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A cappella

“Working Day” crowd piece released

In January 2011, Ben conducted and recorded audiences at seven shows singing bits and pieces of Working Day with the intention of stitching them together into a complete song performed by the fans themselves. Now, the editing is complete and the piece is finished, and you can see the results here. (more…)

The Sing-Off’s Kenton to open for Folds

Kenton Chen, founding member of the a cappella group The Backbeats, will open for Ben’s four shows next week in North Carolina and Virginia. Kenton, the Backbeats’ musical director, is working on an EP and has two tracks available for download on He also has an album, Something about Love, on iTunes as well. (more…)

Crowdsourcing a cappella

Ben directs the First Avenue audienceNever one to be lacking new ideas, Ben’s latest is to assemble an a cappella performance piece with parts recorded by the audience at the midwestern US shows this month and next, in the manner of the vocal chorus to Army or Not the Same that’s become a staple.  Ben says it’s a fairly involved arrangement in the VideoSong style (as pioneered by groups such as Pomplamoose), meant to work together after recording the parts at eight different shows.  He plans to edit it after the US tour leg finishes up in February, and hopes to release it before beginning the Europe tour in mid-February. The first part, comprising the bass and vocal percussion parts to Working Day, was recorded at the Minneapolis show Sunday  night (January 23, 2011). Check his YouTube channel to see how the audience did as performers.

“The Sing-Off” previews

NBC has posted a few preview videos from the second season of The Sing-Off, the mini-series showcasing a cappella groups which debuts December 6. Here is a clip from the opening number featuring all ten groups. There are also individual features on each group.

Ben Folds is, of course, one of the judges again this season, and he has been blogging about the second season as well. Read his “On Key” posts from the NBC website.

“The Sing-Off” contestants, schedule, extras announced

NBC-TV’s a cappella competition show The Sing-Off, now in its second season, has announced the lineup of a cappella groups that will compete for the $100,000 prize and a Sony Music recording contract:

  • Committed from Huntsville, Alabama
  • Eleventh Hour, a high-school group from Kettering, Ohio
  • Pitch Slapped from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Groove for Thought from Seattle, Washington
  • Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town from Oakland, California
  • Men of Note, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • The Backbeats from USC and UCLA in Los Angeles, California
  • On the Rocks from University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon
  • Street Corner Symphony from Nashville, Tennessee
  • The Whiffenpoofs from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

In addition, last year’s winner Nota returns for a special performance.  The show’s premiere night is Monday, December 6, from 8-10 PM, with subsequent episodes on December 8, 13 and 15, with a live finale on Monday, December 20.  (Other than the finale, the episodes were recorded in August.)

As previously reported, Ben returns as a judge, along with the rest of last year’s panel, Nicole Scherzinger (Pussycat Dolls) and Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men). The show is hosted by Nick Lachey.

New this year, Epic Records will be releasing digital tracks of each group’s performance immediately following each episode. In addition, an album by all ten groups titled The Sing-Off: Harmonies for the Holidays will be released on Epic November 30.