July 27, 2013
"Pitch Perfect" sing-alongs
Recently I have heard of several special screenings of the movie Pitch Perfect such as this one at London's Prince Charles Cinema. Some have included an a cappella group doing a set before the show along with audiences singalongs and in this case a ‘Best Dressed A Cappella Group’ competition and a live Riff-Off. The songs have subtitles on the screen. What a great idea! Contact your local movie theater and organize a fundraiser!
July 25, 2013
5 Essential Yoga Poses for Singers
Professional singer Justin Montigne has found that yoga improves "everything about his instrument." As a voice and yoga instructor, he shows others how to integrate the two practices. Here he demonstrates the five yoga poses that he finds most helpful for singers.
July 23, 2013
Q&A with the Swingle Singers
Ottawa Citizen (Canada):
With the Swingle Singers about to perform on July 25th in Ottawa the local newspaper conducted an interview. Read the interview here.
Dale Warland Inducted Into American Classical Music Hall of Fame
Alongside the legendary Robert Shaw, Grammy-winning Dale Warland is now the only other choral conductor to have be inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.
With the Dale Warland Singers, Maestro Warland commissioned over 270 new choral works - most of them a cappella - fostering the careers of an entire generation of composers. And while that group retired in 2004, Dale Warland has continued to compose, conduct and teach, all the while continuing his service as a champion of new choral music.
July 19, 2013
Big a cappella shindig in Philly this weekend. Headliners Groove For Thought and a diverse line up at VocalNation.
July 18, 2013
Howard Students Go From 'The Sing-Off' To Success
Traces of Blue isn't quite a household name just yet, but if you're familiar with NBC's The Sing-Off, you might remember them by their old name, Afro-Blue, the a cappella jazz group hailing from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
They recently took a break from working on their debut EP to stop by NPR's D.C. studios for a special performance.
"What attracts me and probably the rest of the group to jazz is how amazing and beautiful an art form it is," says vocalist Danielle Withers, in an interview with Tell Me More host Michel Martin. "There are so many amazing musicians and singers that we all look up to that perform this beautiful art of music, and to have an opportunity to be a part of that history in any way is definitely something that I was definitely really excited to be a part of." Listen or read more.
July 16, 2013
The Wizard of Ahhhs
Pentatonix released their latest video today and boy they just get better and better (with bigger and bigger production budgets). Kristie is just fabulous.
July 13, 2013
Virtual Choir 4: Fly to Paradise
Here is Eric Whitacre's latest Virtual Choir project "Fly To Paradise" which was released today. Wow!
July 12, 2013
Singing Mom Can Sue San Diego
Courthouse News Service:
A 51-year-old mother who sang songs about social issues with her group the Occupellas, and claims she was falsely arrested during "Occupy San Diego" can file an amended civil rights complaint, though a federal judge dismissed many of her claims.
Stephanie Jennings sued the City and County of San Diego, claiming that they violated her civil rights "by attacking and falsely arresting her with the intention of chilling her constitutional rights."
"Jennings is a 51-year-old mother and community volunteer," U.S. District Judge James Lorenz wrote in his order. "She alleges that on the evening of January 7, 2012, she and a group of other middle-aged women (the 'Occupellas') congregated outside the San Diego Civic Center to 'sing some songs about social issues to the tune of familiar songs.' A group of Occupy San Diego protestors marched from the Children's Park into the plaza in front of the center. At this point, plaintiff left the singing group and encountered defendant Sergeant James Milano, who allegedly pushed her to the ground and directed two or three Doe defendant police officers to arrest her. She alleges that the Doe defendant officers arrested her using excessive and unnecessary force." Read more.
July 10, 2013
Here's a fun a cappella version of "Cups" from Pitch Perfect. And now there are some brand new Deke Sharon arrangements of this and other songs from the movie available from Primarily A Cappella.
July 8, 2013
Choir singers 'synchronise their heartbeats'
Choir singers not only harmonise their voices, they also synchronise their heartbeats, a study suggests. Researchers in Sweden monitored the heart rates of singers as they performed a variety of choral works.
They found that as the members sang in unison, their pulses began to speed up and slow down at the same rate.
Writing in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the scientists believe the synchronicity occurs because the singers coordinate their breathing. Dr Bjorn Vickhoff, from the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University in Sweden, said: "The pulse goes down when you exhale and when you inhale it goes up.
"So when you are singing, you are singing on the air when you are exhaling so the heart rate would go down. And between the phrases you have to inhale and the pulse will go up. If this is so then heart rate would follow the structure of the song or the phrases, and this is what we measured and this is what we confirmed."
"When you exhale you activate the vagus nerve... that goes form the brain stem to the heart” They found that the more structured the work, the more the singers' heart rates increased or decreased together. Slow chants, for example, produced the most synchronicity.
The researchers also found that choral singing had the overall effect of slowing the heart rate. This, they said, was another effect of the controlled breathing. Dr Vickhoff explained: "When you exhale you activate the vagus nerve, we think, that goes from the brain stem to the heart. And when that is activated the heart beats slower."
July 7, 2013
2013 Barbershop gold
Congratulations to Rob Menaker (tenor), Patrick Haedtler (lead), Alan Gordan (bari) and Brett Littlefield (bass) of the Masterpiece quartet for winning gold this weekend at the international barbershop convention in Toronto. Musical Island Boys took silver and The Mighty Wind won bronze. Home team chorus Toronto Northern Lights won the chorus gold with Westminster taking silver and Alexandria Harmonziers winning silver. Congratulations to all.
July 2, 2013
Nick Lachey Returns as Host of 'The Sing-Off,' Jewel Joins as Judge
Nick Lachey is returning to NBC's The Sing-Off for a fourth round. Additionally, Grammy nominee Jewel will join the singing competition series' recently announced fourth season as a judge alongside returning stars Shawn Stockman and Ben Folds, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Jewel replaces Sara Bareilles, who stepped in for Nicole Scherzinger in the show's third season.
"There are very few musical artists as accomplished and talented as Jewel. Her addition to The Sing-Off judges panel, along with our stellar team of Shawn Stockman and Ben Folds, raises the showmanship of the series up another notch," said Paul Telegdy, NBC's president of alternative and late-night programming. "The musical credentials of Nick Lachey are extraordinary, and his continued contributions to the show as host remain a huge asset."
The NBC entry will now revert to its original broadcast pattern, airing as a holiday strip over several nights later this year. The move marks a return to how The Sing-Off first launched in 2009, when it aired in December as a five-night event. It became a weekly series in 2011.
"I am so thrilled to welcome Jewel to our expert musical panel," executive producer Mark Burnett said. "Jewel is one of America's greatest singer-songwriters and is an amazing storyteller. In company with the incredible talent of Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Nick Lachey, this season of The Sing-Off is sure to be its best yet." Read more.