April 23, 2016

For the Kinsey Sicks, politics is no drag


There are four singing drag queens hoping to win the hearts of the American people and change the conversation around politics in 2016. They are the Kinsey Sicks,, "America's favorite dragapella beautyshop quartet."

The San Francisco-based group is currently touring the country with their political satire show, "Electile Dysfunction 2016." The act centers on the premise that the quartet (consisting of four Republicans with competing ideologies) is running for the GOP presidential nomination.

All four approach drag in different ways but for Schatz drag has always been political.

"My character in drag is very much a feminist statement," said Schatz. "I don't try to look pretty, I try to look ridiculous. People are always like, 'Oh your forgot to shave your chest.' It's like' I did not forget to shave my chest God made me this way.'"

Manabat, who is in charge of the group's glamorous wardrobe, was a part of the award-winning U.C. Berkeley's Men's Octet as an undergraduate student. He says his money-obsessed character Trixie couldn't be further from who he is in his daily life, but he doesn't judge her.

Being a part of the Kinsey Sicks, he said, is unlike anything he's ever done as an actor because his character continues even after the curtains fall.

"This show in particular -- we're coming off stage and we're still the characters and we get to communicate with people about the issues we're bringing up," said Manabat. "I'm able to be more open and challenge people on their views or even just communicate one-on-one about something that personally I'd feel uncomfortable talking about."

Read and watch more.

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April 22, 2016

24 Undeniable Signs You Were In A College A Cappella Group

The Huffington Post has an amusing post today called 24 Undeniable Signs You Were In A College A Cappella Group.

Posted by John at 4:06 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2016

Announcing 2016 Harmony Sweepstakes National Finals line up

After another season of top notch harmony singing around the country our line up for the National Finals is now complete.

Once again we present a great selection of talented groups and a nice variety of styles. Always a fun evening for vocal harmony fans we hope you can join us once again this year.

32nd Annual Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival National Finals

Featuring our regional champions:-

New York: Stiletta
San Francisco: Halfway to Midnight
Chicago: Double Date
Boston: Ball in the House
Mid-Atlantic: West Side 5
Los Angeles: Ms Celleneous
Pacific Northwest: Restless Vocal Band

Hosted by 2015 National Champions: Straighter Road

Saturday May 14th, 8pm
The Marin Center
Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael


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March 23, 2016

David Hurley - An a cappella icon

If there was ever an A Cappella Hall of Fame (and who knows maybe one day there will be) then one of the very first inductees should certainly be countertenor David Hurley. After 26 years with the King's Singers I can't think of anybody who has sung as much amazing a cappella, in as many prestigious venues, in as many countries as he has.

David will be retiring later in the year and here is a fun interview he did with the Guardian called "26 years with the King's Singers: Chicken testicles, Stravinsky on the wall and ushers with laser pens"

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March 8, 2016

The 2016 Harmony Sweeps season begins

The new season of the Harmony Sweepstakes season began with turn-away crowds at the Mid-Atlantic Regional held at the legendary Birchmere Music Hall this past weekend. Congratulations to vocal jazz quintet West Side 5 for their win and we look forward to seeing them in the National Finals. The other regionals are coming up and full house are expected so be sure to get your tickets soon.

March 12, San Francisco - Palace of Fine Arts
March 12, Pacific Northwest - Washington Center for the Performing Arts
March 19, New York - Miller Theater, Broadway at 116th Ave
April 2, Los Angeles, Hermosa Beach Theater
April 3, Chicago - Northshore Center for the Performing Arts
April 16, Boston - Somerville Theater

May 14, National Finals - Marin Center, San Rafael, CA

Hope to see you there!

Posted by John at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

March 4, 2016

Bobby McFerrin cancels tour

Bobby McFerrin has cancelled all his upcoming dates for health reasons. We wish him a speedy recoverey.

An official statement from McFerrin's representatives:- “On the advice of his doctors, Bobby McFerrin has made the difficult decision to withdraw from traveling and performing for the immediate future. He is working with specialists to evaluate, understand and address his symptoms, which include vocal weakness and chronic fatigue. We deeply regret the necessity of canceling upcoming engagements. We hope to reschedule as soon as Bobby's health allows and return to the business and pleasure of making music.”

Posted by John at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2016

Deke Sharon spreads a cappella message with Vocalosity

Boston Globe:

If Deke Sharon could “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,” to quote the old Coca-Cola ad, he’d do it. “I know it sounds corny,” he says. “But the joy, power, connection, and spirituality of vocal harmony is something I want everybody to experience. Part of the brain lights up, and it’s transformative.”

While Sharon may not have reached the entire world, he’s definitely gotten the ball rolling through vocal organizations, books, some 2,000 arrangements, and live/filmed performance projects including “Pitch Perfect,” “Pitch Slapped,” and “The Sing-Off.” His most recent initiative is Vocalosity, a 12-member a cappella group that made its stage debut and released its first recording just last month. The group performs Feb. 16 at the Shubert Theatre as part of a 30-city tour.

Sharon, the brains behind the show as well as its music director, arranger, and artistic producer, says the show is selling out performances, reflecting the recent explosion in popularity of a cappella, which refers to vocal music with no instrumental accompaniment. And for Vocalosity, no lip-synching, either: The cast sings live throughout, with repertoire ranging from a “Sound of Music” send-up to tunes by Janelle Monáe and Bruno Mars. One segment traces the history of vocal music, from Gregorian chant to the present day, through Beatles songs. A Led Zeppelin tune uses distortion pedals to turn the group into a rock band.

