Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are probably familiar with the a cappella group “Pentatonix” and the “Pitch Perfect” movies. But what you may not be familiar with is the man behind these successes — Deke Sharon.
Deke Sharon is essentially the founder of modern a cappella and produces “The Sing-Off,” the show that gave the Pentatonix their start, and he arranged and directed the music for the “Pitch Perfect” movies. He also founded the International Championship of College A Cappella Competition.
Last Saturday night, Sharon took the stage in the D.P. Culp auditorium to sing along with ETSU’s own a cappella groups as well as groups from local high schools and colleges.
Throughout the day, Deke worked with these students in masterclasses where he provided critique and instruction, culminating in the evening’s final performance.
The performance began with Alan Stevens, the coordinator of the event and the associate director of choir activities at ETSU, thanking Sharon for his help.
“We are so grateful that Deke Sharon came to help out our students, and it has just been awesome to see these kids working together this weekend,” Stevens said.
Greyscale, one of ETSU’s premier ensembles, took the stage to reveal their new music video, a rendition of “Take On Me,” and to promote their new album “Spectrum.”
Coleman Lowary and Kaitlyn Hopkins, members of Greyscale, entertained audiences between group performances, which featured a cappella ensembles from ETSU, Milligan College, Dobyns-Bennett High School and Seymour High School.
Lowary urged the audience to show support for a cappella by checking out the group’s social media.
“If you like what you hear, check out these groups on social media, like their pages, stay connected,” Lowary said.
The performance portion of the evening was an absolute success with audiences giving standing ovations for multiple songs, clapping along, laughter and even sometimes singing along.
As the evening came to a close, Sharon took the stage to deliver an inspirational speech about the history of a cappella.
“From prehistoric days people sang even before there were instruments. In fact the music system we use today was actually created for a cappella and it has influenced more genres than you can think of from gospel to hip hop,” Sharon said.
“Recently singing without instruments has been put aside since recorded music has become popular, but I believe that a renaissance of vocal music is just beginning.”
Deke garnered audience participation as he along with all of the evening’s ensembles performed the famous “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”
“Feel free to sing along and sing aloud people of all ages — singing is for you,” Sharon said. “Don’t say you can’t sing, because you can.”