysterious ‘song’ that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is singing into space. The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased in this recording.

Listen here.

Posted by John at 2:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2014

Sing-Off details announced

From the press release:-

NBC will air a two-hour holiday special of its popular a cappella musical competition series “The Sing-Off” on Wednesday, Dec. 17 from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT. Six new groups will compete for a first-place prize of $50,000.

Returning judges Jewel and Shawn Stockman will be joined by Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump while Nick Lachey is once again set as host.

Well a scaled down version is better than no show at all. Will miss Ben Folds as judge. 50k and national TV exposure is pretty darn good I'd say

Posted by John at 10:27 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2014

The Hand That Rules the Chorus

New York Times:

Once the rehearsal process for a production at the Metropolitan Opera moves from basement rooms to the main auditorium, Donald Palumbo, the company’s chorus master since 2007, gets uncomfortable sitting down. He walks restlessly up and down the aisles, score in hand, watching the stage, conferring with the conductor, making notes in his head.

If there’s a break in the action, he races backstage to offer tips. That is how he tripped during a 2009 run-through of Rossini’s “Barbiere di Siviglia,” breaking a wrist. He conducted the offstage choruses in Verdi’s “Aida” later that day.

In a lull during a recent rehearsal for a rare revival of Shostakovich’s scorching “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk,” which opens Monday, Mr. Palumbo, 66, came upon a group of choristers waiting for a cue. Amid the raucous music of the opera’s wedding scene, he had detected a slight imperfection. “Make sure that F-sharp in the tenors isn’t too high,” he announced.

It is tiny observations like that, arriving by the dozen, that have transformed the Met’s chorus over the past seven years, from an inconsistent ensemble in the shadow of the company’s world-class orchestra to an equal partner currently excelling in the most challenging fall season in years. “What’s palpably different is that the commitment and the vitality of the group have been ignited again, and it functions very, very thrillingly,” James Levine, the Met’s music director, said in a phone interview.

Read more.

Posted by John at 4:16 PM | Comments (0)