Read more.

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February 19, 2016

Oxford University research finds singing is a 'bonding behaviour'

The Independent (UK):

Singing acts as a “bonding behaviour” among adults, making it easier for people to make new friends, psychologists at Oxford University have found.

A study published in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal watched how strangers’ relationships progressed over several months of creative writing, craft and singing classes.

Out of seven courses, the singers became closer much quicker – a result attributed the ice-breaking “power of a good sing-song”.

Dr Eiluned Pearce, who led the research at Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology, said: “One of the key differences between humans and other primates is that we can exist in much larger social groups.

"Singing is found in all human societies and can be performed to some extent by the vast majority of people. It’s been suggested that singing is one of the ways in which we build social cohesion when there isn’t enough time to establish one-to-one connections between everyone in a group.

“We wanted to explore whether there was something special about singing as a bonding behaviour or whether any group activity would build bonds between members.”

“The difference between the singers and the non-singers appeared right at the start of the study,” Dr Pearce said.

“In the first month, people in the singing classes became much closer to each other over the course of a single class than those in the other classes did.

“Singing broke the ice better than the other activities, getting the group together faster by giving a boost to how close classmates felt towards each other right at the start of the course.”

Read more.

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February 16, 2016

Pentatonix wins Grammy

Congratulations to Pentatonix and arrangers Ben Bram, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, Kirstin Maldonado & Kevin Olusola for the Grammy win tonight in the Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella category with "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy" from their holiday release "That's Christmas to Me". Congratulations also to Charles Bruffy and the Kansas City Chorale for their win for Best Choral Performance of "Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil "

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February 3, 2016

New York Polyphony presents beautiful, authentic renditions from the Spanish Renaissance

Kansas City Star:

With clarity and immersive sonorities, New York Polyphony reminded the audience of music’s spiritual function in the 15th century, as well as its sublime beauty.

This male a cappella quartet (countertenor Geoffrey Williams, tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson, baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert and bass Craig Phillips) is nearing its 10th anniversary as an ensemble, 10 years of exploring and promoting the succinct authenticity and blend of pure voice in both ancient and contemporary settings as performers and scholars.

Opening with Francisco Guerrero’s “Regina caeli,” the four displayed their richly soaring, dedicated style, generating a startling push when the antiphonal writing resolved into unison “alleluia.”

The remainder of the concert’s first half was presented without pause, combining secular motets and Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “Missa ‘O quam gloriosum,’ ” a varied work with enticing moments: a staggered descending line topped with a gorgeous countertenor line in the Kyrie, a stentorian bass entrance on the Credo, the changing texture of the Sanctus and its sudden “Hosannas!”

These portions from the Ordinary of the Mass were divided by the secular love song “Quae est ista/Sugepropera” by Guerrero, its flowing melismas bursting with energy as the text requests, “rise up, my love.”

The first half concluded with Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s “Gaudent in caelis,” which joyfully followed the plaintive calm of the Mass’ Agnus Dei with its lively, expressive text painting.

Read more.

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January 30, 2016

Rockapella member wants Rand Paul to stop using the Carmen Sandiego theme


Attorneys for Sean Altman are threatening to file a lawsuit against the campaign of Rand Paul over the use of Altman’s “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” in a campaign ad.

Altman’s attorney, Larry Iser of Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, sent a letter to Paul’s campaign manager, Chip Englander, on Jan. 19, asking the campaign to remove the ad from the campaign’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as its Twitter account. It also asks the campaign to cease and desist from ever airing the ad again, and to contact Iser to talk about compensating Altman and his Big Sean Music for the use of the work and violations of his right of publicity.

Iser wrote that the campaign had responded to a previous letter in late December by promising to remove the ad, but he said that it still can be accessed.

In the letter, Iser wrote that should the Paul campaign not comply, they would “not hesitate” to file a lawsuit against the campaign and Paul personally. He noted that he also represented Jackson Browne when he filed suit against John McCain’s campaign and the Ohio Republican Party over the unauthorized use of “Running on Empty” in a campaign ad. That led to a settlement, including an undisclosed monetary payment, a public apology and a pledge by the Republican National Committee to license future works. Iser also represented David Byrne in his lawsuit against the campaign of then-Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida over the unauthorized use of his music, which also led to a settlement and apology.

Read more.

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January 29, 2016

The King's Singers announce new member

Countertenor Patrick Dunachie has been announced as the King's Singers' newest member. The 22 year-old will join the group in September following countertenor David Hurley's final concert in August. Hurley annnounced his retirement from the King's Singers earlier in 2015 after more than 26 years with the ensemble.

By happy coincidence, Dunachie graduated from King's College, Cambridge, where the King's Singers originated back in 1968. He is currently in the choir of Christ Church, Oxford and The Gesualdo Six and has sung with Ex Cathedra and The King's Consort.

'I am extremely excited to have been appointed to The King's Singers after such tough rounds of auditions alongside some superb singers', Dunachie said. 'I have been listening to the group's recordings and concerts since I was very young, and I have always admired David [Hurley]'s singing, so it's surreal now to be joining them. When I was about 14, I told my English teacher that my dream job would be singing first countertenor in The King's Singers, and so I feel really lucky that the dream has come true!'

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