Acoustikats share vocal skills, stage
When 70 local high school a cappella singers and Kentucky's famed Acoustikats work together, the result is a high-energy performance featuring a variety of pitches, beats and skillfully sung tunes.
That's what took place at First Baptist Church of Paducah on Saturday, when students from area high schools joined the University of Kentucky young men's a cappella group, the Acoustikats, on stage at the end of an hour-long performance and a day of training with the professional vocalists.
The Acoustikats taught the high schoolers a few new songs that they performed just about an hour after they learned them, and the a cappella group sang some tunes themselves, ranging in genre from the modern pop hit "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke to Elvis' "Hound Dog."
Opening the show were Paducah Tilghman High School a capella groups Prime Rib, the men's group, and Concordia, the women's group. Prime Rib, which was first formed in 1995, is where lead Acoustikat singer Jordan Lindsey got his start. Lindsey said he was happy to return to Paducah to perform, in part because the event served as a fundraiser for Tilghman's choral program.
"It was awesome," Lindsey said after the show. "I always love being able to come back, especially when I can give back. I wouldn't be at UK if it weren't for Tilghman."
Lindsey, who's been a part of the Acoustikats since 2008, has already graduated from UK, but he still performs with the group and serves as its chief of operations. When Lindsey got involved with a capella singing, the genre wasn't as widely popular as it is today. Even the popularity of the Acoustikats has grown since the group competed on NBC's "The Sing-Off" competition in 2013.
Lindsey said the growing popularity in a capella groups has been the result of both Hollywood depictions in films such as "Pitch Perfect" and the success of Grammy-nominated a cappella group Pentatonix.
"It's all building and building, it's very exciting. It's the fastest growing music genre in the country," he said.
On Saturday, Lindsey and eight other members of the Acoustikats worked with high school students from Ballard Memorial, Graves County, Marshall County, Christian Fellowship School and Paducah Tilghman. He said they worked on vocal percussion, solo singing, and also had a session with teachers on building a cappella groups. The students also got to collaborate with those of other schools by forming into three groups to learn new songs for the performance.
Mary Katz, president of PTHS Choral Boosters, worked to organize the event with Matt Hinz, choir director at PTHS, and the help of a local family who made a donation to host the Acoustikats. The event served as a fundraiser to help the Tilghman concert choir take part in a Chicago showcase called Festival of Gold in March.
Because about 200 attendees came out to see the students and Acoustikats perform, Katz said the fundraiser was successful and may be something the group will try to host again next year. Ultimately, though, she said the event's goal was to connect local vocalists.
"It's really to help promote a cappella," she said. "That's what it's all about. It's good to be able to work with your peers and professionals."
Singers and sisters Sara and Caitlyn Meinschein of Ballard Memorial High School said they were happy to spend their Saturday working with one of their favorite a cappella groups. They both said they enjoy a cappella because it's different than other music genres.
"I like the way it sounds, the way we're able to make the music ourselves," said Sara, a junior.
"It's a way to show off your vocal talent," said Caitlyn, a senior.
Contact Lauren Duncan, Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8692.
You can see more photos from the Acoustikats' performances at Tilghman at First Baptist Church here: http://bluetornado.smugmug.com/Paducah-Tilghman-High-School/AcoUstiKats-0115/