October 29, 2015
2016 Queens of Harmony - Speed of Sound Quartet
Congratulations to Carter Maysilles (bari), Ashley Wright (lead), Peggy Jones (bass) and Debbie Landers (tenor) of the Speed of Sound Quartet who recently won the Sweet Adleines International Quartet competition are are now the 2016 Queens of Harmony. The Scottsdale Chorus are the new chorus champions.
October 28, 2015
Elizabeth Banks to direct Pitch Perfect 3
Universal Pictures announced today that Elizabeth Banks is confirmed to return and direct Pitch Perfect 3. The movie has a release date 8/4/2017. Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson have already closed deals to return, with Kay Cannon on board to pen the script.
The 2012 original grossed $113 million worldwide, while “Pitch Perfect 2″ has more than doubled that, grossing $286 million worldwide to date on a $29 million budget.
And in other great a cappella news the new release by Pentatonix is currently number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts..
October 27, 2015
Not even lights out could dim Tenebrae’s glorious singing
Dallas Morning News:
Starting with the King’s Singers, founded in 1968, England has spawned a succession of outstanding professional chamber choirs that have toured and recorded extensively. On Thursday evening, the excellent group Tenebrae, founded and directed by former King’s Singers member Nigel Short, came to Highland Park United Methodist Church, performing in the church’s Tower Arts Series.
The 17-voice group’s name, Latin for “darkness” or “shadows,” refers to Holy Week services in which candles are progressively extinguished. But the name was inadvertently dramatized in the concert’s second half, when a power outage plunged the church into darkness.
The lights came back on, went off again, came back on and then finally stayed off. Not to be deterred, the singers briefly exited, attached battery-powered lights to their music folders and returned. Singers and the sizable audience gamely soldiered on. At the end, with only muted light on Short spreading animated shadows around the church, the choir sang Anton Bruckner’s motet “Locus iste” from memory, and gloriously.
The first half of the program of unaccompanied sacred music was devoted to Spanish and Italian works spanning roughly 50 years around the turn of the 17th century. The sensuous counterpoint of excerpts from Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories and the funeral motet “Versa est in luctum” by the contemporaneous Alfonso Lobo was exquisitely woven, and twisted tight at dramatic moments.
October 9, 2015
Ysaye Barnwell brings a new song to Cantus
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Composer Ysaye Barnwell is in Twin Cities this week to hear her commissioned work by the vocal group Cantus. She took a break for lunch Thursday before a late afternoon rehearsal and a subsequent performance at MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis.
Wednesday night, Barnwell spent 90 minutes directing a community sing of spirituals that she had arranged.
“You find out in a hurry who wants to wade in the water and who is a motherless child,” she said.
Barnwell sang and composed with Sweet Honey in the Rock before retiring in 2013. It was all amicable, all good. “Thirty-four years was enough,” she said. “That’s all. I needed to not do that anymore.”
Barnwell wrote “Tango With God” for Cantus. It’s one of four songs the chorus commissioned for its fall program, “The Four Loves,” which will be performed five times (including Thursday night) over the next ten days.
October 3, 2015
Home Free on the move
Before Home Free won NBC's "The Sing Off" in 2013, the a cappella group was releasing albums on its own and trying to win over season ticket-holders and other strangers to their revamped tunes as they toured theaters, fairs and colleges beyond their Minnesota home base.
"Nowadays people are showing up to see us and there's a palpable energy and excitement in the air before we take the stage," Tim Foust, who provides the lowest notes as the group's bass voice, said by phone from the tour bus a day before their New York City debut. "We all just have a good time from the minute the show starts."
Known for rearranging country and pop classics, from Johnny Cash and Alabama to 'N Sync and One Direction, Home Free is on its third national tour, which arrives Wednesday at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, and follows it with a holiday tour and its first European date, the London A Cappella Festival in January, with their VIP packages already sold out.
"Our YouTube presence is the main driver at this point," Foust said.
It also doesn't hurt that the guys aren't too shabby looking.
"The bulk of our demographic is women ages 30 to 50," said Foust, 34, whose voice had maternal nurturing early on.
"My mom said I was singing and humming along with her before I was even able to form words as a baby. She would sing to me and I would match pitch," Foust said. "My mom really liked those vocal groups from the '50s and '60s … the Beach Boys, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons … and my grandma played me a lot of southern gospel as well. That was definitely a big influence. I was lucky that music was in my household."