October 30, 2003

Yale Daily News

Rory Gilmore, the main character of the WB's primetime drama "Gilmore Girls" who is in the middle of her freshman year at Yale has already seen a naked boy in her entryway, asked a classmate out, and experienced life in Durfee. And now she will participate in another Yale tradition -- watching the Whiffenpoofs perform.

The all-male, all-senior Whiffenpoofs, Yale's oldest a cappella group, recently finished filming the Nov. 11 episode of the show, which is now in its fourth season. But Whiffenpoof member Brian Stromquist '04 said the Whiffenpoofs enjoyed their trip to California where the show is taped. "We got to fly out and live it up in a great hotel, and the WB paid for everything," Stromquist said. More

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Daily Northwestern

Free of shame or accompaniment

A cappella has taken over Northwestern. At this very moment, there are 12 a cappella groups operating on the NU campus, averaging 15 members each -- and that's not even including groupies, occasional a cappella listeners, and those who liked that period in the '80s when Billy Joel did "The Longest Time" and Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" topped the charts.

Each group offers its own unique spin on the genre, and with an ever-increasing interest in the program, NU's men and women of a cappella have gained cult-like status. Their members, laughed off in high school for their rhythmic and vocal talents or their uncanny abilities to beat-box, are now increasingly sought-after. Next stop, world domination.

"I wasn't a big fan of a cappella before I came here, but there's so many good groups I've kind of been converted," says Weinberg sophomore John McGlothlin, who is just one of many "converted" who see the inherent beauty of men singing in falsetto over catchy bass lines. More

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Shure Notes Wired or wireless?

Now that you've decided what type of transmitter you need - handheld or body-pack - and whether to go single-antenna or diversity, there's one more specification you need to consider. Are you going to convert audio signals into VHF (Very High Frequency) signals or UHF (Ultra High Frequency) operating frequencies? Wireless microphones come in both varieties.
While there are some differences in the radio behavior of VHF and UHF systems, there is no inherent difference in audio quality. However, because of the radio differences, the choice of VHF or UHF depends on the potential for interference and the number of wireless systems that may be needed. More

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Nashville Skyline

CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year nominees - Alabama, Diamond Rio, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar, Rascal Flatts.

Alabama is retiring and is therefore a sentimental favorite. The Chicks shot themselves in the feet. Upstarts Rascal Flatts may steal the trophy. Should win: Dixie Chicks. Will win: Rascal Flatts.

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New York Daily News

The Young People's Chorus of New York City has a whole lot of firsts to its name.
* The first children's chorus with a recording deal for a high-powered series of CDs.
* First American chorus to win first prize in major competitions in Spain, Czechoslovakia and British Columbia.
* First, multicultural chorus to work with the New York City public schools.
* First contemporary choral group to commission and present works written for children by living American composers. They also count Denyce Graves and -Celine Dion among collaborators.

Now YPC has become the city's first resident radio chorus.

John Schaefer, host of "Soundcheck," the program that features the chorus, heard about YPC from Kurt Masur and the New York Philharmonic. "There's been a longstanding interest here in having some kind of resident group," Schaefer says. "In Europe, all the larger radio stations have entire orchestras. Americans are getting the short end of the stick." More

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October 29, 2003


In 1962 Jimmy "Bro" Hayes invited the 30 or 40 guys he had been singing with at a basketball court to his house to get together a little group. Four guys showed up, and they went on to form pioneering a cappella legends The Persuasions. The last few albums of these giants of a cappella have applied their trademark harmonies to their favorite music—a gospel collection, a children's record, the music of Frank Zappa (who gave them their first record contract), the Beatles and the Grateful Dead. "A Cappella Dreams" is a tasty smorgasbord of 15 hits. "I Have a Dream" is a Solomon Burke song based on the words of Martin Luther King, three songs made famous by Elvis, Mac Davis' "In the Ghetto," "Don't" and "Good Luck Charm," Tom Jones' "She's A Lady," Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," "Ain't No Sunshine," the Four Tops' "When She Was My Girl," the Brook Benton song "Rainy Night in Georgia," Percy Mayfield's "Please Send Me Someone to Love" - these are anthems of a cappella soul. The Persuasions give us fans a gift with every recording and every live performance! Nice liner notes with all the lyrics. Available from our good friends at Primarily A Cappella
Listen to Ain't No Sunshine and I Have A Dream

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October 28, 2003

One of The Bobs founding members Gunnar Madsen has written the music for "The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World", a world premiere musical opening this week at The Powerhouse Theatre Company in Los Angeles. This original work is presented by The 2003 Hot Properties series, a collaboration of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and A.S.K. Theater Projects.

The Shaggs is the strange but true story of one of the worst bands in rock 'n roll history. The three Wiggin sisters: Dot, Betty and Helen recorded two albums before their father, Austin, died and the band died along with him. The Shaggs‚ first album, "Philosophy of the World", was recorded before the girls knew how to play their instruments. With the attention of Frank Zappa and NRBQ, it has since become a cult classic. The score of The Shaggs uses both original material and actual Shaggs music, traveling back and forth between the untapped, strange beauty in the Wiggin sisters and the weird, misshapen sound that came out of them. The play was inspired by a 1999 story in The New Yorker by Susan Orlean, the film rights to which were acquired by Tom Cruise. The Shaggs‚ life story is currently under option to Artisan Films

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October 27, 2003

Former collegiate a cappella singer Wentworth Miller has a featured roll in the new movie "The Human Stain" with Nichole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Then he landed a spot on the university's famed a cappella group, the Princeton Tigertones, which traveled all over the world. He was hooked on show business. After getting a degree in English, he moved west and took an entry level job with a Hollywood development company. "Here were all my friends starting law school and I was filing and taking orders for lunch," he said. And he started taking acting classes. "My parents were quite supportive even though they didn't know anything about acting -- except the part about the lack of a steady paycheck."

The Human Stain was Miller's first movie. He went straight from that to a supporting role in the sci-fi adventure "Underworld," which ended up making it into the theaters a month before this film.

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New York Times

The question of the night, though, was: How does Disney Hall sound? Already many concertgoers and critics have proclaimed it acoustical nirvana. From this first experience I was impressed but not enthralled by the acoustics.

