Music Monday: Pentatonix and the Advantages of A cappella

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While most of the time I listen to K-Love (yes, I am that guy) or southern gospel, I am usually pretty much down for any type of music (although I’m not a fan of most rap and heavy metal). One of my favorite groups outside of the K-Love spectrum is Pentatonix.

While Pentatonix, an a cappella group, is not explicitly Christian (only one member is a self-proclaiming Christian), they sing many hymns and Christmas carols. I personally love Christmas carols, the nostalgia connected to them and their messages of hope surrounding Jesus’ birth. That being said, I still appreciate their original songs and covers. Their harmonious voices express the beauty of the human instrument as well as awaken and inspire me.

Pentatonix is a five-member group that took off after its appearance on NBC’s The Sing-Off in 2011. While they do have some original music, they are most known for their covers of popular songs and Christmas carols.

A cappella is a musical style that simply means singing without the accompaniment of instruments. Pentatonix sings a cappella, but puts a spin on the traditional by weaving in non-instrumental sounds such as beatboxing, clapping and snapping. The group has an impeccable harmony, a perfect blend of voices and an impressive vocal range: Kirstin Maldonado as the mezzo-soprano lead, Mitch Grassi as the tenor lead, Scott Hoying as the baritone lead, Avi Kaplan as the vocal bass lead (his voice is unnaturally deep but so thrilling) and Kevin Olusola as the vocal percussion and beatboxing lead.

Pentatonix has released five studio albums, four extended play albums and one deluxe album, including four Christmas albums.

I get the feeling that the a cappella style in general is so undervalued in our society. A cappella is usually seen as archaic and boring, a style that should be pushed aside in favor of modern forms of music. I disagree. Call me crazy or old-fashioned, but I don’t find it boring and I think that it is something to be valued in the musical world.

Don’t get me wrong. I love instruments, but there’s just something so beautiful about the human voice, especially when it sings in harmony with other human voices. God created us with voices and the potential to sing; we humans made the instruments. I’m not at all saying that instruments are bad: instruments are another way to express ourselves or to praise God. But our voices are a unique gift of God.

I feel like more a cappella needs to be sung in the church as well. Worship becomes more heartfelt and beautiful when voices join together; the human voice can express the deepest feelings of the heart and soul on a much deeper level than instruments can. A cappella gives us a picture of what it will be like in heaven, millions of people praising God with all of their being.

Below is a playlist of some of my favorite songs/covers performed by the group. I know, I know. It’s nowhere near Christmas and many of them are mainstream Christmas or pop songs, but they are worth listening to.

About Brent Walker 25 Articles
Brent Walker, a member of the Union University Class of 2020, is a journalism major and the news editor for Cardinal & Cream. He loves ice cream, people, and laughter.