Category Archives: Live Shows


Hey, Washington DC-area Acafans! Are you up for a night of awesome music PLUS doing good for the community?


Come to Jammin Java (Vienna, VA) this Thursday, January 14 for TOTAL VOCAL featuring Pitches Be Crazy, Word Of Mouth, and Handsome Reward. The Pitches are turning this fun-filled show into a benefit concert to help support the Jackson/Kinney families.

You can be entered into a drawing to win two (2) FREE tickets to this event. See details below!

Pitches Be Crazy is an all vocal cover band rockin’ some of the biggest hits of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Edgy and raw in their arrangements and presentation, they add those juicy harmonies, bone rattling percussion, and subharmonic bass, making PBC very unique across the a cappella landscape.

Word of Mouth, a post-collegiate group, were the winners of DC’s first “Aca-Challenge” a cappella competition, They are a mixed all-vocal band with a serious passion for contemporary a cappella and a Peter Pan complex.

Handsome Reward is a four man barbershop group who are a spin-off of the large chorus out of Gaithersburg, MD known as Harmony Express.  They also have members who are part of the famed Alexandria Harmonizers.

Handsome Reward Barbershop Quartet

Greg Kenney is an 18 year old young man who was once very active in the local community theater scene as an actor, singer, and dancer. He has a list of credits that rival many adults. An active member of his church and community, Greg has dedicated countless hours to his faith and has even spent time on a personal mission to support the church.

An avid runner, Greg (or GJ as he is also known by), was running the Rock N Roll Marathon in Virginia Beach, VA in September. Close to the finish line, he collapsed with cardiac arrest. Fortunately, another runner behind him was a nurse and provided aid immediately.

With college and a bright future ahead of him since he finished high school, he is now in intensive therapy to regain basic motor skills and learn to communicate again. He is battling to learn how to even stand on his own. Everyone who knows him knows he will hustle every day to beat the odds and get back to being in the hustle of life. His family has set up a gofundme link to provide updates and assist with medical bills.

Half of the profits from this benefit will go to Greg’s medical fund.

Jivon Jackson was named as one of the Top 40 Under 40 for supporting the development of their communities. He is well known throughout the DC, MD, and VA performance arts communities.  A producer, director, writer, actor, singer, dancer, and mentor for youth, Jivon has been a force in the Southern Maryland and DC areas and has screen credits as an actor on cable television.  Last year, Jivon was in accident where he sustained severe head and brain injuries.

Half of the profits from our benefit will go towards an arts program that he chooses that will help to continue to promote performing arts in the community.

These are great causes for AcaFans to support, so please check them each out, and give if you feel so led.

To enter to win two FREE tickets to this event, please click on the link below, and enter via our Rafflecopter sweepstakes form. Entries close Thursday, January 14, 12:00 am EST.

Win 2 FREE tickets to TOTAL VOCAL at JAMMIN JAVA (Vienna, VA) 1/14/16

Winner must be able to attend the show at Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA. Winner will be notified via Facebook Message, Twitter Direct Message, and/or email as soon as the giveaway ends.

Even if you don’t win, you should still go. You need more a cappella in your life.



Ball In The House/PBC/MC Beats Gonna Give It To Ya!

Boston’s own, Ball In The House returned to the greater DMV area for the first time since 2013 this past Saturday night. They brought their funky, soulful sound to local favorite hot spot, Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA. They are one of the hardest working a cappella groups in the industry, averaging over 200 tour dates a year, teaching and performing at schools (ranging from elementary to college) and entertaining audiences nationwide.

They are comprised of founding member, Jon Ryan (vocal percussionist),  David Guisti (tenah ←#notatypo #hesfrombahston), James Jones (bass), Montario ‘Monty’ Hill (baritone), and Wallace Thomas (high tenor). Together they deliver something for everyone, combining smooth, sultry selections with songs that get the whole audience on their feet.

Their discography covers an array of musical tastes. From classic Christmas tunes, to a variety of rock/pop/R&B covers, to a live recording, to a wealth of original music, Ball In The House is sure to hit the right notes no matter what your listening preference is.

They were hosted by Pitches Be Crazy, who are a true testament of the motto, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to.’ Moved by what they experienced while attending a cappella shows (like Ball In The House!), they thought to themselves, ‘THAT! That is what we want to do, too!’ And they *are* doing it.

Super couple Z (bari/vp/beatbox) and Leslie (alto/rapper) Kekuewa set out to create their own little niche in the a cappella community. While the idea was planted in 2013, the roots took a stronghold by January 2014. Completing their line up is Chris Macinkowicz (bass), James Parker (bari-tenor/vp/beatbox), and Didi Ruiz (mezzo/effects).