Though it was an imaginative stroke to have the Los Angeles Master Chorale sing Gyorgy Ligeti's a cappella "Lux Aeterna," a 10-minute work of rapturously otherworldly sustained harmonies, placing the singers in the aisles on two sides of the hall was a miscalculation. All I could hear were the close-up voices of a handful of sopranos and high tenors standing right next to me.

The feeling of the space itself is critical to the pleasure of hearing music in the 2,265-seat Disney Hall, which is some 930 seats smaller than the Chandler. Working closing with the acousticians Yasuhisa Toyota and Minoru Nagata, Mr. Gehry has designed the auditorium in a way that makes it seem almost intimate. More

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Washington Post

The musical highlights of this first evening were two: Gyorgy Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna," a work for a cappella chorus that was sung by the Los Angeles Master Chorale under the direction of Grant Gershon, and the concluding "Rite of Spring," led by the Los Angeles Philharmonic's music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen. The Ligeti is a glorious, meticulous smearing of sound, its tone clusters paradoxically buzzing and bell-like. More

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San Antonio Times

Ladysmith Black Mambazo opened a Thursday evening concert singing a chord that would make a pipe organ jealous. The 10-voice a cappella group closed with a bit of shtick, at least it probably was shtick, that's destined to be a showbiz classic. In between, the kinetic troupe from Ladysmith Township, South Africa staged a 90-minute show that obliterated language and cultural barriers via song, dance and humor. Ladysmith also proved to a demographer-puzzling audience of 1,000 in Trinity University's Laurie Auditorium that it just might be possible to bring the people of the world together through harmony. More

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The Keystone

Brooklyn-based Grandfather Ridiculous blended funky jazz with hip-hop beats and feature Taylor McFerrin, son of jazz legend Bobby McFerrin, who provides hip-hop influenced vocals, crazy beat-boxing, sampling and FX skill. His unpredictable combination of spoken word, singing and vocal effects made him seem more like a scratched and scribbled turntable than a traditional vocalist. More

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Daily Princetonian

 Beginning at midnight last night, the FireHazards a cappella group performed "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at Theatre Intime. This is the fourth consecutive year the group has performed the show on the night of Princeton's Halloween festivities. "We play the movie in the background and have the actors on stage doing the scenes at the same time," said Paris Makell '04, who played Magenta in last year's performance.

The FireHazards were "founded with the goal of bringing a sense of community and love to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities," according to their website. The event has been very successful in past years, drawing many students in addition to some fans from off-campus, said Fairy Pardiwalla '05, president of the FireHazards. "We always have to turn people away," Makell said. More

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NCSU Technician

A Ladies in Red ritual at each concert, "Sh-boom" was sung by the girls with spunk and playfulness. As they exchanged silly glances at one another throughout the swing-your-arms-and-snap tune, it was obvious how much fun they were having - and how much they enjoyed each other's company and work. The Ladies chatted and giggled and threw in a few inside jokes right up until the pitch pipe blew and the next song ("Alone," by Heart) started. Hileman belted out the solo, and the background voices blended with ease, even when a spontaneous giggle would emerge at the sound of how low some of the girls' voices can actually get. More

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October 23, 2003

Against the backdrop of the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, two youths from the tough musical district of Cayo Hueso decide to form a vocal group. To those whose lives they briefly touched, Los Zafiros are legends. A musical phenomenon molded by their time and place, The Sapphires caused a sensation in Havana and beyond throughout the 1960’s and into the early ’70’s. Though they enjoyed international acclaim, touring widely throughout Europe, Los Zafiros have remained in relative obscurity throughout the U.S. as a result of the political climate of the cold war.

A movie about this Cuban doo wop group "Music From The Edge Of Time" directed by Lorenzo DeStefano is now playing the film festival circuit and is well worth catching.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Bonnie Raitt inveigled her old pal Tom Waits to join her on piano and sing a duet of "Sweet and Shiny Eyes," a song they knew from touring together a few years back when Jerry Ford was still president. Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, currently playing with Ozzy Osbourne, picked up his bass, and Norton Buffalo added a little harmonica.

Austin Willacy of hip-hop a cappella group the House Jacks encouraged the students to play instruments. "I have learned that if you sing and don't play in a band, you don't get heard," he said.

They were all sitting in a circle in the Russian Hill school cafeteria Tuesday afternoon, swapping songs with the music students, beneficiaries of a program called Little Kids Rock that brings music instruction to elementary schools in four states. While TV news, radio reporters and photographers recorded the session, Little Kids Rock Executive Director David Wish, a former Redwood City second-grade teacher, led the second-, third-, fourth- and fifth- graders in writing a song, while the professional rock musicians backed them up. More

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The Gay Men's Chorus of Washington's spring mainstage offering Love Is All You Need: A 1960s Extravaganza, performed last weekend at GWU’s Lisner Auditorium, gave the group plenty of room to do more than just make music. Dancing, acting, multimedia -- all were employed in full force to hearken back to one of the most distinctive decades in the American experience.

Musicianship in act one was at its highest in an appearance by the a cappella, tight-harmony ensemble Potomac Fever, performing a sparkling Dan Meyer arrangement of "The Girl from Ipanema" -- re-christened, naturally, "The Boy from Ipanema." An equally high point came as the chorus ended the act with a powerful rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" featuring strong solo work from Kerry Neal.

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The Walt Disney Concert Hall has been embraced as the centerpiece of a plan to rejuvenate a downtown that commuters flee by 6 p.m. The Los Angeles Master Chorale recently took the hall "for a test drive," in the words of chorale director Grant Gershon. "This hall rewards good singing," he said as a cappella singing rose up the gently sloped terraced seats into the balconies. The acoustics were designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, who worked on the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and with Gehry on the Bard College Performing Arts Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

The acoustics were designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, who worked on the Suntory Hall in Tokyo and with Gehry on the Bard College Performing Arts Center in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. Adjustable bowed strips of wood and curved surfaces produce a crisper sound without as much effort. The 2,265 seats, which surround the stage, are cradled in swooping panels of Douglas fir, creating a warm, intimate sound.

