2015- The Year in A Cappella

By: Dave Bernstein,  Tara Marie Ahn, and Christopher Hoffman


Unless you were unplugged from society in 2015, we shouldn’t have to tell you that it was another HUGE year for a cappella.

It all begins and ends with Pentatonix and Pitch Perfect 2, with a whole lot of great albums, videos, and news in the middle.

Before we begin, we just want to note that we have revived the monthly news posts at Acatribe so pay attention at the beginning of each month for all the relevant news from the previous month. In light of preparations for this post, we are skipping a formal December post but you may find some December news scattered in here. We will also include some of the big news from the September, October, and November news posts but you can read the rest on the summary post for each individual month. As always, if you have big news you’d like to share, feel free to email us at news@acatribe.com.

Finally, if you can think of some noteworthy a cappella news we omitted (and we’re sure there is plenty), please feel free to comment below or email us and we will update the post accordingly.

Also, though she is credited as a co-author, we have to note that our own Tara Marie Ahn did a ton of the work here and is very deserving of most of the credit. Show her some love on Twitter!


So, let’s dive right in with the box office and music charts success of Pitch Perfect 2 and Pentatonix, respectively.

Pitch Perfect 2 was…a little bigger than expected. As in it grossed nearly $70 million in its first weekend and found up at $184 million domestic at the box office, and another $103 million elsewhere, for a total worldwide gross of nearly $287 million. So, yeah. A cappella is even more mainstream than you might have thought. The movie did fine critically, for what it is, garnering a 66% at Rotten Tomatoes and getting decent reviews at Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

The movie also won the Top Soundtrack and Anna Kendrick thanked Deke Sharon and Ed Boyer in her acceptance speech.

Pentatonix did more in 2015 than we can fairly recount here. A few of their notable highlights, however, were:

Obviously there is plenty more Pentatonix news from 2015, but again- we can’t possibly get to it all. Feel free to add or share in the comments below! Continue reading…

November 2015 A cappella News

The leaves have fallen, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and the annual holiday music aca-outpouring has begun. This is a busy time of year for all of us, so forgive us if we missed anything and for the brevity of the “Releases” and “Videos” sections this month.


– Pentatonix leads the news once again with their performance at the American Music Awards, where they were introduced by Harrison Ford (!) and then performed a Star Wars medley. Read about it here (with video). Also at the AMA’s, Pitch Perfect 2 won the Top Soundtrack and Anna Kendrick thanked Deke Sharon and Ed Boyer in her acceptance speech.  In other Pentatonix news, the group appeared on ABC’s The Muppets program and announced the winners of the MACY’s a cappella challenge.  Congratulations to Briarcrest Christian School’s One Voice, UCD’s MIX, and Orange Center Elementary School.

– The Swingles performed with and opened for jazz vocalist and composer Kurt Elling at the London Jazz Festival, and the Guardian offered a very positive review.  The Swingles will be performing in the United States, Italy, and Russia this coming month, with a lot more to come in 2016. You can check to see if they will be near you on their website. Lastly, the group released their new Christmas album, Yule Songs Vol. II, which is available online now.

Continue reading…

October 2015 A cappella News

October was a huge month for Pentatonix, and a big month for other a cappella news as well. In light of the massive accomplishments for PTX, they get their own section in the lead here, and then we jump to the other news in the a cappella community.


So, remember that time PTX released an album and it became the first a cappella album ever to hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart?

How about when they were on The Tonight Show, The Today Show, PBS News Hour, and more?

They were also written about in or interviewed by Time magazine, ABC NewsThe New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, People magazine, US magazine, Billboard magazine (x2), and more.  The group was all over social media as well, even taking over the YouTube twitter handle for awhile.

Continue reading…

September 2015 News

We have decided to get the monthly news column back up and running, beginning with this somewhat belated edition. Next month, we’ll have a more timely summary compiled by several contributors. For now, take a look at what happened in September and feel free to let us know what we missed in the comments below! Going forward, please email us at news@acatribe.com with your a cappella news.


As usual, we lead with Pentatonix because they are leading the a cappella pop culture revolution.  The group announced the release date of their new album, coming October 16, and then released videos for two of the tracks. Unsurprisingly, this one has over 5 million views in a little over a month, and this one is approaching 4 million views in half that time. They also hit 9 million YouTube subscribers (technically on Oct 1, but whatever!) and 600,000 followers on Twitter. The PTX freight train keeps rolling along.  Also, Avi and Kevin showed up in Mix magazine (hey, audio engineers, welcome to the conversation!) for their session with Ben Bram on a new project for RCA Records. The whole group was apparently tracking vocals in NYC this month as well.

Sing Off Season 4 winners Home Free were interviewed in conjunction with their new album (see below), did some promotional work around New York City including an appearance at the offices for Billboard magazine, held an AMA on Reddit, appeared on television, announced an upcoming track collaboration with Kenny Rogers, and released a few videos as well.  Busy month for another Sing Off champ!

Danish vocal (and electronic) group Postyr streamed not one, but several live concerts on Meerkat. This is awesome, but not their first time streaming live performances. Check out this post from 2012!

The legendary Take 6 made a trip to Cuba- yes, CUBA- to perform, which was covered here. Also, the group’s sound engineer (and former Sing Off contestant- Urban Method!) Tony Huerta blogged about it here.
Continue reading…

The House Jacks’ Newest Member Revealed!

The word is finally out! After recent news of Troy Horne’s (bass) return to The House Jacks, their final member has been revealed. Mark Joseph will bring his smooth, sultry tenor sound to complete the lineup.

11950988_1034317419914324_2032470071_nMark has been singing his entire life. In his earlier years he was always in a choir or group of some kind. His love for a cappella was cultivated in high school when he was a part of the jazz choir. There he realized that he wanted to be a part of a collegiate group in the future.


Mark graduated in 2014 from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music. There he was a member of Pitch Slapped, winners of the 2014 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). He can be heard on their album, ‘Good Life’. He also won ‘best male soloist’ at SoJam 2011.

“I love how everyone has everyone’s back in a group. There’s nothing like singing and blending in harmony with other voices. That’s so much more fun than singing alone! Also, the relationships you build in a group is my favorite thing. Makes everything that much better.”

Mark is thrilled to be a part of The House Jacks! He sees the group having a great deal of versatility, as their voices are all so different. In addition, to be in a group that has been around for 20+ years, “It’s going to be a great learning experience for me because these guys clearly know what they’re doing.”

When asked what fans can look forward to with the new lineup, Mark replied, “You can expect new music, of course, and you can expect even more outside of the boxness.”

We CANNOT WAIT to see what this rebirth of The House Jacks will bring! Stay tuned to all of their social media to keep up with news, tour dates, and more! (fb/Twitter/IG: TheHouseJacks)