From the entire band once dressed in full length, hooded cloaks (yes, that really *did* happen), to Z decked out in his very best ‘Temptations via Liberace’ gear (#ALLthesequins), to busting out a trio of fully choreographed backup dancers mid-set at SingStrong (never saw THAT before), Pitches Be Crazy truly lives up to their name. They strive to give their audience a hand-clapping, finger-snapping, toe-tapping, booty-shaking experience with their high-energy set blending funky, old-school hits with the best of what’s hot today.

They were joined by special guest artist, Meghan ‘MC Beats’ Costa (beatboxer for Stiletta) who was ranked the third best female beatboxer in the world at the 2012 Beatbox Battle World Championship in Berlin, Germany.  She amazed the audience with her powerful, non-traditional style. She is self-taught, fusing together the influences of trance, techo, and electronic music.

The energy and enthusiasm in the room was electric. From start to finish, the groups had the crowd’s full attention. It was obvious that everyone on stage was having a great time and it translated to the audience. The thunderous applause, raucous hoots and hollers, and standing ovations were proof that a great time was had by all.

A highlight of the evening was a quick beatbox tutorial led by Jon (BiTH), Z (PBC), Jimmy (PBC), and MC Beats.

While Ball In The House, Pitches Be Crazy, and MC Beats each performed individually, they joined forces and cooked up some crowd pleasing collaborations. (Their full set will be available here shortly.)

Most importantly, these folks are some of the kindest, most generous, and all around best people you will ever meet. Be sure to ‘like’ them all on facebook, ‘follow’ them on twitter, and check out their tour schedules. You will not be disappointed! Tell them Tara (@OooImSoExcited) from AcaFanBase sent you!




BiTHPBCMcBeats(photo missing Wallace Thomas)

***Do you like FREE stuff? Share this post on facebook and/or RT on twitter to be entered into a drawing for a SIGNED copy of Ball In The House’s latest EP, Move and a Pitches Be Crazy swag bag (complete with free download of ‘Represent’). Spread the word!

Sarah’s AcaVoiceCrush: “The Sing-Off” Ramblings & Recaps from a Fan’s Perspective

By Sarah Twilley (Sarah’s AcaVoiceCrush)

Do you all know how excited I am that The Sing-Off is back? There’s a whole new crop of fantabulous voices to crush over! I was lucky to attend the tapings for this season, so I know a lot of things that, of course, I can’t divulge. But I can say there is a lot of great music coming your way!

I attended the first taping with rumors of two groups being involved – Vocal Rush and Home Free. And I was so excited to see them perform. Home Free was one of those groups I came across a few years ago and had never seen them live, but loved their sound. I first saw Vocal Rush at the 2013 LA A Cappella Festival, where they won the scholastic competition (beating some college groups in the process). Those two groups were enough to get me excited. PLUS, once again, there is a USC aca-kid in the mix, The Filharmonic’s Trace Gaynor. (Trace is a member of USC’s Troy Tones.)

Once the opening number began in that first taping, I saw someone I knew singing up on that stage. And when I say “someone I knew,” I don’t mean one of the many aca-celebs I am always in awe of (Jo Vinson comes to mind… excited she ended up in this season as well). I meant someone I actually know and talk to and, well, work with. John “Jontez” Montes of TEN is the co-team leader of the LA Hub of Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ (AMTC) and my co-singing coach there. I love this guy and am proud to call him friend. And he didn’t tell me he was going to be on my favorite show!!

Obviously, that means that going into the season, I have a bias. I want TEN to do so very well because my friend is in the group. It also means that the way I view the show is different – it really is different to watch a competition of any kind when a friend is involved in it. I am excited to recap the season and I plan on including some of what was going through my head as I watched the episodes progress.

I hope you’ll join me at Sarah’s AcaVoiceCrush as I recap the show for the next couple of weeks. It will all culminate in a live blog during the finale!

Let’s bring on the aca-magic!



How SNC Lead Me to PTX

A cappella love begets more a cappella love.

I know it’s hard to believe, but a new season of The Sing-Off will be starting soon. The competing groups will begin to arrive in Southern California tomorrow, and the first show will be filmed in front of a live audience on August 5! This got me thinking about last season’s winners, Pentatonix, and the opportunity I got to see and meet them back in April…

Dottie and Pentatonix
It was a great honor to meet Scott, Avi, Kirstie, Mitch and Kevin before the show! I loved how laid back and friendly they were, putting me at ease immediately.

