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High five: Pentatonix wants to speak to you

Published: September 6, 2012

By Jenna Spinelle — For the CDT

After winning “The Sing Off” and releasing a successful debut album, Pentatonix will come to State College on a quest to take a cappella from fringe genre to the top of the pop music charts.

The group composed of vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi and Avi Kaplan and beat boxer Kevin Olusola will perform Tuesday at the State Theatre. In a recent interview, Olusola said he hopes the audience will be on

its feet the entire evening for what he promises will be an upbeat set.

“It’s going to be a really good time ... a lot of pretty modern sounds and a lot of fun,” he said. “People should be standing up and dancing the whole time.”

Pentatonix won season three of “The Sing Off” in November and almost immediately began work on its first EP, “PTX Vol. 1,” which was released in June. The album features covers of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” and Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” as well as original material.

One of the group’s biggest goals, Olusola said, is to establish itself as songwriters and have its songs hold their own against covers of pop hits.

“Writing your own material is not very common in a cappella, but we definitely want to do that and hit the mainstream hard,” he said. “We want to write songs that speak to everyone and sound like something you hear on the radio even though we don’t use any instruments.”

Members of Penn State’s None of the Above a cappella group will be in the front row for the performance. They reached out to Pentatonix on Twitter and asked them to come to Penn State.

Junior Chrissy Bohn found out about the State College performance through a group text message and called The State Theatre the day tickets went on sale.

“I’m a huge fan. ... I watched their YouTube videos and follow all of them individually on Twitter,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was just five people. In the world of a cappella, their arrangements are very good.”

Olusola said the group hopes to see many members of the a cappella community at the show.

“It’s been really cool to see a lot of groups come up to us at shows who saw us on ‘The Sing Off’ and tell us we’ve been an inspiration to them,” he said. “We were all in a cappella groups when we were in school, so we’re excited to have that community come out.”

Pentatonix will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 11 at the State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College. Visit www.thestatetheatre.org for more information.