August 29, 2012
Rolling in the Higgs
Daily Mail (UK):
A student excited by the result of the decades-long search for the Higgs Boson particle has paid his tribute ... in a cappella form. More than 70,000 YouTube viewers have already enjoyed Tim Blais's song, 'Rolling in the Higgs' - a parody of 'Rolling in The Deep' by soul singer Adele.
The student, from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, explains how the Higgs was found with perhaps the most lucid explanation ever set to music.
The fresh-faced student begins with: 'There's a collider under Geneva, reaching new energies that we've never achieved before', and then continues to lay out the scientific discovery - with his face popping up every time he starts a new harmony.
While 'gluons' and 'gauge tranformation' and '125 GeV' are not the most common words in pop history, they all find a place in Tim's song.
As this is a cappella, all the sounds in the video come from Tim's lips or throat, and the array of background singers were easy to find - they were all him. He describes himself as a 'harmony addict working on a master's in theoretical physics' who spent 60 hours to create the tribute. Read more.
August 28, 2012
Perform with Lady A!
Well here's a cool opportunity. Submit a video of your a cappella performance of any Lady Antebellum song and you have the chance to be a part of a special event with the group in Nashville this December. The offer includes airfare and accommodations (up to 10 members plus director for two nights) and looks like it could be big fun. All the details here.
August 27, 2012
The Bobs celebrate 30th birthday
In recent years, Bay Area a cappella comedians The Bobs have turned up at the Moisture Festival for three- or four-song sets on a surprisingly regular basis.
Which had me thinking: "Gee, the festival must be doing unusually well to have such a generous travel budget. Either that, or the Bobs love the Moisture Festival so much they pay their own airfare here."
It turns out that ever since chief songwriter/arranger Richard Bob Greene moved here in 2008, the Bobs have been a Seattle-based band, with three out of four members living here.
"Band" is the operative word. Between their mouth-percussion prowess, microphone trickery and unusual vocal talents, the Bobs never just sound like four people singing. And even when you're sure you've caught them veering from their a cappella track, things aren't what they appear.
Take, for instance, their cover of Spike Jones' "I Was a Teenage Brain Surgeon" (on their 2005 CD, "Rhapsody in Bob"). It features what surely has to be a theremin playing in the background.
Nope, said Greene in a recent interview at his bungalow near Fremont. That's actually Dan Bob Schumacher.
"Singing like a theremin, I guess," Greene chuckles. "Dan is, in the best sense of the word, a freak of nature." Read more.
August 23, 2012
Jimmy Fallon's barbershop quartet
Late Night's Jimmy Fallon decided to make good on a request from an audience member who wondered why they’d never heard a hybrid of reggae and barbershop music. Claiming to be a member of a reggae-loving barbershop quartet called the Ragtime Gals, they sang a rendition of “Sweat (A La La La Long)” from Inner Circle. Pretty good!
August 22, 2012
Electro Vocal Circus
Edinburgh Festival Guide:
The four-piece a cappella group from Finland return. Fork’s look and repertoire is much more glam rock than Glee, with one member being labelled as the ‘Legolas from hell’. They have an ever so slightly intimidating presence, but this only adds to their wacky performance.
Clad head to toe in black leather and PVC, the group make their way through a number of popular songs including hits by Lady Gaga, Queen and Muse; as well as a number from their homeland. Their live vocals are combined with loops and echoes, which means the lack of a band or backing track goes completely unmissed.
What was very noticeable was the audience’s enjoyment; the crowd needed barely any encouragement to get up on their feet and dance. The only aspect that could have been improved on was the song choices, as for every singalong hit there was another that did not work as well. However, the presence and energy that Fork bring to the stage cannot be doubted.
August 21, 2012
Low E bass singer found for choral work
Bass singer Tim Storms has won a competition to sing a note so low that it may never have been sung before.
Composer Paul Mealor launched the search last year to find a bass singer for his new choral work, which features a low E (41.203 Hertz) - over two octaves below middle C.