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In radio's latest twist on "American Idol," Clear Channel Communications' gospel station is getting into the act. WGCI-AM (1390) is inviting listeners to submit a cappella gospel performances (of one minute or less) on a videocassette. The winner of the Chicago Gospel Icon contest will record a song written and produced by Fred Hammond. More

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San Jose Mercury News

This is the kind of spirit that's kept the Mendicants a cappella group strong and alive on the Stanford University campus for 40 years:

"We did 36 serenades in about 15 hours," said Mendicant alum Mike LaHood, recalling a night in the late 1990s, "and we were really, really, really tired. We found ourselves behind Memorial Church. It was dark. We said, `See you later,' and stopped and just started singing. We got in this big circle and sang, `Last Night Was the End of the World.' The chords were ringing out. It was the middle of the night. No one else was around. We just had a fantastic time.''

An audience would have heard a lush, surround-sound blend of closely harmonized and spot-on pitched vocal music. It's the kind of sound that can melt the stiffest of backbones or lift the lowest of moods. More

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October 22, 2003

Nelson Mandala announced today the line up for a benefit concert for AIDS awareness to be held on November 29 in Cape Town, South Africa. Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be performing along with Britney Spears, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, Pink, Shakira, Bono, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Sting, the Corrs and others.

The extravaganza will be broadcast live over the Internet, and a 90-minute special will air on MTV on World AIDS Day, December 1. The event will be called 46664, a very personal number for Mandela "46664 was my prison number for over 18 years," he said. "I was imprisoned on Robben Island [and] known as just another number. Millions of people today infected with AIDS are just that — a number. They, too, are serving a prison sentence for life. No longer is AIDS just a disease, it is a human-rights issue." More

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It's not often that St. Louis hosts a significant American debut, but it happened on Friday night at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Tenebrae, a 28-voice British chorus founded and directed by former King's Singer Nigel Short, gave its first concert on this side of the Atlantic under the auspices of Cathedral Concerts, as a part of the English Festival. Judging by the high quality of the performance, it will not be the last time we hear them.

Tenebrae (the word means "shadows" or "darkness," and is the name of a candlelit service held during Holy Week) used the great space of the Cathedral Basilica better than any other group heard there in recent years. Under Short's direction, they turned the room's enormous reverberation time into an asset. The performance was lit primarily by candles, creating an evocative atmosphere and setting a tone of mystery.

The performance began with four basses processing down the center aisle singing a plainchant Requiem, then it segued seamlessly into John Tavener's gorgeous "Song for Athene." Singers were posted in different parts of the church, adding to the auditory interest level. More

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Cavalier Daily

This is the second in a three-part series on relationships. Part one featured dating between athletes and non-athletes. Part two emphasizes dating between a cappella singers and non-a-capella singers. Part three spotlights athletes who date each other and a cappella singers who date each other.

Although Akhavan and Hicks have been dating for only two months, Hicks said he has gained a new appreciation for a cappella in that time. Hicks owns a copy of the Silhooettes CD and said he plays it for himself when Akhavan isn't around, and also for others when they ask about his girlfriend. Hicks said he also makes sure he never misses live renditions of the songs.

"Before I knew her, I kind of just watched a cappella and just heard it. It was just entertainment," Hicks said. "But by paying more attention to the group and her, I can learn a lot about a cappella. I watch everything and look at the details such as who is directing, the choreography and how the percussion fits in." Akhavan, a member of the Silhooettes, was runner-up for the Contemporary a Cappella Society's Award for best collegiate soloist in the nation.

Both resident advisors, Hicks and Akhavan know the dorms are not exactly an ideal spot to practice a cappella. So Hicks often takes her to the Rotunda to sing. "It gives her adrenaline, and it is more exciting to sing from the top of the steps," Hicks said More

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October 21, 2003

Europe is fortunate to have quite a few music festivals which focus on the human voice including several that are a cappella. Coming up is the 3rd Annual Voice Mania International A Cappella Festival to be held Nov 7 - Dec 7 in Vienna, Austria. Over thirty groups from all over Europe (and beyond) are set to perform including The Flying Pickets, The Buddhas, Fool Moon, Intermezo, Mansound, Velvet Voices, The Idea Of North, Vocalica and Voice Male.

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La Scena Musicale
Daniel Taylor

As in any voice category, singers can and do use very different approaches to their vocal production. Today, there are basically two types of countertenor, one based on falsetto and the other on non-falsetto singing. The term falsetto refers to the effect of having air flow create a hole in the middle of the vocal folds. Emphasis is put on using the sinus as a focus of the resonance and the sound is then produced by the vibration of the tissue located on the sides of the vocal cords (see Peter Giles's book on the basic countertenor technique). Other countertenors vibrate their cords in the same way as most singers do. To demonstrate this phenomenon, both Andreas Scholl and I had our vocal cords filmed with a laryngoscope.

In our case as, in any other voice-type, the sounds are produced with the vocal cords stretched and therefore thinner, as pitch increases, thereby giving greater range to the normal voice. More

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October 20, 2003

2001 Harmony Sweepstakes champs Sixth Wave have been booked as one of the performing groups for the second of the three opening galas for the new Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, you know the city has been buzzing about the opening of the new concert hall for months and the opening galas are to be one of the social and musical events of this year. A different group will be performing in each performance space and Sixth Wave are scheduled to sing in Choral Hall, which is a rehearsal and recital hall built with voices in mind. To show off the acoustics of the space they will be performing both on and off mic and will also be making a few turns around the garden space.

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Renitta Jones, former accounting manager for VocalEssence, has been charged with embezzling nearly $150,000 from the Minneapolis choral-music ensemble between August 2001 and February 2003. Jones, who appeared voluntarily Friday in Hennepin County District Court, was arraigned on 10 felony counts, seven of theft by swindle or credit-card fraud using VocalEssence funds.

Jones wrote company checks to herself and friends, used a company credit card to pay personal debts and buy a Rolex watch, according to charges. She also opened a company credit card account in her name without authorization, charges said. The additional three counts involve fraudulent financing of a $58,000 Cadillac Escalade sport-utility vehicle from Anderson Cadillac of Golden Valley in February, under the alias Renitta Hervey.

