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Pentatonix to perform at Penn State

By Kelsey Tamborrino
For the Collegian

Regardless of the lack of instruments utilized in their music, the Pentatonix play an instrumental role in igniting Penn State’s a cappella scene.

The a cappella group will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11 at the State Theatre.
Tickets are $25 for the public and $20 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the State Theatre Box Office, 130 W. College Ave.

Jilian Keller (sophomore - accounting) of Penn State’s a cappella group, The Pennharmonics said that she enjoys a cappella because of “how intricate the harmonies can be and how it all comes together.”

The Pennharmonics are really looking forward to seeing Pentatonix, she said on behalf of the group.

“We look up to them,” she said.

The Pentatonix are made up of five vocalists: Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola. The group originated in Arlington, Tx. and won NBC’s “The Sing Off,” which skyrocketed them to fame.

The group began with Hoying, Maldonado and Grassi in high school and when Hoying went to college, Ben Bram, a friend and the group’s current tour manager, encouraged them to audition for “The Sing-Off,” Grassi wrote in an email.

Before auditioning, the group found Olusola on YouTube.

“He has this amazing video of himself beat boxing and playing cello simultaneously. We had also heard that Avi [Kaplan] was a locally-praised bass, so Ben [Bram] reached out to him and he joined the group,” Grassi wrote.

The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

In 2011, the group won the third season of “The Sing-Off” and has had quite the experience since, Grassi wrote.

Grassi described the show as “possibly the craziest time any of us have ever had.”
The group learned a great deal through the experience, but mostly learned the value of group cohesiveness, Grassi wrote.

“If we didn't resolve our conflicts and make decisions as a group, we wouldn't be able to survive as a musical entity,” he wrote.

As for the show Tuesday, the audience can expect a fun and interactive experience for all ages and even a few surprises, according to Grassi.

Pentatonix is definitely a good show to see for a first time a cappella experience, Keller said.

The group’s main goal is to strive to accomplish goals that may seem unattainable, Kevin Olusola wrote of the group.

“Many people did not see the type of music that we do as ever making it to the mainstream,” Olusola wrote. But the group sets their goals high in its YouTube channel and in its first album, alike, he wrote.

“We've amassed 200K subscribers and 20 million hits on our PTXofficial channel and our album debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200 charts. We will continue setting the bar higher and higher,” Olusola wrote.

The inspiration of the group stretches into the a cappella scene at Penn State.
Aliza Berger, of Savoir Faire, Penn State’s all female a cappella group, said that almost everyone involved in a cappella at Penn State knows Pentatonix and has tickets to the show.

“It’s really cool to see someone succeed [professionally] in what you’re interested in,” Berger (junior - film) said.

Berger said that a cappella at Penn State is very diverse, with all different kinds of groups in existence.

“If you’re into choral, it’s fun to sing in a group to current songs,” Berger said. “Everyone knows each other…it’s an a cappella community.”

Pentatonix wants to make their music as accessible and interesting as possible, to all types of communities, Olusola wrote.

“We usually arrange and write pop songs, but try to do it in a manner that showcases our musicality,” Olusola wrote. “We take such eclectic styles like electronica, R&B/soul, and hip-hop to create something that's truly unique with only our voices.”