December 27, 2013
Kinsey Sicks mark 2 decades of harmonious social satire
San Francisco Chronicle:
To see a Kinsey Sicks show is to experience what member Spencer Brown calls "a cup of sharp commentary on social issues, 2 1/2 cups of laughter, four parts of a cappella singing, two or three pinches of vulgarity, and then cook on high for 90 minutes until half-baked."
For the past 20 years, the self-described dragapella beauty shop quartet has been wooing audiences with this winning formula, which extends to their anniversary homecoming show, "America's Next Top Bachelor Housewife Celebrity Hoarder Makeover Star Gone Wild!," which combines social satire with fluid four-part harmonies.
The group first came together in San Francisco in 1993, after a Bette Midler concert that the four original members (Keller, Schatz, Maurice Kelly and Jerry Friedman) attended, dressed as the Andrews Sisters. Keller says, "We walked home and began singing and harmonizing. We were all busy professionals, but the idea elicited an instant and unanimous yes." Within hours, they had an action plan, and the Kinsey Sicks was formed.
Some of their favorite performances have been in the most conservative areas of the country, such as a college in South Carolina where Republicans organized a boycott that inadvertently led to a sellout in a 1,700-seat theater.
December 24, 2013
Home Free Wins
Congratulations to Home Free who are the winners of the Sing-Off season 4. They are not only a very talented group but were also very professional during their Harmony Sweeps performances and were a pleasure to work with. With solid ratings, good reviews and a talented winner I strongly expect the Sing-Off will be back for another season. Well done everybody involved and thanks for some fun TV.
December 22, 2013
Dying girl's Christmas wish granted by 10,000 carolers
Eight-year-old Laney Brown will never see Christmas again. Her doctors say leukemia will take her soon.
Laney loves music. Loves to dance, loves Taylor Swift, loves Christmas carols.
As her dying wishes, she asked to meet the country superstar and for some people to come by her house for a night of caroling, CNN affiliate WFMZ reported.
On Friday -- her birthday -- Laney and Swift video chatted through FaceTime, a software application that allows callers to see each other on Apple products.
Saturday night the singers came. At first it was hundreds of people, then thousands. Then it was 10,000.
They came to her home in West Reading, Pennsylvania, and even though she was too weak to go to the window, she heard the wonderful music.
"I can hear you now!!! Love you!" she said through a photo her family posted to a Team Laney Facebook page showing the girl, two thumbs up despite a breathing mask, lying in bed.
Laney was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia seven months ago. Last week doctors told her family that she has 70% cancer cells in her blood. She came home from the hospital on Thursday and said she wanted to hear Christmas carols.
As the father of a young daughter myself I am so very touched by this story. I confess to weeping as I write this.
December 20, 2013
The Sing-Off Finalists decided
After 6 episodes over the past two weeks The Sing-Off is down to the final three. Congratulations to Vocal Rush (Oakland, CA), Ten (Dallas, TX) and Home Free (Minneapolis, MN) who have advanced to the final episode airing on Monday, December 23 at 8PM ET/PT. We are so very pleased to see that the brothers Andy and Chris Rupp of Home Free (pictured above) are doing so well as they are 4 time participants in the Harmony Sweepstakes including winning the Chicago regional in 2010.
December 18, 2013
Sing-Off on tour
It has just been announced that the Sing-Off will be touring in the first part of the year. No mention of whose included but presumably it won't be any of the student groups as they are in school. Looks like a great opportunity for the groups but I hope they remember that age-old show biz adage "Don't give up your day job"..
December 13, 2013
Why A Cappella Rocks
Ben Folds pens a nice piece on a cappella in the Huffington Post.
"Besides being captivating -- vocal groups with no instrumental accompaniment pulling off a massive sound -- a cappella is actually timely. It's been growing for the past few decades slowly but surely, and has now reached critical relevant mass. Certainly current popular entertainment says something about our collective psyche and what our needs are. Our little show is back on the air precisely because there is something that resonates about all vocal music. It's the sound of life and kinda what the doctor ordered. Why? Because people need to, and have always needed to sing together. It's part of being human, and it shows us that we can actually work together in greater numbers, in harmony. Novel idea."
December 11, 2013
Announcing auditions for 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes
If you watched the The Sing Off on Monday night you would of been one of the 8.4 million viewers of the show making it the winner in its prime time slot. Pretty darn good for a cappella I'd say! So is your group ready to join the fun?
We are now accepting applications from groups for the 2014 Harmony Sweepstakes season and we hope to hear from you!
San Francisco - March 8
Mid-Atlantic - March 8
Pacific NW - March 15
New York - March 22
Chicago - March 29
Los Angeles - April 5
Boston - April 13
National Finals - May 17
Application form here.
December 6, 2013
Celebrating Mandela with song
"Nelson Mandela ha hona ya tshwanang le ena" (Nelson Mandela there is no one like you). Those are the lyrics to one of the many a cappella chants and songs that are people have sung spontaneously outside Nelson Mandela's home this past day. Most all the news reports I have heard have featured the sound of harmony singing - a great South African tradition and a moving way for all to join in the celebration of this great man.
December 5, 2013
Pentatonix breaks big
When your elderly aunt calls you from rural Iowa to tell you about this great singing group she just saw on the internets and the same day the mailman stops you to tell you about this great new group then you know you have really made it to the “big time”. And such is the case for Sing-Off champs Pentatonix whose latest video Little Drummer Boy has 11 million views in the first week. Three of their recent videos have over 20 million views apiece and their new CD is selling extremely well (our latest shipment at Singers.com was all sold before it even arrived in the warehouse).
They toured to sell out crowds in good size venues this year and I’m sure the will be bumped up to 3 - 5,000 seaters next year. They are by far the most popular a cappella group in many years but still have a ways to go to reach the level of the Nylons who in their heyday were playing stadiums. In the early years of the Harmony Sweepstakes many of the audience members and supporters were introduced to a cappella by the Nylons and many have since kept a lifelong love of the genre.
So let’s hope that the talented members of Pentatonix will continue with great success and for a whole new generation of a cappella fans they help bring aboard.