Mary Ann Pulk, managing director of VocalEssence for the past eight months, said no background check had been performed on Jones before her hiring in May 2001. She had been charged with check forgery in Hennepin County in June 1995. "Since all of this unfolded we have instituted new procedures including background checks and cash management safeguards," Pulk said. VocalEssence, which has an annual budget of $1.3 million, has received insurance settlements covering part of the loss.

"This is a significant amount, but we see some that are a lot higher in embezzlement cases for organizations of this size or smaller in both the private and nonprofit sectors," said Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. "The defendant was in a position of trust, which she used to commit the crime and to cover it up." Jones was released with no bail. Her next court appearance will be Oct. 30.

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Battle Creek Inquirer

If the wide-open mouths, raised eyebrows and swaying motions weren't enough, the message on buttons worn by members of the Cereal City Chorus explained it all -- "Singing is life...the rest is just details." The local men were among more than 800 a cappella singers spending the weekend in downtown Battle Creek for a chance to turn their hobby into some serious competition.

The Pioneer District of the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc., held its fall conference and competitions at W.K. Kellogg Auditorium and McCamly Plaza Hotel. The district includes barbershop singing groups from all over Michigan, along with Sault. Ste. Marie and Windsor, Canada.

"You're never mad at anyone when you're singing," said Roger Lewis, group member and president of the international society.

Barbershop singers are known for singing a cappella in a particular tone called seventh chord and a nostalgic mix of oldies songs. But the singers are quick to debunk popular stereotypes.

"The image is old guys that just came out of a bar, red and white-striped jackets, straw hats and not the best singing," said 32-year-old Don Slamka, a member of the 2003 international champion quartet, Power Play. "But I started when I was 12 and my whole family sings." More

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October 17, 2003

San Francisco Chronicle

Every society has its founding myth. In Sumeria, Nammu the sea goddess gave birth to Heaven and Earth. In what was to become the United States, a young man arose who couldn't tell a lie. For the Stanford Mendicants, it began with a 14-man surprise march into the dining hall of a women's dormitory.

"The women hushed," says Peary Spaght, who witnessed this miracle with his own eyes. "They didn't know what to expect. It could have been guys throwing water balloons. Then we broke out into 'Ride the Chariot.' By the end the women were cheering. "I think women like that kind of stuff."

For 40 years the Stanford Mendicants -- the school's first a cappella singing group -- has been making women happy and forging bonds between men. More

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Daily Trojan

A pack of people eagerly waiting to hear the SoCal VoCals, one of USC's a cappella groups, filled Ground Zero Wednesday night. The crowd's chatter grew louder to compete with the buzzing of the coffee machines and the monotonous background music of KSCR. Some waited patiently, holding camcorders and cameras to capture the event for themselves. A group of about 20 men and women walked single-file onto the stage. A hush quickly fell over the audience as they began singing a low, simple "bum bum."

Tenor Mike Hoi, junior, sang the opening performance, "Today," by the Smashing Pumpkins. The first performance was enhanced with the group's energetic vibe as members freely danced to the music and highlighted by a little eyebrow movement when Hoi sang, "I wanna turn you on." The performance received an eruption of cheers from the crowd, and as the show went on, the cheering only got louder. More

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Daily Camera

This isn't your father's a cappella — and that's exactly what Rol Sharette is trying to prove with his a cappella nights at the RedFish, a regular series designed to give vocal groups a foothold among Boulder's more rock-centric music clubs.

"People don't realize this," Sharette says, "but there's a good spread of a cappella groups that make a decent living traveling the country and performing. In a lot of cities, they'll have these series at restaurants on off nights. So I thought, 'Hey, we can try that here in Boulder.'"

"My initial intention for doing this was just to get some life and action into that back room on Monday nights," says Steve Shenk, RedFish's owner. "This just seemed like a good fit, and it's been great. It continues to build each week. It's a good family atmosphere, and I'd say once people come and see it once, they come back to all of the shows. "I probably get six to 10 people a night thanking me for putting this on as they walk out the door," he adds. "We've got a strong local following."

"I just admire their abilities," says one recent attendee, who turned into a repeat customer after her first trip to RedFish. "It's so hard to do what they do; you've got to know what you're doing. It's just so fun to watch the music they can make without any instruments." More

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Denver Post

After 17 years, 17 recordings and 1,000 performances at international festivals and in cities across North America, Anonymous 4 has decided to call it quits.

"There were some immediate events that made the timing of the decision specific to this coming summer," said founding member Marsha Genensky from her New York home, "but the general decision was partly based on the fact that we've been doing this for 17 glorious years and we've basically only known each other for these 17 years. The Anonymous 4's decision to disband came in part as a reaction to personal issues, such as Genensky's husband getting a promotion that will require the couple to move. At the same time, the group is simply getting older, and years on the road have more of an impact on singers than it does instrumentalists.

"The travel demands," she said, "and the various commitments are equally heavy in either case, but the demands on one's own body for vocal music really do take a toll. We don't have to carry those heavy cellos and things, but we have to carry our own instrument on our body and it's a lot to take care of." More

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New Zealand Herald

Alan Paul takes it in good spirit, although the question could have sounded very rude: Good Lord man, what took you so long?

At 54, Paul has only just got round to recording his debut solo album. The other members of the famous Manhattan Transfer quartet he has been with for 31 years have long since run parallel solo careers which makes Paul - with Another Place and Time - a late bloomer indeed.

"All things come in their time," he laughs. "I started working on one a few years ago but this fell into my lap. Maybe it was not feeling ready or not having a clear idea of what I wanted to do. But it culminated this year, and was an incredible project to work on because the publishing company had all the Hoagy Carmichael catalogue so I had the opportunity to pick any of those songs I wanted."  

"What we're most noted for is the four-part harmony, especially early in our career that was the sound. It was based on the Count Basie sax section - two altos and two tenors - and we tried to take that and apply it to whatever music we did, whether it was doowop or gospel. As we evolved the harmonies got more sophisticated and complex.

