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Pentatonix Releases That’s Christmas to Me

Pentatonix had the surprising top video hit of 2013 with Little Drummer Boy and they’ve followed up this year with the release this week of a new Christmas album titled That’s Christmas to Me. Hear that song in preview here:

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The new album is available via the Pentatonix website or at

The group, also known as PTX, started with Scott Hoying, a University of Southern California student who wanted to audition for the 2011 season of The Sing-Off. He enlisted two high-school friends from Texas, Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi. As old YouTube videos show, they had a good sound. But for the TV show, they wanted something richer.

In came Avi Kaplan. At California’s Mount San Antonio College, he was an opera major but had also been singing a cappella since high school and had a growing reputation in the community.

“I had been asked to join a few groups for The Sing-Off,” he said, “and none of them really worked out for me. They just weren’t my style. And then I was asked to join Scott’s group. I looked at a video they had posted of the trio, and I was just blown away. They were something really special.”

The group then added Kevin “K.O.” Olusola, who brought not only vocal skills, but also a knack for “cello-boxing,” a combination of beatboxing and cello playing. What followed, Kaplan said, was a period of adjustment.

“We actually all met each other the day before the auditions,” Kaplan said. “We figured out what we were on the show. Once we really solidified that, once we really got more confident, and once we were able to see all the competition, I think we realized we could [win].”

Which they did. But the work did not end there. They are constantly checking out new songs, not always successfully. “In the past, we tried two Taylor Swift songs and neither of them worked,” Kaplan said. Once they have decided on a song, “Usually we pick the soloist first, figure out the key we want to do it in, and then we’ll start with the bass and the beats and have the soloist sing over it. We’ll just jam [the solo] over it, and try to pick the background parts.

“Then once we pretty much know what the background parts are, we go back and try to figure out moments to make something special,” he said. Rehearsals can be extensive, depending on the song, he said. “Thrift Shop took, like, two hours, where ‘Evolution of Music’ took two weeks.”

We can likely expect several new videos this year from this new album and it starts with this one called White Winter Hymnal:

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.

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