HomeA Cappella Makes In-Roads at Ohio State Music Conference

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What goes better together than teenagers and pop music?  Teenagers singing pop A CAPPELLA music! Kettering Fairmont High School’s nationally-award-winning group ELEVENTH HOUR under the direction of Brody McDonald recently gave a clinic and standing room only performance at the Ohio Music Education Association State Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. This mega-energetic group of seven students wowed an audience of music teachers and friends with their outstanding blend of musicality and charisma.

Brody started this group in 2001 after wanting a group that was more mobile than his competition show choir. The first group of eleven students came up with the name, and they were off and running. ELEVENTH HOUR has spawned a couple of student arrangers who still contribute material for the group and also a top-notch sound engineer in John Gentry. Because of all the a cappella excitement happening at Fairmont, there is now a “feeder” group, FUSION, under the direction of Alex Phan and a rockin’ a cappella festival held in November. In the first two years of this festival, fourteen high school a cappella groups have learned the techniques of a cappella singing and worked with clinician Ly Tartell. Headlining this festival in 2008 was super-group ROCKAPELLA, and in 2009 THE FAULT LINE.

Because of the interest in a cappella music in his area of the state, Brody presented a session at the OMEA Conference entitled “So You Have an A Cappella Group…Now What?”  At this informative session, Brody and ELEVENTH HOUR gave tips on music selection, fund-raising, auditioning, tech gadgets, and more. Members of the group sang, spoke, and showed off a little. Alto Kendall Young can perform a mean guitar solo and bass Bobby Symes demonstrated the octave pedal he uses to crank out the low end of the sound. The crowd of music teachers was thoroughly impressed with what could be done on a high school level.

All this excitement led to a packed performance from the group the next day. At the start time, Brody and the kids brought out chairs so more people would have a place to sit and watch the big show. Then they brought out more chairs. People were lined up on the sides of the room and spilled out six rows deep into the hallway. The few-minute wait was well worth it! ELEVENTH HOUR came out and sang a fantastic show. These high school students morphed into seasoned professional performers playing to the audience and having genuine FUN on stage. Overheard upon leaving…”They need to get a bigger room next time.”

About the author:
Christina Smith is the Director of Choirs for Mad River Local Schools in Dayton, OH. She is currently in her sixteenth year of teaching. Her concert choirs consistently perform at the top of their classification, and her pop a cappella group, Down to the Wire, is enjoying success at community functions and a cappella festivals around the state. Christina is an active Ohio Music Education Association adjudicator and choral clinician. In addition to her adjudicating and teaching duties, she enjoys singing with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Choir (Dayton, OH) and also in pick-up a cappella groups as a soprano.


Congrats, Brody, on a

Congrats, Brody, on a successful presentation!

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