"When we got together, four-part was pretty much non-existent. Pop music was basically triads and you'd hear four-part in doo-wop groups and people like the Four Freshmen. But when Motown hit in, four-part was taboo, you couldn't have more than three parts. But because of our love for it we filled a niche." More

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October 15, 2003

The Ithaca Journal

Bass Eric Toyama foreground, leads a portion of the Dryden third grade students in taking the part of the bass drum as the a cappella singing group the Sons of Pitches worked with the assembled third grade students to form a three-piece vocal percussion section during a workshop at the Dryden Elementary School, Tuesday morning. Also with the group are Ross Mizrahi, left, and Ryan James, top leading the hi-hat cymbal section.

With 650 students sitting on the Dryden Elementary gym floor underneath student-crafted banners saying "Welcome SOP," the Ithaca a cappella group took the stage and started to sing. Toes tapped, kids bopped their heads and those who knew how to snapped.

SOP, also known as Sons of Pitches, spent all of Tuesday and half of today at the elementary school sharing their songs and their knowledge of music. "This is a great way to spread our love of music," Ross Mizrahi, an original member of the group, said. By dancing around, teaching kids 'The Sprinkler' -- a dance that involves simulating a lawn-watering device, singing falsetto while gargling water and serenading teachers, SOP took many approaches to sharing their passion. More

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Denver Post

Sunday's autumn-gold afternoon was part of a continuum that extended into the elegant, gold-leaf accents of Gates Concert Hall. Enveloped by such an inspiring confluence of art and nature, Cantus delivered a first-rate performance to a receptive audience.

The 10-member, all-male a cappella ensemble - performing as part of the Newman Center Presents inaugural series - delivered a program rich in variety, quality and depth. These twentysomethings obviously love what they do, and they do it well. Their genre-crossing musical phrasings were consistently polished and synchronized. More than once, their individual voices melded seamlessly, proof of marked control and unity of musical interpretation. More

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October 14, 2003

Hampton Union

(A journalist decides to join a chorus)

As the car door closes with an old clunk and I walk from the back of the First Congregational Church to its heavy, wooden double-door in the front, the nervous jangle is deep in my stomach. Just below the rib cage is a distantly familiar feeling. "I feel like I’m going on a freakin’ first date," I say aloud.

Nervous? Of course I’m nervous. I’m about to do something I haven’t done since I was an innocent. And I’m going to do it in public. Well, not exactly in public but with the public, with people I don’t know. As I walk through the doors, there’s no escaping it. I’m committed now. I am going to have to sing. More

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The London Times

(This journalist tries a cruise)

“Do the sopranos think the tenors are just a tiny bit flat on the last note?” asks Sir David Willcocks with a twinkle in his 83-year-old eye.

My mother and I are on a cruise of the Baltic with a Concerts from Scratch choir. The choir met for the first time as we sailed out of Dover aboard the Greek cruiser Triton, and 2,800 nautical miles later we have bonded into a harmonious unit, able to sing the most complicated of Renaissance madrigals. There are no auditions — an enjoyment of singing and an ability to read music are all that is required. Most of the 145 singers belong to their local choirs and a few are conductors; several people bring non-singing partners. Everybody soon makes friends and connections.

“Sometimes I put a hanky on my head to see how long it is before singers notice — it is remarkable how rarely they remember to look at the conductor,” Sir David says. Nobody is dismissed from his Scratch choirs, so I ask him what happens if someone really cannot sing. “That’s simple. If it is, say, a soprano, I say that their voice is so good that the tenors need their help; you can’t hear a soprano trying to sing among tenors. Or I might move a good tenor to the middle of the altos to improve them all.” I am amazed at what a good conductor can do to tighten up a motley bunch of singers and bring the anthems and madrigals alive. More

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Daily World

Members of Marcoux Corner each fill a crucial role that helps create Marcoux's great on-stage chemistry. Brent Thorson, the high tenor; Kevin Taylor, lead tenor; Josh Baesler, saucy baritone; and last but not least the most memorable part of Marcoux Corner, its bass......Eric Patenaude, whose deep incredibly resonant voice rattles every venue and leaves fans begging for more. More

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Colorado Daily News

What do you do for an encore? If you're the Ars Nova Singers, after 17 years you simply continue to offer some of the most exquisite and intelligently programmed choral concerts in the region. This stellar 40-voice semi-professional vocal ensemble, under the baton of Artistic Director Thomas Edward Morgan, has performed hundreds of concerts and released acclaimed recordings such as "All Sky," "A Flowerlet Bright" and "A Shadow and a Dream." The group is equally at home in both contemporary and ancient works for multiple voices, specializing in a capella music of the Renaissance and the 20th and 21st centuries. More

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Highly respected documentry maker Stanley Nelson, who recently won an Emmy and a Special Jury Prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival, is to direct a film about the 30 year career of Sweet Honey In The Rock.

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Pioneer launched its audiovisual product line-up for the rest of the year last week, with a remarkable demonstration of surround sound to remind us what technology is supposed to deliver. Six students from the Victorian College of the Arts were placed around a theatrette in Melbourne's ACMI centre.

Each performer wore an individual T-shirt -- front left, front right, centre, sub-woofer, back left and back right. Spotlights shone on each performer, and part-by-part, a sublime a cappella performance of Bill Withers' Lean On Me began. Each of the clear, sonorous voices was given solo parts from around the room, then joined by the others in stunning, six-part harmony.

However, it was what happened next that raised the hair. A recorded 5.1-channel encoded DVD of the same performance was put into one of the new players, and lo, each of the parts, from each of the six channels, was rendered electronically from exactly the same positions in the room. More

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October 13, 2003

Two members of the Flamingos, a Chicago doo-wop group popular in the 1950s, are seeking more than $US1 million in damages from PepsiCo, which they allege used their recordings in commercials without permission. Terry Johnson, 67, and Tommy Hunt, 70, claim that PepsiCo and Pepsi's advertising agency BBDO Worldwide Inc., failed a legal obligation to bargain directly with performers as well as with record companies.

The singers sued on Friday in US District Court in Chicago. "It's a big deal because a company used their artistic goodwill and their performance to sell products," attorney Steven Ames Brown of San Francisco said of his clients. "You shouldn't do that without consent, and you shouldn't do it without pay."

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Daily Herald

Eric Lane Barnes makes one prediction about a Captain Smartypants performance: "It's the most fun you can have while remaining in a legal state." Creating an ensemble was part of the job description when Baenes was hired in 2000 as assistant artistic director for the Seattle Men's Chorus.

