September 29, 2012
Super Mario Brothers a cappella
Here's a cute new clip featuring Julien Neel and Nick McKaig and their tribute to the Super Mario Brothers.
September 27, 2012
Pentatonix working on Christmas release
Pentatonix, the a cappella quintet that won the third season of NBC's "The Sing-off" and then went top 20 with their debut EP, has a Christmas EP and a January-to-April tour in the works.
Making their Los Angeles debut at a sold-out Roxy Theater, one of the group's lead singers, Scott Hoying, told the crowd "you didn't hear it from me" but the band would be back in L.A. around March. Their current run of shows -- 22 shows between Oct. 18 and Dec. 19 -- finds the Texas band taking a step up from clubs such as the Roxy to small theaters, a trend expected to continue in the new year.
Pentatonix 85-minute performance offered a mix of songs they performed on last season's "Sing-off" and their EP PTX, Vol. 1: recent hits such as Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," Nicki Minaj's "Starships," fun's "We Are Young," Beyonce's "Telephone," Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days are Over" and Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild." They have added to the mix a Katy Perry-Justin Bieber mash-up and Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" in a G-rated seduction of a fan brought onstage. During the show, they asked the audience to film a performance of "The Baddest Girl" and email their footage so the band can create a video for their original tune. Read more.
September 25, 2012
Pitch Perfect: Film Review
Pitch Perfect is an enjoyably snarky campus romp that’s both wildly nerdy and somewhat sexy. Set in the unlikely world of a cappella singing, this snappy, smart-mouthed comedy with tons of music offers choice opportunities for a bunch of young performers to pop out of the crowd while playing game characters searching for modes of self-expression. Girls, gays and music fanatics represent the core audience, but the good times also should go down easily with a wider in-the-know crowd.
A too-cool-for-you smarminess sheathes the cutthroat competitiveness at Barden U., where, on club recruiting day, The Bellas, an all-female a cappella group, urgently need new blood to have a chance of beating male rivals The Treblemakers, who prevailed in the national finals the previous spring.
With few options, The Bellas’ imperious blond leader, Aubrey (True Blood’s Anna Camp), and redheaded cohort Chloe (Brittany Snow) dragoon sullen freshman Beca (Anna Kendrick) into the group, though she’s an aspiring music producer who’s only at college because of pressure from her professor dad. Among other newbies are the hilariously self-deprecating Fat Amy (Bridesmaids’ Rebel Wilson); Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), an Asian Kewpie doll type who speaks more softly than a whisper; and Cynthia Rose (Ester Dean), a black teen so butch that Fat Amy thinks she’s a boy.
Snidely funny sexual-identity comedy suffuses the loose-limbed script by Kay Cannon (30 Rock, New Girl), which ardently embraces the “organized nerd singing” that is a cappella with none of the self-congratulatory righteousness of Glee. Although martinet Aubrey expressly bans all Bellas from mingling bodily fluids with any Treblemakers, which is fronted by the ultra-obnoxious but talented Bumper (Adam DeVine, of Comedy Central's Workaholics), Beca nonetheless is courted by group nice guy Jesse (Skyler Astin, Broadway's Spring Awakening), a wannabe film score composer whose way of putting a move on Beca is to show her what he considers the greatest movie sequence of all time: the ending of The Breakfast Club. Read more.
September 24, 2012
Broccoli Rob - an a cappella nemisis
Stephen Colbert will guest-star on this final season of The Office as Broccoli Rob, a former member of Here Comes Treble, Andy’s a cappella group. In the Halloween-themed episode, Andy (Ed Helms) discovers that the smarmy, competitive Broccoli Rob is singing a different tune about the history of the group and stirring up drama, which only intensifies the rivalry between these two frenemies. There have been passing references on the show in the past to such classic Treble singers as Broccoli Rob, but this season we'll finally get to meet one of the singers.
September 19, 2012
Choral singer shot, killed after rehearsal
Peter Marvit never missed rehearsal with the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, and this week, he showed up wearing one of his trademark ties — short, fat and brightly colored. After the three-hour practice concluded with “Carol of the Angels,” the music director, Tom Hall, told everyone “to drive safe and be well.”
But as Marvit, 51, returned to his Northeast Baltimore home, the scientist and contract researcher for the National Institutes of Health was gunned down Monday just steps from his front door in a seemingly random attack that police said Tuesday may have been a robbery.
Friends and colleagues described Marvit as witty and good-natured. Marvit, who had a psychology PhD, conducted research on hearing and worked to bring music education to impoverished city children.
“There was no one that I could think of who tried more diligently and with greater effort to expand [musical] opportunities for city schools students,” said Kelly Powers, director of the Baltimore Talent Education Center. “The senselessness — you hear that all the time, but that’s exactly what it is.” Read more.
As a regular contributor the the Brady Campaign I deplore the prevalence (and seeming reverence) of guns in this country. The ones who suffer are often the innocent like this poor fellow murdered on his way home from rehearsal.
September 18, 2012
New Mike Tompkins ‘Starships’ video
Here's the latest promotion from Universal Pictures for Pitch Perfect. One man a cappella sensation Mike Tompkins's version of “Starships,” featuring the film’s cast and over 300 user generated video submissions. Mike Tompkins recently collaborated as a producer and writer with Timbaland and has been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, NBC’s TODAY show and PerezHilton.com, among others. Mike's You Tube site has had over 100 million video views!