The rainy spring evening in April was reminiscent of a bygone rainy fall evening in October, where I had first seen a cappella kings Straight No Chaser perform in 2010. This time, the marquee of the Kalamazoo State Theatre heralded a different a cappella group: NBC’s The Sing-Off Season 3 champions, Pentatonix.

I was struck by the fact that it was because of that first rainy evening in October that I became more aware of a cappella, leading me to watch The Sing-Off, and ultimately back to this venue to see Pentatonix, or PTX (as they are known to their fans).

As an employee of the theatre, I was blessed with the opportunity to arrive early for the general admission show and save seats for my friends in the balcony. As I looked around, I immediately saw a distinct difference in the seating arrangement for this show vs. the Straight No Chaser concert. The first seven or so rows of folding chairs had been removed, creating a large space for the excited fans to dance as well as get closer to the performers. One “Pentaholic” showed true dedication as she quickly made her way to the edge of the stage on crutches. I knew she must have been standing in line for hours outside to have the opportunity to be so close to her favorite band.

The concert began with a mash-up of “Save the World/Don’t You Worry Child” which had the crowd screaming. After an excited greeting of the crowd, PTX segued seamlessly into Macklemore and Lewis’s “Thrift Shop,” with impressive rapping by Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie, held together by their anchor, Avi on the hook and vocal percussion by Kevin that no one could sit still for. The lighting and choreography polished off this modern song so smoothly, it was easy to forget you were at an a cappella concert.

Next, the group covered the early 80’s hit “Video Killed the Radio Star” with bass vocal percussion that you could feel in your seat. Again, this song was coupled with stellar lighting, which really set the mood for the song, and I could feel the excitement of the crowd around me growing.

Often in bands, the soloists naturally end up getting most of the audiences’ love and admiration. However, PTX’s soloists, Scott, Mitch, and Kirstie took ample time to highlight their bass, Avi, and vocal percussionist Kevin. They lovingly referred to them as “meat & potatoes,” and gave these two members special moments to shine. The first of these moments was when Avi demonstrated to the audience how he could “sing two notes at one time” (also called overtone singing or harmonic singing), which impressed us all a great deal.

My favorite part of the concert came next when Kevin brought out his cello and performed “Julie-O” for the audience. The juxtaposition of the smooth, velvety cello and the street-smart sound of his vocal percussion had me holding my breath. The rest of the group joined Kevin for their spin on Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” to round out the “non-a cappella” portion of the concert.

But the treats did not stop there! Avi again showed off his powerful bass voice by performing The Song of the Dwarves from The Hobbit which again had me and the rest of the audience holding our collective breaths, followed by uproarious approval upon his completion.

A PTX original, “The Baddest Girl,” came next in the set, which the members indicated was written by the group’s founder, Scott. The lyrics expressed the desire to be with a girl despite having been warned of her reputation for breaking hearts. It fit among the popular cover songs perfectly with a smooth ballad start and a pleasing jump into an R&B sound that reminded me of a Boyz II Men song.

Following this, Scott, Kirstie, and Mitch left the stage, while Kevin and Avi stayed behind, informing the audience that their participation was needed for the next song. Then, using a great amount of humor, the two split the crowd into a trio, each with a vocal part that would have belonged to one of the three soloists that had left the stage. After the audience had their parts down, Avi and Kevin added their vocal parts so that we had the opportunity to sing along. Then, one by one, they had each vocal part drop out until they were left with just one. This kind of involvement with the audience was obviously loved.

Next, PTX covered Rihanna’s “You Da One” which was followed by choosing a lucky Pentaholic to join them on stage – affectionately referred to by their fans as “Chair Girl” – and serenading her with “Let’s Get It On,” which she hammed it up for nicely.

Good stage chemistry was exhibited among the members of the group throughout the show, as they joked with each other and the audience, engaging us at every opportunity. It was easy to feel as if these singers were your friends; as if they had been waiting eagerly to see you and make sure you enjoyed the music and had a great time. The concert was well rounded out with by a great mix of popular song covers, and tight, smooth harmonies accompanied by dynamic lighting were consistent throughout the show.

To conclude the show, the group performed “Starships” followed by a double encore, leaving a very breathless and satisfied audience. This is one group I will definitely enjoy seeing again and will have no trouble recommending to my non-a cappella friends. It was easy to see how they drew a younger crowd with their fresh take on some of the most pop songs and all the energy they poured into their performance.

Have you seen Pentatonix live, or do you have tickets to an upcoming show? We’d love to hear about your own experience. Let us know in the comments.