December 23, 2012
The Muppets: Ringing of the Bells
Almost four million people have viewed this clip of the Muppets sing Ringing of the Bells.
December 22, 2012
Musae - Mary, Did You Know
With its members spread over several cities we are glad that at least that Musae can sing a Christmas song for us virtually.
December 21, 2012
Real Group - Reindeer Rodeo
This will certainly bring a seasonal smile to all fans of the amazing Real Group with the Reindeer Rodeo. It's been a few years since I have seen them and watching this has made me determined to get them here to California.
December 20, 2012
Auditions for 2013 Harmony Sweepstakes
It's time again for a new season (our 29th) of the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival and we are as excited as always to discover new talent. Once again a cappella has enjoyed international exposure with the success of the recent hit movie Pitch Perfect. The movie showcased how fun a cappella competitions can be which is something we have known for a long time!
We are proud to have presented so many entertaining and talented groups and are looking again for groups who would like to participate. There are lots of great reasons to perform at the Harmony Sweeps including the pure joy of singing for such enthusiastic and appreciative audiences.
One fact we are very proud of is that 22 of the past 24 national champions are still performing today, most all in a professional capacity. Current champs Six Appeal have been keeping very busy since they won the National Finals with a full touring schedule and a top new agent.
As the inspiration for NBC’s The Sing-Off the Harmony Sweepstakes has been in the forefront of presenting and discovering top notch a cappella groups for almost three decades and we hope that this season your group can sing for us.
With the New Year comes new opportunity so come join the fun, you never know where it may take you.
Pacific NW (Olympia) - March 16
San Francisco – March 9
New York – March 30
Chicago - March 9
Mid-Atlantic (DC) – February 23
Los Angeles – April 6
Boston – April 14
National Finals May 18th
Regional champions win airfare and accommodation to go to San Francisco and compete in the National Finals in front of two thousand fans along with celebrity judges.
Interested groups should contact us soon as the application deadline is approaching. As long as you have 10 minutes of great a cappella music then we would love to hear from you!
Is your group larger than the 8 members we allow? How about creating a smaller group or two inside your ensemble? Maybe one for the boys and one for the girls? The rule is actually no more than 8 singers on stage at any one time so one can rotate singers during the set.
More info on web site:-
Tickets have just been put on sale for most events so get yourself great seats now.
Primarily A Cappella
A Cappella News
Let's get into the Christmas mood with another a cappella Christmas video. I'll feature one clip a day until Christmas. To kick things off here are 2005 Harmony Sweepstakes National Champions and Sing-Off finalists Groove For Thought singing First Noel at their recent gig at the Jazz Alley in Seattle.
If you have a Christmas video you would like me to feature then please send me the link.
December 19, 2012
Pentatonix's performance on the Tonight Show
For those who missed it here is the Pentatonix performance on the Tonight Show.
December 18, 2012
Cathedral has all-female choir for first time in 1,437 year history
A Welsh cathedral has an all-girl choir for the first time in its 1,437-year history. The 14 girls – aged seven to 17 – are the first female singers to lead services at Bangor Cathedral since it was established in the sixth century.
The cathedral has this Christmas broken with its ancient tradition going back to 575AD of only allowing boys and men to sing.
The dean of Bangor, the Very Rev Dr Sue Jones, said the all-girls choir was her idea. She said: “I saw it as my mission to try to encourage and bring girls into the worshiping life of the cathedral.
“There is a problem getting boys to join the cathedral choir. I think it’s not cool in society for boys to be part of a choral tradition. After 1,437 years, this marks the beginning of a new part of our choral tradition here. Read more.
December 16, 2012
Childrens choir opens SNL
It was a most poignant opening for Saturday Night Live this Saturday when instead of the usual comedic bit to start the show there were instead members of the New York City Children's Chorus singing a most touching version of Silent Night. As a father of two elementary school age children I am particularly upset by this tragedy and I deplore those gun nuts who are saying there should be more guns is school. Is that the sort of society you want to live in where kindergarten teacher have guns and 7 year old have to be protected by armed guards? Shame on the craven politicians who refuse to address gun control and fuck you NRA!
