The current a cappella craze has its roots in college groups and glee clubs, and The Sing-Off’s first season runner-up started it all, says Ben Folds.
Folds, one of the three judges on NBC’s vocal music competition show, credits the Tufts Beelzebubs, the devilish sixteen-man a cappella group from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., with starting the migration of vocal groups to the forefront of public consciousness.
A story in Boston’s BostInno quotes Folds, who gave the group high praises for their having brought the long-brewing vocal music genre to the people. The ‘Bubs have been in existence since the 1960s with a constantly changing cast as students enter and graduate the university. They’ve released several albums of their tight harmonies and crisp vocal percussion, and provided the voices of one of the fictional glee clubs on the television series Glee.
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 bandcamp.com. He also has an album, Something about Love, on iTunes as well. (more…)
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.
The Wednesday, May 20 show at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles will feature a “smackdown” between four a cappella groups from southern California. The audience chooses the winner from among groups from USC, UCLA and Stanford.