【明報專訊】PENTATONIX's quick rise to fame is evidence of how trendy contemporary a cappella music is. The group, consisting of five pitch-perfect vocalists, won The Sing-Off — a talent show of NBC — in 2011, and has recorded seven studio albums by now.
Like many duos, trios, or bands, the original Pentatonix, or PTX, was formed by high school singing friends — Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kirstin Maldonado. The trio invited Avi Kaplan, and Kevin Olusola. The quintet's amazing blend of harmonies, creative arrangements and beautiful vocals took the music industry by storm almost instantly.
Having won three Grammy awards by 2017, Pentatonix, sadly, had to bid goodbye to Kaplan, who found the hectic rehearsal and performance schedule too overwhelming. The group welcomed Matt Sallee, another a cappella singer of versatility, to take Kaplan's place as the bass singer at the end of that year.
The magical power of the "fab five" is that apart from their music with excellence and passion, the a cappella group's repertoire of all styles successfully captures an ever-increasing fanbase. Concert-goers are mesmerised by their soulfully austere renditions of sacred music like Mary, Did You Know? and oldies and goldies like Bee Gees' Too Much Heaven. Concert-goers give loud roars for the group's covers of contemporary hits like Kanye West's Love Lockdown, Katy Perry's E.T. and Gotye's Somebody That I Used To Know.
Music fans who wish to ponder for Easter may enter Pentatonix's Mary, Did You Know on YouTube or other streaming platforms.
Mary, Did You Know
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day
walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will save our
sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come
to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to
a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm
with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of god
Mary, did you know? ...
Part I True/False/Not Given
◆1. Pentatonix is a group of talented singers who have all received formal music training.
◆2. Pentatonix does both church and pop music.
◆3. Pentatonix failed to find a replacement for Avi Kaplan.
Part II Refer to the song and answer the following question:
◆4. Which of the following miracles of Jesus are named in the song?
i) walking on water
ii) calming a storm on the sea
iii) healing a blind man
iv) raising a widow's son from the dead
A. i and ii
B. ii and iv
C. All EXCEPT iv
◆5. The lines in purple reflect that...
A. Jesus' birth and death changed Mary's life.
B. Jesus' radiant love saves the whole mankind.
■By Venny Lai, a former Language Instructor at the PolyU and an experienced teacher of English Language and Literature