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A cappella heats up on YouTube

Solo artists shine in music of many voices.


Fruzsina Eördögh


Posted on May 17, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 4:58 pm CDT

That centuries-old form of choir singing known as a capella has been enjoying a renaissance on YouTube.

Digital tools allow a solitary vocalist, with careful editing, to sing all the roles a full-fledged a capella group otherwise would. Case in point, a cappella musician and producer Peter Hollen.

Hollen held an informal a cappella contest on the video-sharing site over the last month and also taught interested parties how to sing Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You” a cappella style.  

The winning group or musician will earn Hollen as a producer, editor, mixer, master, and distributor of one a capella song, as well as promoter.

Roughly 50 musicians, or groups, submitted entries, some substantially better than others.

“It’s been really really tough for me to pick a winner,” said Hollen in a vlog announcing the winners uploaded early May 17. “There were so many great entries,” added Hollen. “I know it takes hours to do one of these, and I hope you had a lot of fun — it looked like it!”

Oakland’s School for the Arts a cappella group Vocal Rush—11 students between the ages of 15 – 18—was declared the winner. Hollen praised their “solo delivery, the subtleties you added to the arrangement, and overall quality” of their rendition, despite “sub par” video and audio quality.

Honorable mentions include the a capella groups Cartoon Johnny, 17-year-old David Fowler, and the middle-aged professional singing duo Frank and Stephanie Rue.

Personally, I was also partial to 15-year-old Czech citizen “AcousticInstruMan’s” 3:36 minute entry.

Besides a cappella, other YouTube musicians have gotten quite handy in duplicating their vocals, such as Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui, in their “Summer Medley 2011.”

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*First Published: May 17, 2012, 5:27 pm CDT