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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Gerstenberger

Music To My Ears

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that my parents introduced me to music at a young age. As a result, I have developed a love of and appreciation for all types of music throughout my lifetime.

I grew up singing in choirs and choruses. One of the fondest memories I have of my father, who died prematurely at age 42, was singing in our church’s choir together.

He and my mother also encouraged my sister Ann and me to explore our musical gifts through our voices and on instruments. We both enjoyed singing folk music, playing guitar and Ann also became accomplished on the piano.

I was fortunate to spend 10 weeks traveling the United States and the Caribbean the summer between high school and college singing with the Continental Singers. Over the years, when my schedule would permit, I had the opportunity to perform with the University of Pittsburgh’s Heinz Chapel Choir and dabbled with barbershop quartet music and even a little bit of opera.

My appreciation for music has led me to regularly record American Idol and America’s Got Talent. I blow through the commercials, bios and dog acts (on the later) just to hear talented people sing.

I’ve always appreciated and loved a capella music with the quartets of Glad and Straight No Chaser being two of my favorites.

Several years ago, NBC produced a show called, The Sing Off that featured a capella groups from around the country with talented singer/songwriter/producer judges like Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles, Jewel and Shawn Stockman providing artistic and career advice to the aspiring performers.

One of the groups that has gained considerable notoriety from The Sing Off is Pentatonix, the winner of Season 3.

In addition to Pentatonix being an outstanding a capella group, they also incorporate beatboxing into many of their performances.

While beatboxing has been around since the 19th century, this form of musical expression that primarily involves the mimicking of drum machines with one’s mouth, lips tongue and voice was still relatively new to me when I began to see it performed on national television in 2011.

Recently I heard a performance by Kevin Olusola that has been called cello-boxing, the unique ability to beatbox while playing the cello. As a member of Pentatonix, Olusola has contributed greatly to the group’s three Grammy Awards.

When you have time, I’m confident that this four-minute, YouTube video of Kevin Olusola beatboxing while performing Julie-O on the cello will take your appreciation of what it means to be musically talented to an entirely new level. Enjoy!

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