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.
November 27, 2013
Where Have All the Sopranos Gone?
New York Times Magazine:
An excerpt from a lengthy and very interesting article about how the ever-earlier onset of puberty is reshaping the legendary Leipzig boys choir.
"But maintaining Bach’s legacy has become more difficult. The problem is with the sopranos. At St. Thomas, as in all boys choirs, the oldest of those singers with unbroken voices are the most prized. Like flowers that are most beautiful just before they die, these boys have the most power, stamina and technique. There are scholars who say that in Bach’s day, some boys’ voices didn’t change until as late as 17. Now boys’ voices are changing earlier, a lot earlier. Medical records tracking puberty through history do not exist, but Joshua Goldstein, chairman of the demography department at the University of California, Berkeley, has analyzed mortality patterns among boys, which can show increased risk-taking and, by extension, the onset of puberty. His research suggests that the age of puberty for boys has dropped, on average, 2.5 months a decade since the mid-1700s. That would mean that boys are sopranos for a shorter time. To maintain a well-stocked soprano section, St. Thomas needs to start with and train more boys. "
November 18, 2013
Line up announced for Season 4 of The Sing Off
The ten groups competing in the upcoming season four of the Sing-Off were announced today and include a nice mix of styles and types. We are familiar with several of them as they have competed in the Harmony Sweepstakes and we wish them all good luck!
Here is the copy from the press release:-
ACOUSTIKATS (Lexington, KY): This collegiate group has been serenading sorority girls all over the University of Kentucky campus, but now it’s their time to make it on the big stage. With their southern charm they hope to win over America’s hearts.
CALLE SOL (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico): From the island of Puerto Rico, this group of six professional musicians has only been together for a few short months. Their Latin style is sure to bring a flare to the competition.
ELEMENT (New York City): This all-female group brings a New York attitude to the stage. They all work day jobs and pursue their showbiz dreams in the concrete jungle during their time off. These powerful female voices hope to bring a buzz to the a cappella world.
THE FILHARMONIC (Los Angeles): This locally based group is made up of male Filipino singers. Their knack for ’90s R&B, mixed with their Filipino culture, is sure to bring a new twist to the music of the past.
HOME FREE (Minneapolis): This all-male group has already been on the road touring the country and the transcontinental journeys have made them all very close. Their years of performance experience add to their refreshing country sound.
THE PRINCETON FOOTNOTES (Princeton, N.J.): A 50-year-old tradition is holding strong with this Ivy League group — classically trained, perfectly polished and technically great. Although they stick to tradition, they also like to mix a modern flair.
STREET CORNER RENAISSANCE (Los Angeles): This soulful group put aside their dreams of becoming musicians to raise their families. Now it’s time to shine. Their roots are in doo-wop and they strive to pay homage to this classic sound.
TEN (Dallas): Many of these eclectic artists have experienced traveling with professionals in well-known bands. Their group leader brought them together. The gospel influence and impressive backgrounds produce a perfected sound.
VOCAL RUSH (Oakland, CA): The youngest group in the competition is a force to be reckoned with. They have won the high school a cappella groups’ international championship two years in a row. Their pop and R&B influence are sure to put a spin on modern chart-topping hits.
VOICEPLAY (Orlando, FL): These three best friends have been together since high school and expanded their group to six, added the influence of a female voice. They toured the U.S. and ended up back in Orlando performing before auditioning for “The Sing-Off.” This pop-inspired group blends the male and female voices perfectly.
November 12, 2013
John Tavener dies at age 69
Sir John Tavener, one of the leading British composers of the past 50 years, has died at the age of 69. Sir John was known for music that drew on his deep spirituality.
In 1992, The Protecting Veil topped the classical charts for several months and in 1997 his Song For Athene was played at the funeral of Princess Diana. He had suffered ill health for much of his life, including a major heart attack in 2007. He died at his home in Child Okeford, Dorset, on Tuesday.
Fellow composer John Rutter told BBC Radio 3 that Sir John "was absolutely touched by genius at every point". "He could bring an audience to a deep silence which is a very rare gift," Rutter said. "He believed that music was for everybody and was a prayer."
Sir John made his name with the avant-garde oratorio The Whale, which was released by The Beatles on their Apple label in 1968. He went on to become one of the few contemporary composers to find wide acclaim beyond the classical world.
Sir John's other well-known works included his setting of William Blake's poem The Lamb and A New Beginning, which was chosen to see in the new century at the end of 1999 in the Millennium Dome in London.
He was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize twice - in 1992 and 1997 - and was knighted in 2000.John Tavener in 1970 Sir John made his name in the late 1960s on The Beatles' Apple label.
Having started his musical career as a teenage organist at a Presbyterian church in London, he converted to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1977 and once said that "my way towards God has been to write music". Read more.