Imagine the Kids in the Hall, the Capitol Steps and Monty Python pooling their talents and wrapped in a harmonic blanket and you have a glimpse into the nine-man pop-comedy show. Barnes accompanies the group on piano, although much is done a cappella. Smartypants wanders the musical landscape, hanging out with swing, doo-wop, barbershop and a number of other styles.

What's funny in the world of Captain Smartypants?

"We laugh at ourselves," Barnes said. "We don't believe there is any comedy in cruelty. I find if we laugh at ourselves first, it invites the audience to laugh at us and in turn at themselves. "The whole thing about losing hair ... most of the guys in the group are bald. It's a pointed comedy, but it's pointed at us. More

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Singers of a cappella counterpoint can direct the ear to shifting points of interest in the musical texture, or they can blend, balance and tune so precisely that all the voices can be taken in at once. The Scholars of London did some of both Saturday evening. At times, though, they managed neither. Such moments broke the spell, and Renaissance liturgical music is, above all, about maintaining a spell.

The Scholars sang an Early Music Now program of music from the repertoire of the Sistine Chapel. The St. Joseph Center Chapel, a high, narrow room just made to envelop the listener in sound, was just the place for it. When the singers were right on pitch, and they generally were, the chapel sang along with them and the air became a palpable, vibrating presence. When they were barely off, as they occasionally were, the resonance faded and the music shrank.

Blend had as much to do with it as pitch. The countertenor voice is not a pea from the same pod as the others, and Amps is altogether more brilliant in tone than the men. They make this combination work amazingly well, but they're working against the wind. More

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The New Tradition Chorus and the Chordiac Arrest quartet performed Sunday afternoon at a Habitat for Humanity fund-raiser that brought in about $24,000 between sponsors and ticket-holders. The money will go toward building a house for the Ruiz family and covering the cost of the fund-raiser.

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October 9, 2003


Full-company rehearsals of Harmony, the new Barry Manilow musical about The Comedian Harmonists, begin Oct. 13 toward the show's November run in Philadelphia. Bruce Sussman penned book and lyrics for the show, with music by Manilow. The pre-Broadway tryout begins Nov. 25 at the Forrest Theatre in Philly. The principal casting, including Tony Award nominee Brian D'Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success), was previously announced. The principal men have been rehearsing in recent days. The show was first mounted as a regional production at the La Jolla Playhouse in La Jolla, California in 1997, where it broke box-office records.

The Comedian Harmonists were also the subject of the Broadway show, Banned in Berlin, which had a run at the Helen Hayes Theatre in spring 1999. That 100 minute, intermissionless show utilized film, voiceover, projections and shadow puppetry and featured songs that became closely identified with the Harmonists. More

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Yale Daily News

The Baker's Dozen a cappella group may be evicted from their current house at 235 Dwight Street due to New Haven zoning regulations and bitter relations with neighbors, zoning officials announced. In order for the Baker's Dozen to remain in the house, Off Broadway -- the company which owns the property -- must appeal to the zoning board for a special-use permit, said Andrew Rizzo, head of the Office of Building Inspection and Enforcement. Neighbors who are frustrated with the group's loud parties have said they will likely oppose the appeal. Police have been called to the residence at 235 Dwight Street at least 28 times in the five years that the singing group has lived there. More

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A Buffalo Grove atheist is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against Wheeling Elementary School District 21 if the district doesn't remove a song from an upcoming choir program. Rob Sherman contends the song "Hashivenu" -- one of four songs picked to be sung at a Riley Elementary School choir program later this month -- offends his 10-year-old daughter's atheistic beliefs. Sherman's daughter, Dawn, participates in the extracurricular choir.

Dawn Sherman said she does not sing the song during rehearsals with the rest of the choir. She said she feels like an outcast when the rest of the students sing it. "It's kind of weird to be standing by myself and not singing, and it makes me feel different," she said. "It's like someone wants me to feel different." Sherman is also calling for the removal from the program of an African-American spiritual song containing references to the Lord. Sherman said the song is also offensive to his and his daughter's beliefs.

Sherman said he will file a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday seeking an injunction to prevent the songs from being sung if district officials do not pull them from the program by then. More

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An interview with Manhattan Transfer's Cheryll Bentyne in Jazz Review

The thing that keeps up coming is that we are so lucky that we get to sing for a living. Trying to keep a focus on that is very hard sometimes especially with the traveling and how difficult that’s become. We still have to go out and make a living on the road. That’s the part I have trouble with. I think we all do. We all have small children and some of them are growing faster than we’d like.

I have an 8-year-old daughter, Zoe, and Janis has a 9-year-old son. Tim’s youngest is 8 and Alan’s daughter is 20 now, but she went through the “road baby” thing first. In that sense I have a hard time leaving my daughter. This is my girl. When we started out we were on the road for months at a time. We were all single and didn’t have much to come home to. We were living our lives on the road. More

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October 8, 2003

Since 1957, the historic Alford Mansion in Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been home to the Barbershop Harmony Society. This beautiful Tudor-revival building was built in 1928 at a cost of more than $500,000 Depression-era dollars was sold in September 2003 for $1.6 million. The buyers will return it to use as a private residence. The sale followed a year-long study by the Harmony Hall Task Force, a blue-ribbon panel commissioned by the SPEBSQSA Board.

Society Executive Director Darryl Flinn said that leaving Harmony Hall will be bittersweet. “The sale of Harmony Hall will have several immediate benefits, which include the reduction of operating costs and maintenance expenses involved in managing two facilities, and an increase in efficiency by uniting the staff in one building. But it will be difficult to leave such a magnificent edifice that has served the staff and the Society so well for so long.”

