Whitney Hale

By

College: Fine Arts

UK acoUstiKats Sing Their Way into National Spotlight

Published: Dec 9, 2013

See video

Video by Jenny Wells/UK Public Relations and Marketing.  Performance video courtesy of Suburban Tally Ho Productions. 

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 9, 2013) — Tonight the vocal talents of some of the university and state's best singers are in the spotlight on a national stage as the acoUstiKats, a popular University of Kentucky a cappella group, begin competing on the fourth season of NBC's 

 

The acoUstiKats are among 10 groups who have been selected to compete on the reality show contest featuring the country's top a cappella groups. They are one of only two collegiate groups chosen for this season, which features high schoolers to a group who has returned to singing after raising families. "The Sing-Off" will begin airing 9 p.m., Dec. 9.

 

Described as having, "Southern charm with a whole lot of swag," the acoUstiKats were founded in 1993 during Director of UK Choral Activities Jefferson Johnson's first semester at UK School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. As a subsection of the nationally renowned UK Men’s Chorus, this group serves to promote and encourage male singing of all ages.

 

"These 12 guys are selected by audition from the UK Men's Chorus. And they have worked and rehearsed, and worked so hard that they have now been selected to be on this great show by NBC," said Johnson, conductor of the UK Men's Chorus.

 

The acoUstiKats have traveled the world performing in all venue sizes, but "The Sing-Off" will be their biggest challenge to date. They were invited to audition for the show last spring after taking the Best Overall Ensemble Award and Best Choreography Award at Voices in Harmony.

 

A bit surprised by the invitation to audition for the show, the group decided after some conversation they would go for it.

 

"Some of us were just like, 'Oh, well, that will never happen, but you know what let's try it anyway, what do we have to lose.' You have to put your entire life, body, soul and spirit in to making something like this happen and all 12 of us were fully dedicated," said acoUstiKats business manager and a marketing and arts administration senior Evan Jennings Pulliam.

 

And dedicated they were. In preparation for their audition they rehearsed about 10 to 12 hours a week on top of classes around finals time last spring. But that was just the beginning of the long hours they would put in once they were selected to compete. They even spent time together not rehearsing to help build stronger relationships within the group, so they were at their most cohesive during the competition.

 

"We had to make sure that we scheduled in time for group bonding, so that whenever we were living with each other all the time, we wouldn't kill each other. We really put a big focus on becoming a brotherhood, becoming a family, and becoming one cohesive unit," said acoUstiKats coach and music education senior Jordan Lindsey.

 

On "The Sing-Off," each a cappella group will perform show-stopping numbers with no lip-synching, backup bands or safety net. They'll sing music from today's top pop chart, to R&B, rock, country and more.

 

Performers on "The Sing-Off" will be critiqued by judges and celebrated vocalists Ben Folds, of Ben Folds Five; Jewel; and Shawn Stockman, of Boyz II Men. The amount of talent at the judges' table was not lost on the members of the acoUstiKats.

 

"You are actually standing on the stage, you put your mike down the very first time you perform for them, and you realize that there are four Grammy Award winners in the house that are actually watching you sing, not the other way around," said acoUstiKats marketing coordinator and marketing senior Jeremy Michael Lewis.

 

And of course the major talent didn't end with the judges; the acoUstiKats learned quite a bit from their fellow competitors as well and hope to even incorporate it in their own repertoire.

 

"I can't describe to you how good it feels to sing alongside some of the groups that we performed with. Not some, but all of them are phenomenal musicians, phenomenal groups," said acoUstiKats arranger/coach and music education junior Nick Johnson.

 

The other a cappella groups joining the acoUstiKats on the "The Sing-Off" are: Calle Sol, from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Element, from New York City; The Filharmonic, from Los Angeles; Home Free, from Minneapolis; The Princeton Footnotes, from Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; Street Corner Renaissance, from Los Angeles; Ten, from Dallas; Vocal Rush, from Oakland, Calif.; and Voiceplay, from Orlando, Fla.

 

One group will be eliminated each episode of "The Sing-Off," which is hosted by Nick Lachey, TV host of "The Winner Is," solo artist and member of 98 Degrees. The last group standing on the Dec. 23 program will be awarded a $100,000 prize and an Epic Records/Sony Music recording contract.

 

In addition to being excited to have the opportunity to compete for such a valuable prize package, the acoUstiKats are just as thrilled to put a spotlight on the university's talents.

 

"We wanted to promote the University of Kentucky as having the best male collegiate a cappella group in the country, and I'm proud to say we have reached that level," Pulliam said.

 

UK students competing as the acoUstiKats on "The Sing-Off" are:

  • coach and tenor Jordan Lindsey, from Paducah, Ky.;
  • coach, arranger and tenor Nick Johnson, from Frankfort, Ky.;
  • business manager and tenor Evan Jennings Pulliam, from Lexington;
  • marketing coordinator and baritone Jeremy Michael Lewis, from Rockford, Ill.;
  • tenor Ross Hill, from Lexington;
  • tenor Peter Gibbons, from Lexington;
  • tenor Ron Wilbur, from Austell, Ga.;
  • tenor Charlie McManus, from Fairfax, Va.;
  • baritone Patrick Banks, from Frankfort;
  • baritone Mason Stewart from Paducah;
  • bass Mike Owens. from Louisville, Ky.; and
  • vocal percussionist and baritone Banks Mattingly, from Maysville, Ky.

