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Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Gloryby Mickey Rapkin
Synopses & Reviews
Pitch Perfect is a behind-the-scenes look at the bizarre, often inspiring world of collegiate a cappella groups.
The first collegiate a cappella group, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, was founded by Cole Porter back in 1909. But what had been largely an Ivy League phenomenon has, in the past fifteen years, exploded. And itas not what you think. There are now more than 1,200 a cappella groups at colleges across the country. The very best of these collegiate groups square off in the annual International Championship of Collegiate A Cappellaaa showdown marked by wrenching close calls and exhilarating triumphs. And, really, where else can you hear Michael Jacksonas aBada in four-part harmony?
In Pitch Perfect, GQ editor Mickey Rapkin follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, a cappella singers have groupies), the rockstar partying (and run-ins with the law), and all the bitter rivalries. Along the way are encounters with boldfaced names such as President George W. Bush, Prince, David Letterman, Barack Obama, Barbra Streisand, Hillary Clinton, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Bynes, Nick Lachey, Merv Griffin, Jim Carrey, Microsoftas Paul Allen, John Legend, and Jessica Biel.
At the heart of the narrative are three a cappella groups whose interactions are anything but harmonious: the historic Tufts Beelzebubs, founded more than forty years ago with 40,000 albums sold since — and struggling to record a new album that lives up to the hype; Divisi of the University of Oregon, a relatively new, all-female group attempting to overcome a loss in the 2005 championship; and the University of Virginia Hullabahoos, the so-called bad boys of collegiate a cappella, who will attempt to compete on a higher level this year while retaining their casual soul.
Bringing a lively new twist to America's fascination with talent showdowns and peerless performers, Pitch Perfect is sure to strike a chord with readers.
"According to GQ senior editor Rapkin, today's lively collegiate a cappella groups boast hip-hop repertory, professional vocal arrangements, competitions at Lincoln Center and a world shrunk by the Internet. During the 2006 — 2007 college season, Rapkin, an alum of a Cornell all-male singing club, followed three a cappella powerhouses: Divisi, an all-girl group from the University of Oregon, the testosterone-driven Hullabahoos of the University of Virginia, and Beelzebubs, from Tufts. Each is a collective with a score to settle, a tradition to honor. Robbed of a championship in 2005, Divisi wants payback; the Hullabahoos want respect without forfeiting their frat-boy charm; and the controversial Bubs want to hone their edge. Throughout, Rapkin engages with celebrity trivia (Heroes' Masi Oka sang a cappella at Brown) and music criticism. He profiles the cottage recording industry built from college a cappella. Most notably, he riffs through signature events and crisis moments with a snarky humor (onstage Divisi looks like 'the women in that Robert Palmer video') that turns each chapter into a picaresque progression toward graduation. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Mickey Rapkin has captured the world of a cappella — a subculture that can claim members as far afield as Cole Porter and Osama bin Laden — in all its funny, earnest, and thoroughly strange glory. He nails it." David Rakoff, best-selling author of Don't Get Too Comfortable and Fraud: Essays
"Hilarious and very moving." Mindy Kaling, co-star and associate producer of NBC's The Office
"The heart of the book consists of the personal stories of the men and women who organize and perform in these groups, though Rapkin also manages to explain much of the recent history of collegiate a cappella groups along the way." Library Journal
High notes, high drama, and high jinks collide as elite collegiate a cappella groups compete to be the best in the nation
Journalist Mickey Rapkin follows a season in collegiate a cappella, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, a cappella singers have groupies), the rock-star partying (and run-ins with the law), and all the bitter rivalries. Along the way are encounters with a cappella alums like John Legend and Diane Sawyer and fans from Prince to presidents.
Bringing a lively new twist to America's fascination with talent showdowns, Pitch Perfect is sure to strike a chord with readers.
A musical tale of collegiate a cappella filled of high notes, high drama, and high jinks is now a major motion picture.
Get ready to be pitch slapped.
The roots of unaccompanied vocal music stretch all the way back to Gregorian chants of the Middle Ages, and collegiate a cappella is over a century old. But what was once largely an Ivy League phenomenon has, in the past twenty years, exploded. And it’s not what you think. Though the blue blazers and khakis may remain, a cappella groups at colleges across the country have become downright funky.
In Pitch Perfect, journalist Mickey Rapkin follows a season in a cappella through all its twists and turns, covering the breathtaking displays of vocal talent, the groupies (yes, there are a cappella groupies), the rock-star partying, and all the bitter rivalries. Rapkin brings you into the world of collegiate a cappella characters—from movie-star looks and celebrity-size egos to a troubled new singer with the megawatt voice. Including encounters with a cappella alums like John Legend and Diane Sawyer and fans from Prince to presidents, Rapkin shows that a cappella isn’t for the faint of heart—or lungs.
Sure to strikea chord with fans of Glee and The Sing-Off, this raucous story of a cappella rock stars shows that sometimes, to get that perfect harmony, you have to embrace a little discord.
About the Author
Mickey Rapkin is a senior editor at GQ and has written for The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly.
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