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October 7, 2009

Tufts singers on NBC ... maybe

Boston Globe

The all-male a capella group at Tufts University hopes to be able to share its glee with the world on NBC this winter. Problem is, it needs permission. The Beelzebubs -- known for their instrument-free renditions of songs such as Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time" and Beck's "Debra" -- were chosen to appear on the upcoming NBC reality competition "The Sing-Off," which is being produced by local moviemaker Sam Weisman.

But when the group asked Tufts academic dean James Glaser for permission to miss class to fly to LA for the show next month, he wasn't as supportive as they expected. According to 20-year-old 'Bubs leader Eli Seidman, Glaser didn't technically forbid the group from participating in the reality show, but he declined to give permission for members to miss class. "Maybe I'm a little naive when it comes to this, but I figured it would be an easy sell," Seidman said, adding that colleges often let athletes out of class for games. "This is prime-time television. I figured it would be good for Tufts pride."

Seidman, who says the 'Bubs were the only college ensemble chosen for the show, told us that NBC gave the group a deadline of tomorrow to get permission to participate. Glazer was not available for comment yesterday, but Tufts spokeswoman Kim Thurler said the 'Bubs have been encouraged to talk to their many professors to get permission to miss class during production. That's how it works, even for athletes, she said: students have to check with each professor before missing class.

Of course, how much class they miss will depend on how well the 'Bubs do. If they stay in the competition, they could miss the end of the semester and part of finals. Seidman said that so far, profs have been supportive and are giving time off, but the group is under the gun to get endorsements from all instructors for all members. It's been a lot of running around and last-minute negotiation. "It would just be a bummer if it didn't work out," Seidman said. "The guys have been working so hard." "Sing-Off" will air as four two-hour episodes starting Dec. 14.

Posted by acapnews at October 7, 2009 12:00 AM

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