For those who think like I do that guns have no place in schools then please sign this petition on The White House web site - Immediately address the issue of gun control through the introduction of legislation in Congress.
December 15, 2012
Fastest a cappella in the world!
Recently we featured the lowest a cappella sung in the world and now we have the fastest. As a promotion for the new M135i BMW created an ad which they are calling "The Fastest Christmas Song in the World". With pro driver Martin Tomczyk they enlisted the help of the group Zurich A Cappella to whom they gave helmets, strapped them in the back seat and told them to sing Jingle Bells as the driver zoomed around the race track. The result is pretty darn funny.
December 14, 2012
Nautica a cappella ad
This Nautica ad is so ubiquitous this Christmas that it came on TV as I was posting this. That's Vineyard Sound singing "Bring it on Home to Me".
Pentatonix on Leno tonight
Tune in to the Tonight Show on Friday as the wonderful Pentatonix will be singing a song from their new Christmas release PTXmas. So happy for all their success.
December 12, 2012
An interview with Deke Sharon
Between working on “The Sing-Off” and “Pitch Perfect,” touring with his vocal rock band, The House Jacks, and adding pieces to his catalogue of over two thousand a cappella arrangements, Deke Sharon seems to always be on the go. Often referred to as the father of contemporary a cappella by some authors, Deke has been at the forefront of this new vocal sound since he directed the Tufts University Beelzebubs in the early 1990s.
The go-to figure on all things a cappella has co-authored and released a book, aptly titled “A Cappella Arranging,” in which he and co-author Dylan Bell impart their wisdom and share tips and tricks to what makes a good a cappella arrangement click. Deke took a few minutes to speak with me about the book, his own arranging process and his a cappella background. Read more.
December 11, 2012
Famed Canadian choral director dies at 72
Diane Loomer, founding director of Vancouver's Chor Leoni and co-founder of Elektra Women's Choir, died on Monday, Dec. 10, at the age of 72.
Loomer's contribution to the Canadian choral music scene cannot be overstated. She was the first woman to conduct the National Youth Choir of Canada; she received the Healey Willan Prize in 1990 for her service to choral music in British Columbia; in 1994, she was named YWCA Vancouver’s Woman of Distinction for Arts and Culture; and in 2002, she was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for her significant contribution to Canada’s culture.
A Dec. 11 update on the Facebook page of Chor Leoni states, "we take comfort in the knowledge that her legacy is alive in the many works of Canadian composers and arrangers she championed, the artists and conductors she mentored, the singers she led in workshops, rehearsals, and performances around the world, and in the hearts of every past and present member of Chor Leoni. Our thoughts are with her husband Dick and her family at this sad time." Read more and listen to an interview on CBC radio.
I had the pleasure of meeting Diane a couple of times and conducted business with her for years. I did not realize she was unwell and I am most sorry to hear this news.
December 8, 2012
Six Appeal to Sing at Sugar Bowl
Big congratulations to current Harmony Sweepstakes national champions Six Appeal who just got booked to sing the national anthem at the Sugar Bowl being held this year on January 2 in New Orleans. They will be seen by millions on national TV and get good seats for the game. Great gig! The group have been real busy since winning the Sweeps and what a cool way to kick off the New Year.
Is your group ready to be next year's Harmony Sweeps champs? The Harmony Sweepstakes are now holding auditions for next year's events.
December 7, 2012
Rochester A Cappella Group to Perform at White House
Eleven undergraduate members of the University of Rochester's all-female a cappella group Vocal Point have been invited to the White House to perform classic and contemporary holiday songs on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 8.
While the group was told the President and First Lady are not expected to make an appearance during their performance, they are honored and excited to be singing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, says Lindsay Forbes '13, the group's business manager.
"We're hoping our high notes might attract Bo," says Forbes. "It would be fun to at least meet the first dog." Read more.