Back at it for a second day in at the supposed Georgia Federation of the Blind banquet (actually an LSU theater), and one of the runners grabs me, says I'm needed elsewhere... and next thing I know I'm on a different stage where the Today Show wants to interview me working with Natalie Morales. Haven't shaved, wrinkled shirt... from now on I'd better show up to set "camera ready".
Quick flight up to DC today to give the opening plenary talk at the national Chorus America convention with my bestie since 3rd grade Josh Habermann who conducts the Dallas Symphony Chorus and Santa Fe's Desert Chorale. The talk is entitled "Making Choral Music Cool". I didn't choose the name.
Windi and Amaris (from Calle Sol, Sing Off season 4) flew into town today and we recorded their voices on Anyway You Want It. Windi sang lead, Amaris harmony. They bring so much character, so much personality... I'm convinced this medley will be one of the musical highlights of the movie while showcasing the variety of styles possible in a cappella alongside the mechanics of arranging: how one song can be interpreted in different styles, each compelling in its own way.
Sometimes the littlest things aren't the easiest
things. Example: after their rehearsal, the Bellas
put their hands in, Chloe says "1, 2, 3..." and
everyone sings "Times!" on the same note, except
Emily who says "4" in her adorably awkward way. We
have just 1 boom mic and need to balance between the
parts to be right, the "4" to pop out just the right
amount, and of course all the women to sing the same
note on "times" without being cued with a pitch.
How'd we do it? I prepped Kelley with the proper
note, and she sang it quietly under her breath as
the women converged, and we had Hailee mouth the "4"
and then record it after so it could be dropped in
at the exact level needed. Of course, we can
rerecord all of this in post to get it right, but if
possible we like to get it right on set.
On set, after hours and hours, takes and takes, it can get quite exhausting for the Bellas, and yet they need to be focused and energetic regardless if it's the first take or the last... so from time to time you can hear one of them yell out a rallying cry "I LOVE ACTING" to which others reply "I LOVE ACTING"! I think it would be hilarious if this happened in all industries.
Fat Amy has a moment when she volunteers that she can do synthesizer sounds ala DSM, so I worked with her a bit to come up with a bunch of crazy sounds... but the funniest sound of all was when she just screamed at the top of her lungs "WAAAAA WAAAA" like a giant screaming baby. I have a feeling that'll end up in the movie.
No, we're not in Copenhagen
(we're in Highland Park in Baton Rouge), but you
wouldn't know it: huge outdoor stage and festival
tents all around the park, giant banners, lights,
and any of us who might be caught on camera
(including myself) wearing t-shirts that say "World
A Cappella Championships, Copenhagen Denmark 2015"
on the front, and "Begivenhed Personale" on the
back, which actually means "Event Staff" in Danish.
Really. Look it up. It's indeed a gift from the
By wearing this shirt I can be right at the front of the stage during each take, looking up at our performers, making sure they're singing along to the track with precision and energy, and if a camera catches me, I just look like some staff person.
And at one point, I needed to jump up on stage and teach the audience to sing the chant to Flashlight that Ed and I wrote. Pretty amazing hearing it sung back by 2,000 people!
Someone on facebook posted a screenshot of their phone, listing movie recommendations, and the first was "Pitch Perfect, starring Deke Sharon" ?!? I'm thoroughly confused. Maybe search engines are so specific now they can search someone's social media account for friends, likes and follows, and then see if any of them are in the credits for any movie?
It took lots of prodding but it was bound to
happen... Pentatonix is in Pitch Perfect 2! My
worlds are colliding! But how do you fit Pentatonix
into the world finals when the Barden Bellas are
representing the USA? You make them Canadian!
"Mountie Rhythm" to be exact, with giant maple leafs
so there's no confusion whatsoever in the minds of
their millions of fans.
They're gonna get thousands of emails and messages wondering if they're really Canadian (they're as American as YouTube and American Apparel), so I'd tease them backstage from time to time that their immigration paperwork was approved, etc.
Before production started, Liz mentioned wanting
a few different styles of a cappella group from
around the world: an Indian group to start the scene
(I told her there's non better than Penn Masala from
her alma mater University of Pennsylvania), and an
Asian boy band, ideally from Japan or Korea.
The Filharmonic are a home run in every way... except that they're from Los Angeles. However, they can sing in Tagalog, and arrange the song to be J-pop meets Gangham Style, and that's exactly what they did, complete with fantastic boyband choreography. Avi from Pentatonix helped put together this group for the Sing Off Season 4, and they've been blowing up ever since. Hopefully this movie will get them a tour of the world including the Philippines, where they'd undoubtedly rapidly become huge stars.
Between PTX, Filharmonic, & our lead singers in the Latinotes & African group, it has been a mini-Sing Off reunion this week.