Charlie Beale

This is the website of Dr Charles W. Beale, international choral director, jazz musician, clinician and speaker.

A cappella with hipster beards

I recently adjudicated my first A Cappella Festival in New York, and have been a fan since school days, from the early ' 70s Kings Singers, Les Double Six and Take Six on down. Call me jaded, but I'm increasingly coming to the conclusion that whole evenings of bouncy, 'Pitch Perfect'-style a cappella with the obligatory beatboxer can become tired quite quickly. I love the post-Glee enthusiasm and often the technical expertise, but the emotional range and expressive potential in the songs chosen often seems limited, and of its late '00s time. The Swingles also have 50 years of history to contend with. They were there at the very start.

So the video below is a very refreshing change - a totally different vision, yet just enough the same. Not a trace of Bach 'dah-vuh-dah-vuh' in sight, and the sound feels contemporary but still keeps the vocal refinement and technical perfection of earlier generations.