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While the men may be a little sad to be leaving their headquarters the staff of Sweet Adleines International are overjoyed as they start moving into their brand spanking new 14,000 square feet building in Tulsa, this month. The two-story construction has been built in the flourishing South Tulsa neighborhood at the Ashton Creek Business Park. The Sweet Adelines International building features a modern stucco exterior and copper grating and gutters. A well-designed exterior and landscape surrounding the building proves to be very stylish. The new street address is 9110 S. Toledo, Tulsa, OK 74137.
Take a virtual tour

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The Hill

The newspaper that is for the US Congress says in a profile of legislative assistant Bill Parsons:-

During his undergraduate years at Harvard — where he founded the a cappella group Veritones along with actress Mira Sorvino — he spent a summer as an intern and a fall semester as a legislative correspondent for then-Rep. Robert Mrazek. More

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Bobby McFerrin sings "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies TV show, with GRAMMY winner Bela Fleck & The Flecktones on their recently released three-CD set called Little Worlds.

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October 7, 2003

Do you want to improve your singing? Learn some new arranging skills? Listen to a wide variety of a cappella groups? Or just hang out with like minded vocal harmony heads? Then you need to attend the A Cappella Summit.

The original and largest is the West Coast Summit, held every November in San Rafael, in Marin County just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. This year's performers include M-Pact, The Edlos, Kitka, Four Voices, Virtuose, Social Experiment, One Of Each, Out On A Clef, Overtones, Sam Rogers, Clockwork, Mosaic, Threshold Choir, Peninsula Harmony Chorus, Smorgaschord and more.

Classes, seminars and workshops are lead by Dave Stroud - Gabe Rutman - Jon Pilat - Andrew Chaiken - Joey Blake - Ed Cohn - Jessika Diamond - Larry Detwiler - David Saslav and more. The event is the weekend of Nov 8 / 9 and usually fills the 2,000 seat Frank Lloyd Wright designed auditorium.

The East Coast Summit is held in Boston a week earlier and this year features All About Buford (with Wes Carroll), Ball In The House, Blue Jupiter, Cadence, Duwende and Five O'Clock Shadow.

And now there is a new event in Durham, SC called the SoJam A Cappella Festival who are presenting Da Vinci's Notebook, No Joe, Blue Jupiter, 4:2:Five, Sean Altman and Andrew Chaiken.

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Teaching at the West Coast Summit is Dave Stroud, a much in demand vocal coach, who teachs the acclaimed Seth Riggs method known as "Speech Level Singing".

A Quick Intro to Speech Level Singing

Basically, if the larynx stays down and the vocal cords stay together from the very bottom of the vocal range to the very top everything is fine. This also applies to all vowel and consonant combinations through out any phrase. If at any point the larynx jumps up or down or the tone becomes breathy then there is something wrong with the vocal process.

The larynx is the big bump in the middle of the neck just below the chin. This houses the vocal cords and controls the process of swallowing. When the larynx moves up, the muscles around the cords act as a sphinchter and closes so as to prevent swallowing down the wind pipe and into the lungs. This is a very important process when you need to swallow, but it is a very poor process when you are trying to sing. If you place your hand on your larynx and yawn, you will find that you can bring your larynx down as well. This is a good way to learn what it feels like to have the larynx stay down. The end goal here is to be able to keep the larynx from moving down as well as up. It should stay completely still as you ascend and descend.

The vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, are a pair of soft tissue cords that are joined at the front of the larynx and extend back. When they close, the back end of the cords come together (connect), and the flow of air is temporarily stopped. When the pressure of air from the diaphram overcomes the pressure of the muscles holding the cords together, they are blown apart and sound is made when they close again due to the resonation created. Then once again the air pressure overcomes the muscle pressure and the process begins again. If a singer is singing an A above middle C, this process happens 440 times every second.

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October 6, 2003


The Advocate Messenger interviews Scott Leonard

"I think I always knew in the back of my head that I was not good enough to be a major league baseball player," he says. "I really wanted to be Elvis or Prince or Michael Jackson. Music was always kinda my real love. My mom and dad were musical, and I sang at church and sang in school groups sometimes."

"It's really fun," he notes simply. "We can travel around, do a hundred shows a year. I can go out and do two shows on a weekend, and come home and be with my family. We all have kids, so we don't want to go out for six months at a time. We can live wherever we want to live, we can do shows and entertain, and not totally be slaves to the group.

"I have a studio at my house in Tampa, and I make music here. Rockapella is a fun outlet. We've spent 12 years honing our sound and our image, sound-wise. Now we can apply that to whatever situation, be it a jingle or a new song. And, I've always loved male vocal harmony. Through the years I've been attracted to that, so it's fun to have my own here." More

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Penn College Green was bustling as members of the Fox News crew joined with performers from Penn and greater Philadelphia, including the Philadelphia Eagles' cheerleaders, Penn's cheerleaders, the 76ers' dancers, the Penn Band and Off the Beat and Chord on Blues a cappella groups, for the taping of Fox & Friends, the network's morning show.

"This was a great chance to get exposure," said Jun Park, a Wharton sophomore in Chord on Blues, who sang the National Anthem live on the air. "My family is at home watching this in Korea."

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October 5, 2003

The Bobs will be the subject of a concert documentary entitled The Bobs Remain The Same, which will be shot this fall at Worcester's famed Mechanics Hall.

The film will shoot largely on November 9, 2003, at the Mechanics Hall show, though producer/director Robert Newton and a film crew will shadow the four Bobs during the week leading up to the show.

The concert will feature the premiere of RHAPSODY IN BOB, in which singer/songwriter/pianist/frequent Bobs opener extraodinaire Bob Malone will play the famous Gershwin piano opus and The Bobs will sing the orchestra part. Although they promise to perform all but four pages of it, the arrangers promise Bobs-style reverence for the original masterpiece. (In other words, expect the usual straight-faced hijinkery.) More

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When Frank Sinatra recorded his ABC series in 1957 and '58, he also prerecorded high-quality, 35-mm films of himself singing while pianist Bill Miller played almost inaudibly in the background for use on the show, although many never aired. The result is a collection of pristine performances that are nearly a cappella.

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The Ottawa Citizen

Stan Rogers, who wrote what some consider Canada's second national anthem, Northwest Passage, was among the first six folk music heroes to receive recognition in the new Canadian Folk Music Walk of Fame. The winner was Stan Rogers' booming 1981 a cappella classic, Northwest Passage, recorded two years before his death in a Cincinnati, Ohio airplane fire.