Storms beat a host of hopefuls to feature on the new album Tranquillity: Voices of Deep Calm with the St Petersburg Chamber Choir.
August 17, 2012
Study into benefits of singing proves positive impact on health
A pioneering research project to measure the value of singing for older people has revealed a consistently higher measure of health for those involved in community singing programmes.
The findings have also revealed singing groups for older people are cost-effective as a health promotion strategy. In the world’s first randomised controlled trial into the health benefits of community singing, conducted by the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University, the two year research project assessed the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness for older people taking part in singing groups and the impact it has on their physical and mental health.
Professor Stephen Clift, Director of Research at the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, said: “Our research has not only cemented previous studies that pointed to an increase in health benefits from community singing programmes, but also demonstrated that singing programmes are a cost-effective method of health promotion against NHS measures for this group of people.
“The design of the study has enabled us to put a value on the results which could ultimately result in substantial cost savings for the NHS and local authority adult services.” Read more.
August 16, 2012
Sing-Off in China
Here's a fun clip! Check out the complete episode 6 of the Chinese version of the Sing-Off which is currently airing in China.
August 11, 2012
New a cappella clip from Pitch Perfect
Well this is more like it. A West Side Story kinda fight number from the Pitch Perfect movie performed a cappella.
August 9, 2012
Be in the Pitch Perfect music video
Universal is holding a competition for singers who would like to be in the official music video for the upcoming "Pitch Perfect" movie. Entrants are asked to perform and submit an a cappella cover of Nicki Minaj‘s smash hit ‘Starships.’ Get all the details here.
August 8, 2012
High school choir director surrenders, sent to prison
Philly Burb (PA):
A William Tennent High School choir director and music teacher is in prison instead of touring the London Olympics with his singers. Eight of Tyrone Dinkins' female students turned to police after a school year of alleged groping and sexual innuendo.
Escorted by his wife and his attorney, Dinkins, 37, of Oreland, surrendered to police at district court in Warminster on Tuesday afternoon to face two felony counts of unlawful sexual contact with minors, four misdemeanor counts of corruption of minors, four misdemeanor counts of indecent assault and six counts of misdemeanor harassment involving eight students on school grounds during the past school year.
Dinkin's attorney, Mark Neff, asked that his client be released on his own recognizance, noting that Dinkins was surrendering his passport and came to court voluntarily. He said Dinkins' three children are in Montgomery County public schools and he lives in Oreland with his wife.
However, after District Judge Daniel Finello read Dinkins his rights, he ordered the music teacher held in county prison on $800,000 bail. The judge added that this was "one of the hardest and most disappointing" arraignments he has ever had to do.
Dinkins declined to comment as he was led to a constable's van to be taken to the prison. Read more.
August 6, 2012
Laughing all the way to The Blanks
The Sun (UK):
Ted’s Band shot to fame singing their maddening melodies on the smash hit US series which saw the show’s star Zach Braff — Dr John ‘JD’ Dorian — spend eight years trying to escape the quirky quartet. Now the group — real name The Blanks — are taking the Edinburgh Festival by storm.
Lead singer Sam Lloyd, who starred as Dr Ted Buckland in Scrubs, joked: “They have barricades at our gigs — to keep people in.
“We do most of the songs from Scrubs over 55 minutes. Any longer would be considered torture — or acapella-hella.”
The California quartet — all in their 40s — include bald singer Philip McNiven, bespectacled composer and songwriter Paul F Perry and hunky George Miserlis. Sam revealed: “We called ourselves The Blanks because when we say who we are, everyone stares at us with a blank expression. “But when we then say ‘Ted’s band from Scrubs’ everyone goes, ‘Oh yeah, you guys’.”
The Blanks were actually together before finding worldwide TV stardom. Sam explained: “I got on Scrubs as Ted and then one year at the cast and crew Christmas party I offered us up to sing a song. “So I did about 100 episodes as Ted without the band, but the 20 I did with The Blanks are the only ones anyone seems to remember.”