NBC’s “The Sing-Off” champion Committed brought plenty of positive energy to Pearl River Community College’s Brownstone Center of the Arts on Friday night. The concert ended a day of workshops for a capella groups from around the region.
A Cappella 101 is an annual Mississippi American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) event that is hosted at PRCC. The day included individual group coaching and breakout sessions targeted at singers and directors. Spending time with the five members of Committed was part of the day’s experience.
“This event is an excellent opportunity for beginner to advanced school a cappella groups to develop their musicianship and performance skills,” said ACDA Contemporary and Commercial Music Chair Jeffery Coulter. “The opportunity to perform in such an incredible space only enhances the experience for these students.”
The evening concert began with each of the five schools that attended the workshop having the opportunity to perform.
The Greenwood Singing Bulldogs performed “When I Think About the Lord.” Brandon Middle School’s group, Brilliance, sang a song titled “Natalie.” Sounds of PRC from Pearl River Central High School sang “Stitches.” PRCC’s own, The Voices, performed three selections: “Plastic Hearts,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Greedy.” Finally, OneVoice from Briarcrest Christian School in Tennessee sang “Wings” and “Scars to Your Beautiful.”
“It is such a privilege to host this event each year and have amazingly talented students and educators gather on campus to learn, share music, collaborate, and perform,” said Trevor Hunt, Director of the Brownstone Center for the Arts. “Events like this exemplify the purpose of the arts and the vision for the Brownstone Center.
“A Cappella 101 is a unique event that brings a community of musicians together and allows them an opportunity to perform alongside world-renowned musicians, all in their own backyard. It doesn't get much better than that!”
After the school performances, Committed set the tone for the evening for audience participation. The initial song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” had a three-part harmony that was quickly taught to the audience.
During introductions of each member, the audience learned that the group is heavily influenced by the Jamaican artist Bob Marley. They also discussed how they have been able to travel the world, sharing harmonies for over a decade while also teaching groups. Also, audience members were informed that Brent Hoyle was subbing for their regular bass.
Other selections sung included custom arrangements of familiar songs like “One Love, One Heart,” “Battle Cry of Freedom,” and “What’s Going On?” They also performed the original piece, “Do Anything.”
Later in the concert, the four choir directors in attendance were brought on stage for an arrangement of “I Can See Clearly Now” that was learned on the fly. The high school students were thrilled to see their directors perform with the group and members of Committed encouraged video recording and sharing of that piece.
To finish the evening, the audience was invited to dance in the aisles as they sang the oldie, but goodie, “September.”
“The Brownstone Center brings such amazing talent to our community,” said Poplarville resident Catherine Griffin. “I loved being able to bring my family to see Committed so close to home. They’re such a talented bunch who really encourage audience participation and that meant the world to my son.”
Myles Griffin agreed.
“My favorite part through the whole thing was being able to sing and dance right along with them,” he said.
Committed, which is comprised of Robbie Pressley, Theron “Therry” Thomas, Maurice Staple, Dennis “DJ” Baptiste Jr., and Geston Pierre won Season 2 of the NBC hit musical competition The Sing-Off in December 2010 where they sang a cappella arrangements of “Motownphilly” with Boyz II Men and “Hold My Hand” by Michael Jackson & Akon.
Several other musical performances will be at the Brownstone Center this spring.
- Mississippi Symphony Orchestra — Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
- “A Journey Through Black Music” featuring 2021 Grammy Music Educator of the Year Jeffrey Murdock & “Triumph” — Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
- Spring Variety Show — Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.
- The Little Mermaid — April 7 & 8 at 7 p.m.; April 9 at 2 p.m.
- Wind Ensemble & Concert Band — April 12 at 7 p.m.
- JazzCats & The Voices — April 21 at 7 p.m.
Tickets for each event can be purchased at prcc.edu/brownstone/events or by calling 601-403-1180.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jolie Pervel, Pearl River Marketing & Communications