A cappella is a unique type of music that relies on just the sound of the singers voices.
One a cappella group that has made an impact in the music world was formed by an American named Ward Swingle. Formed in Paris in 1962, The Swingles have been performing for over 50 years, and they will soon be performing in the Johnson City area.
On March 1, The Swingles will perform their “Folklore” program of contemporary folk songs. The concert will be held at Seeger Chapel at Milligan College and will begin at 7:30 p.m. with East Tennessee State University’s Greyscale a cappella ensemble opening the show.
“They were a cappella before a cappella was cool,” says ETSU Associate Director of Choral Activities Dr. Alan Stevens. “They really started this idea of taking music and making it something that it wasn’t originally.”
The members of The Swingles consists of Joanna Goldsmith- Eteson, Clare Wheeler, Oliver Griffiths, Jon Smith, Kevin Fox, Edward Randell and ETSU alumna and Greenville native Sara Brimer- Davey.
“I’ve found that the ‘Swingle sound’ is difficult to explain in one sentence,” Swingles member Sara Brimer-Davey said. “What I can say is that we value simplicity and silence as much as virtuosity and fortissimo…We tend to steer away from what is trendy at the moment, challenging ourselves to search for and then share music that is meaningful to us.”
Sponsored by the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, the concert will consist of traditional folk songs from around the world, lullabies, laments, work songs and war songs. The concert will also consist of some of The Swingles classic songs.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to present an internationally known music group, as well as welcome back one of our ETSU music alumni,” says Anita DeAngelis, Director of the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts. “We are working with our ETSU vocal music program on this event, as well as vocal music at Milligan College to connect the artists to younger singers. That impact on students is so integral to our mission at the School of the Arts and the Martins’ legacy.”
For more information about The Swingles, visit http://www.theswingles.co.uk. For more information about Greyscale, visit https://www.etsu.edu/cas/music/ensembles.
To purchase tickets go to www.etsu.edu/martin, follow @artsatetsu or call 423-439-TKTS (8587). Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 dollars for seniors and $5 for students of all ages.