A few weeks ago, students waited in line outside of the Brower Student Center for tickets to see the trending a capella group Pentatonix.
But was it worth the wait? The sold-out show, with an opening from the College’s Trentones, dominated the Kendall Hall Main Stage on Tuesday, April 1. Impeccable harmonizing and rather impressive lighting effects had students’ eyes peeled back and smiles beaming.
The pitch-perfect vocals come from five distinct members: Scott, Mitch, Kristie, Avi and Kevin.
Each one of them brings a unique flair to the group, which breathes life into their complex medleys and smashing covers.
After a short set from the Trentones, the quintet rushed out onto the stage, pardoning introductions, as they began their wildly popular Daft Punk medley that went viral five months ago. Pentatonix was met with instant acclamation from the eager crowd.
“We love colleges!” Scott shouted in the midst of their fast-paced set.
The energy on stage was mirrored by the audience members, creating a truly unique musical experience inside Kendall Hall.
“We are going to take you on a journey — the journey we have been on for the last three years,” Kristie said before the group launched into the song they first performed for Season 3 of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” (the same show they ended up winning almost three years ago), “E.T.” by Katy Perry.
One of the most impressive moments of the set was when the group performed their incredibly popular “Evolution of Beyoncé” medley, which included songs such as “Telephone,” “Halo” and “Love on Top.” This piece allowed both lead vocalists, Scott and Mitch, to show off their vast range and musical ability.
Pentatonix began with Scott, Kristie and Mitch, who all grew up together in Arlington, Texas. After gaining Internet popularity when a video of the trio singing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” went viral after they submitted it to a local competition, the group wanted to expand.
“Kevin was found on YouTube,” Scott said to the audience about current beatboxer Kevin who was added to Pentatonix before they auditioned for “The Sing-Off.” “The three of us literally went on YouTube one day and typed in the search bar: beatboxer.”
The trio was drawn to Kevin because of his ability to expertly play the cello while simultaneously beatboxing, which is an incredibly difficult task.
Through a mutual friend, Avi was introduced to the group. When Scott met Avi for coffee one day, he immediately knew he wanted him in Pentatonix.
“When he spoke, he said, ‘I am Avi.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, I get it.’ That voice is deep,” Scott said while taking a chance to talk to the audience.
In the middle of their set, Scott, Kristie and Mitch left the stage and allowed Kevin and Avi to show off their respective talents. Kevin played a fantastic piece, an original composition titled “Renegade,” on the cello while proving his talents as a beat boxer. Avi performed mongolian overtone singing, in which he somehow sings two notes at the same time.
“Don’t listen to the note I am signing, listen to the Mariah Carey whistle tone beyond,” Avi said before he started to sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” using the mongolian overtone method.
After their individual performances, the quintet returned to the stage to sing current radio hit “Say Something” by A Great Big World. Their heartfelt rendition included more cello playing from Kevin and heartbreakingly sweet vocals from the only female member, Kristie.
After winning season three of “The Sing-Off,” Pentatonix continued to gain popularity by releasing covers on YouTube.
One of their standout tracks is “Evolution of Music,” which they also performed live at the College. The song is a musical journey from the beginning of time up until present day and highlights everything inbetween, from Mozart to Lady Gaga.
In addition to YouTube covers, the group has released three EPs and is currently on a sold-out tour across both North America and Europe.
Pentatonix rose to fame in the midst of a generation of auto-tune and lip-synching. The group has gained so much popularity due to their focus on what really matters: the vocals. Each member has astonishing vocal talents and incredible chemistry with each other. They were pitch-perfect live and an absolute blast to watch on stage.
After the success of musical film “Pitch Perfect” in 2012, a capella music has been more popular than ever. Pentatonix is the paradigm of what a capella stands for. They continually push themselves in both their arrangements and their vocal ability, representing what the art of music is all about. Pentatonix is needed in today’s society, if only to remind us that above all else, true vocal talent mixed with persistent passion is the key to creating real music.
Toward the end of the set, the quintet dropped their microphones and performed an original piece called “Run To You.”
“I want everyone to close eyes and figure out what you want out of life,” Scott said before putting down his microphone.
Every member of the sold-out audience fell to a complete hush as they listened intently to the pure vocal harmonies coming from the stage.
And in that moment, music finally made sense.