Pitch Perfect had everyone singing praise for the charming a cappella story. We got to chat with musical director Deke Sharon—the father of contemporary a cappella—about his musical background, his new book, A Cappella Arranging, and what it was like behind the scenes of the box office hit.
By Aliza Bresnick
What drew you to a cappella?
I always loved being at summer camp and hearing someone improvise a harmony to a simple pop song. And I was actually one of the Tufts Beelzebubs, a group I later joined as a music director at Tufts University. They came to my high school all the way from across the country because I was living in San Francisco, and they were from the Boston area. They came and sang at my high school and it just changed my life. I was like what is this? This is the greatest thing in the world! Up on stage and there was all this energy, all these sounds, layers of voices and the audience—I mean I just looked around and the entire high school was going bananas. This was back, a while ago—the early ’80s. I was in the quartet in the music band my freshmen year and then kept that going through all of my lunch hours for the next four years. We’d be a little barbershop and we’d sing a little doo-wop. I just started to arrange music then and tried to make it work.