To get to know each of the members better, click play on the videos below.

Video courtesy of the acoUstiKats.

 

Video courtesy of the acoUstiKats.

 

To get a sneak peek of the Kats, music lovers can find the group online on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

acoustikats__tyler_golden_--_nbc.jpeg3.jpg8.jpg
November
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
College of Pharmacy Open House
Iron Pour
UK Women's Choir 20th Anniversary Concert
Adventure Hiking & Rappelling @ Red River Gorge
Pickin' Time Mountain Music and Harvest Day
Purposeful Retirement: Planning Your Next Stage of Life
Diwali Dhoom 2014
Sat
2
UK Percussion Ensemble
Day Hike
Curator Tour: Take My Word For It
Sun
3
Industry Career Week: Resumes and Cover Letters
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Morehead State
Mon
4
Industry Career Week: How to Impress Your Boss in 90 Days
Rock Star Professionalism Series
UK Lab Band
Tue
5
Industry Career Week: Networking and Job Search
Social Enterprise and Innovation / Certified Nonprofit Professional Program Informational Meeting
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Appalachian Forum with Dr. Fran Ansley
Dana Harper Gallery Reception
Wed
6
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Zona Sur
LNFS Presents: The Grand Budapest Hotel
UK Jazz Ensemble
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Abstract Workshop
Lauren Potter
Thu
7
LNFS Presents: V for Vendetta
Last Day to Withdraw or Reduce Course Load
Circle of Love Name Distribution
R.C. May Photography Lecture Series: Marvin Heiferman
Men's Soccer vs. Charlotte
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Georgia
Free Friday Evening Swing Dance
Fri
8
Kentucky Football vs. Georgia
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
The Power of Poetry
The Lexington Lowdown and Free Lindy Hop Workshop
Swing Dance Featuring Live music by"The Metrognomes Orchestra"
Sat
9
UK Combos Concert
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Missouri
Sun
10
Circle of Love Name Distribution
Mon
11
UK Sax Ensembles
Job Club - Interviewing Strategies
Undergraduate Research Information Session
Jose Abisambra Presentation on Current Alzheimer's Research
Women of the World: Judy Smith
Tue
12
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Reservoir Dogs
Refugee Life in America
#UKEDTALKS: International Opportunities for Education Majors
Leadership Assessment
Wed
13
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Iron Man 3
Chili and Pie Cook-Off Supper
#TrendingTopics: Vegetarians vs. Meat-Eaters
Campus Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics KY
LNFS Presents: La Demora
Thu
14
LNFS Presents: Pretty in Pink
LNFS Presents: Mean Girls
Fri
15
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
16
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Florida
Greek Cinematography: Critical Approach and Discussion
"Storied Streets" Documentary Showing about Experiences of Homelessness
Sun
17
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
UK Rep Bands Concert
College of Agriculture, Food & Environment 2014 Celebration of Land-Grant Research
Amanda Rogers, "Black Flags, ISIS 'Swag' & Jihadi Rap: Marketing Militancy after the Arab Spring"
Stories of Homelessness: Panel Discussion
Mon
18
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
A Positive Approach to Caregiving Conference
Education Abroad Open House
CatWatch Party
Appalachian Forum and Film Screening of "Up the Ridge"
Tue
19
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
LNFS Presents: The Princess and the Frog
Pinterest Party
International Games Day
Global Design with Phil Duncan
Caregiver Support Group
OXFAM Social Issues Banquet
Wed
20
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: I Travel Because I Have To, I Come Back Because I Love You
LNFS Presents: The Big Lebowski
International Education Week Keynote Speaker: Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education at USAID
Tobacco-free Tailgate 5 Year Anniversary
Bollywood Night
Thu
21
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
LNFS Presents: Water For Elephants
4th Annual Markesbery Symposium on Aging & Dementia
Freedom from Fear: On Black Childhood and Other Dangers
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
MEAT.
Fri
22
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
23
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Much Ado About Nothing
Bouldering @ Stone Fort
UK Symphony Band and UK Concert Band
Sun
24
The Vexillology (the study of maps) Contest
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Mon
25
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Job Club - What is your money habitude?
Multicultural Student Thanksgiving Dinner
Tue
26
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Thanksgiving Shuttle to Blue Grass Airport
Wed
27
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Thu
28
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Fri
29
Thanksgiving - Academic Holidays
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Arkansas
Sat
30
 
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 29 2014 except Sat Sep 20 2014, Sat Oct 18 2014.
Sat, 11/29/2014

Sat, 11/29/2014

Mon, 12/01/2014

Tue, 12/02/2014

Reset Page