Review: Vocals to savor
San Francisco Chronicle:
In planning a thematic program, it always helps to cast your net as widely as possible. Friday's engaging program by the men's chorus Chanticleer, the opening salvo of the group's 35th season, took as its title "The Siren's Call," which gave license to explore a wide range of material touching on sex, love, death, temptation, and - when all else failed - fishermen.
Mostly, though, the concert at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music was an excuse to savor the group's vocal artistry, a combination that was by turns urgent and coolly suave. In its current incarnation, the 12-member ensemble boasts a smooth and soft-edged tonal blend, as well as a rhythmic responsiveness that keeps performances from getting too cushy. Read more.
September 17, 2012
Deepest a cappella performance a world record
The Ariadne Women's Chamber Choir of Sudbury, Ont., recently took its act two kilometres underground in Vale Inco Ltd.'s Creighton Mine in Sudbury - setting the new world record for the deepest a cappella performance.
Ten of the group's 12 members donned special coveralls, protective eyeglasses and hard hats and descended with miners into Vale Inco Ltd.'s Creighton Mine in an elevator known as "the cage."
They spent a morning in the mine's SNOLAB, the world's deepest underground laboratory used for advanced physics experiments, performing a variety of pieces including Canadian composer Christine Donkin's Magnificat, and Hodie, from Benjamin Britten's Christmas choral piece A Ceremony of Carols.
The Guinness world record for the deepest concert underground was at 1271 m (4,169 ft 11 in) below sea level at Pyhäsalmi Mine Oy, Pyhäjärvi, Finland and was performed by Agonizer (Finland).
September 11, 2012
Study Says Singing While Driving a Distraction
A new study suggests drivers’ car-aoke performances aren’t just a menace to their passengers’ ears but also to everyone else on the road. A Canadian researcher finds singing while driving impairs people’s abilities behind the wheel, increasing perceived mental workload and decreasing hazard awareness. The good news, however, is that belting out a tune is also linked to slower average speeds and better lane-keeping abilities, both of which could prove helpful on the highway.
The study, presented at the recent International Conference on Traffic & Transport Psychology in the Netherlands, adds to a growing body of research exploring the ways in which music is linked to driver distraction.
“These findings, while preliminary, suggest that drivers should try to avoid singing while driving, and even listening to music when driving — especially when the driving demand is high,” says study author Christina Rudin-Brown, pointing to bad weather and unfamiliar surroundings as examples.
The study used a simulator to assess performance on a driver distraction test, which involved a 6.6 km urban trip with four speed zones and a combination of expected and unexpected events (traffic light changes and a pedestrian stepping onto the street, respectively).
Prior to recruitment, all participants were asked to learn the lyrics to I’m a Believer, as performed by Smash Mouth, and Imagine, as performed by John Lennon. Test conditions included no music, music, and music with singing.
“Compared to when there was no music playing, singing participants drove more slowly, maintained a less consistent speed, and took somewhat longer to respond to potentially hazardous stimuli in the road ahead,” says Rudin-Brown, human factors specialist with Transport Canada’s Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate.
“But, unexpectedly, singing and listening to music were associated with better lane-keeping performance than the no-music condition.” Read more.
September 10, 2012
Dorothy McGuire dies
New York Times:
Dorothy McGuire Williamson, who reached the top of the pop charts in the 1950s with the McGuire Sisters, one of the era’s most popular vocal groups, and continued to harmonize with her two sisters on and off for another 50 years, died on Friday in Paradise Valley, Ariz. She was 84.
The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, said her son Rex Williamson.
Ms. McGuire and her sisters, Christine (the oldest) and Phyllis (the youngest and the lead singer), became pop stars at roughly the same time that rock ’n’ roll was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. But the McGuire Sisters’ music — like that of Perry Como, Patti Page and others of their generation — existed in a kind of parallel universe; the sweet, upbeat innocence of their hit songs like “Sincerely” and “Sugartime” (both of which reached No. 1) stood in stark contrast to rock ’n’ roll’s raucous energy, and the sisters’ genteel image — identical clothes, identical hairstyles, identical smiles — displayed not a trace of teenage angst or rebellion.
Dorothy McGuire was born on Feb. 13, 1928, in Middletown, Ohio. Her father, Asa, worked in a steel factory; her mother, the former Lillie Fultz, was an ordained minister at the First Church of God in Miamisburg, Ohio. She and her sisters discovered early on that they had a knack for singing in harmony, and their first public performances were in their mother’s church. Read more.
September 7, 2012
'Pitch Perfect' moved up a week
Love white girls beatboxing and unaccompanied Top 40 mashups? Then you’ll be excited to know that Universal has decided to release Pitch Perfect one week early. The musical comedy will hit select theaters on Friday, Sept. 28 before expanding to a previously scheduled wide release on Oct. 5.
“The decision to open the film in select theaters early resulted from a number of factors, led by the wildly positive moviegoer feedback for Pitch Perfect from early screenings and indicators of a very engaged core audience avidly anticipating its release,” the studio said in a release. “Universal is promoting Pitch Perfect with the most extensive screening campaign in the studio’s history.” Read more.
That's Rebel Wilson above who is helping create quite a buzz about the movie. Glad to see the film is getting some serious studio attention.