"And that was a very good choice," said Mr. Rogers' widow, Ariel, who was on hand in Old Ottawa South yesterday to inaugurate the Music Walk of Fame. More

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October 4, 2003

Yale Herald

When the Bluedogs, Yale's newest—and perhaps most controversial—signing group, chose not to participate in this year's rush process, many assumed that the group's tumultuous career in the a cappella world had finally come to a close. But Yale hasn't heard the swan song of the Bluedogs just yet. In fact, the group remains viable, and is fighting to overcome its reputation of forever being in the doghouse. More

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October 3, 2003

Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions The Idea Of North

Australian Advertiser

Naomi Crellin was pondering her future last year when she got the phone call to fly to Sydney and audition for leading vocal quartet The Idea of North. "I'd been singing in about half-a-dozen different groups, none of which were full time," Crellin says. "My dream was to be in a full-time singing group, so really this phone call made the decision for me."

The decade-old group returns this weekend after sell-out shows around Adelaide during the Cabaret Festival in June. It has toured Japan since, resulting in some interesting experiences on packed subway trains. "Nick (Begbie), our tenor, found that commuters would lean against him and go to sleep. Because he was so tall, he was like their prop," Crellin says. "They somehow woke up to an internal clock and got off at their right stop." More

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This is the first of a series of tips that will appear regularily in this weblog.

How to replace a member of your quartet. Change singers, and you change a number of dynamics within your quartet. Riptide bass Jeff Selano looks a few factors to consider.

There’s more to it than finding a great voice and buying a suit

Just get together with three other good Barbershoppers and start singing—what’s so hard about that? If you’re forming a quartet, it really is about that simple. However, if you’re hoping to form a quartet that will grow and stay together longer than one or two contest cycles, things get more complicated. For a truly rewarding quartet experience, there’s more to do than find four compatible sets of vocal chords and get matching suits. More

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Louisville Courier Journal

The 2003 Beaux Arts Ball doesn't get under way until tomorrow night, but already whispers have begun to circulate that a group of out-of-towners named Winnie, Trixie, Rachel and Trampolina will steal the show. Better known as The The Kinsey Sicks, the San Francisco-based "dragapella" beautyshop quartet will entertain with their offbeat comedy and flawless a cappella singing at the annual black-tie gala. More

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Michael Hanawalt of Waverly, Iowa, came to St. Olaf planning to become an architect. As a freshman, he auditioned for the men’s a cappella group on campus, Cantus, and got in. Since then, his life has taken a turn from designing buildings, to singing, playing, arranging and performing music. Now, three years after graduation, Hanawalt is the executive director of Cantus, the St. Olaf – spawned male a cappella group known nation-wide.

Cantus employs 10 performers full-time, seven of which graduated from St. Olaf. “I think there is special chemistry between the entire group that stems from the seven of us being from St. Olaf College,” Hanawalt said. This week, Cantus will begin a 21-day tour of Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon, singing 10 concerts and conducting 10-15 educational outreach programs with school organizations. More

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October 2, 2003


California Online

Ladysmith Black Mambazo sings a form of traditional South African music called Isicathamiya, which was started by black mine workers. Poorly paid and living in run-down camps far from their families, the workers would entertain themselves on Saturday nights by singing songs into the late hours. Their quiet harmonies and light dance steps evolved so as not to wake up the camp security guards and earned them the name "Cothoza Mfana," or "tip-toe guys."

When the miners returned to their home towns, they took their music with them, and it spread, becoming so popular that singing competitions were started and quickly became the highlight of many towns' social calendars.

The genesis of Ladysmith Black Mambazo as a band came in the mid-1950s when Joseph Shabalala, a farmer from the town of Ladysmith, decided to seek his fortune in the nearby city of Durban. While working in a factory, he discovered he had a talent for singing and ended up joining several groups.

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Delta Democrat Times
The Manhattan Transfer - Gettin' hotter while exploring the soul

"Couldn't Be Hotter" is an apt title for this selection of songs performed by four well-seasoned voices, sauteed to perfection and lightly accented with instrumental solos for a veritable music feast. More

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For the past three days the popular usenet discussion group rec.music.a-cappella has mysteriously disappeared from Google groups. Sources say it's just a glitch and it should reappear soon.

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A write up on Marcoux Corner in the Lamar Daily.

With a great blend of humor and harmony, they cover five decades of music from the doo-wop style of the '50's to a more contemporary twist on many favorite songs. Marcoux always delivers a lively, entertaining and fun-filled show that grabs the attention of every audience member, regardless of age or musical preference. More

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The King's Singers upcoming U.S. tour schedule:-

October 7, 2003 Buffalo, NY 8:15 PM - October 8, 2003 Mentor, OH 7:30 PM - October 9, 2003 Mentor, OH 11:30 AM Master Class - October 10/11, 2003 Dayton, OH 8:30 PM - October 12, 2003 Oklahoma City, OK 7:30 PM - October 14, 2003 Columbus, NE 7:30 PM

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October 1, 2003

The Chicago Cubs took home the National League Central Division title Saturday, Sept. 27 in a double-header victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs franchise made additional history—an openly gay choral group sang the National Anthem. The Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, conducted by artistic director Patrick Sinozich, had more than 100 singers on the field.

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There will be an a cappella song in the soundtrack of the highly controversial Mel Gibson movie The Passion. Sung by Dolores O'Rioardan of The Cranberries who says "There is no music so I perform it as a raw vocal. It is sung in Latin, which I feel is going back to my roots as I studied Latin in school."

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A write up and review of The Standards in the Tullahoma News.

Once again, the group was received into CHS with much applause and many approving cheers. Many teens shared the sentiment of one onlooker who said that this was "the coolest thing to hit Manchester since Bonarroo." More

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Sweet Honey in the Rock have contributed a track for a new benefit CD entitled "Where We Live -- Stand For What You Stand On." The project is set for release September 30th and will be distributed globally through EMI and on EMI's Higher Octave label in North America. Proceeds from the CD will support Earthjustice's Where We Live campaign to promote the universal right to clean air and clean water.

The CD is a soulful collection of hard-to-find tracks include Mose Allison, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, John Hammond & Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Maria Muldaur & Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, The Neville Brothers, Tina Turner & Robert Cray and Lou Reed.

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