HomeYouTube Helps Land Group On "The Simpsons"

Joseph Livesey's picture

The 04/26/09 episode of The Simpsons, “Father Knows Worst,” closed out with an a cappella spin on the show’s theme, performed by Canvas. Contemporary a cappella is shared and nurtured intensely by word of mouth, and as such it’s no surprise that Canvas got their spot on the show via their popularity on YouTube.

Formed in 1998, Canvas had always appreciated Danny Elfman’s compositions, so creating an a cappella Simpsons theme presented an inspiring challenge for them. They acquired the orchestral score, transcribed it to an 8-part arrangement for voices, and were taped performing it at the 2000 Washington A Cappella Showcase. Canvas’ Simpsons theme entertained many live audiences, but it wasn’t until 2007, when one of the members happened to upload a video of the 2000 performance to YouTube, that things really took off. Currently the video has over 270,000 hits, and citizens of the internet are coming out of the woodwork (webwork?) to leave comments like, “EPIC,” “this made my day,” and “cover your mouth with my what?“ (many thanks for your insightful contribution, “wealthychef”).

 It was Canvas’ increasing internet presence that brought the song to the attention of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons. In April 2009, Fox Studios contacted Canvas and in the same month, they were featured in the ending credits of The Simpsons. Since then, the positive reviews have been unceasing on YouTube, in praising Canvas on their performance and television opportunity. Canvas’ explosion on the internet and exposure on TV is one more milestone in the recent upsurge of a cappella frenzy among the mainstream media. “Pitch Perfect”’s release and movie rights purchase by Universal, the upcoming “Glee” and “The Sing-Off”, MTV’s coverage of this year’s ICCA finals, and now an a cappella Simpsons theme on primetime television – these are all factors which soon may garner a viable mainstream audience for a cappella! Here’s hoping!

Canvas’ 2000 performance can be YouTube’d here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oM-_hz2LLZk

Canvas’ website is: http://simpsonsacappella.com/


Nice to hear the backstory

Within minutes of its airing on TV, this Canvas video was featured as Video-of-the-Week right here on casa.org last week.  It got a lot of hits right here on our site -- always nice to see a cappella grab national attention.

But I had been wondering who Canvas was.  Glad to hear more about them!

--Dave Brown

now: Mouth Off host | ICCA & CARA Judge

then: CASA president, CASAcademy director, CASA Bd of Directors | BYU Vocal Point | Noteworthy co-foun


Especially since none of this info is on their own website, so yay Joseph for getting the scoop!

Amy Malkoff http://www.amymalkoff.com/harmony CASA (Contemporary A Cappella Society) Program Manager + Director of Web Content - http://www.casa.org Judge - ICCA, ICHSA, Harmony Sweepstakes, etc.

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