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February 19, 2004

Journal-Star

The English a cappella group The Swingle Singers will present four or five Beatles tunes, including "Because" and "You Never Give Me Your Money" from "Abbey Road," during their performance Wednesday at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. "Growing up, I thought they were nice songs to listen to," Swingle soprano and music director Joanna Forbes said in a phone interview from London. "When I began to study the music I realized more and more how incredible they were," she added. "I was overwhelmed by their quality."

Forbes, who was born in 1971, grew up listening to the Swingle Singers. She joined the group in 1998 and became its music director a year later. Today's roster also includes soprano Meinir Thomas, altos Kineret Erez and Johanna Marshall, tenors Tom Bullard and Richard Eteson and basses Tobias Hug and Jeremy Sadler. Since Swingle founded them, the Singers have recorded 47 albums and won five Grammys. Forbes said the Swingles have endured because audiences are "moved by the sound" of their voices. The group sings into microphones, but members use them to complement their voices rather than enhance them. "The mics give us an instrumental sound," she said.

And, yes, Ward Swingle still plays an important role with the group. The Singers, Forbes said, had lost touch with their founder in the late 1980s and 1990s, but Forbes has made it a point to bring him back into the fold. Ward is now the group's musical adviser. The Singers will rehearse from time to time at his residence in Paris. "We've been working closely together, and he's happy with the things we've been doing," Forbes said. "It's been lovely for me because we see eye to eye on a lot of things." Including singing the Beatles. "There have not been many bands with such fantastic original material," Forbes said of her English brethren. "They are great."

Posted by acapnews at February 19, 2004 9:26 AM

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