Fundamentally Sound: Pentatonix Take A Cappella Mainstream

The L.A. based quintet is leading the charge into a new and instrumentally challenged landscape
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AVI KAPLAN

His bass is so smooth, it earned him a special award at the collegiate a cappella championships.

 

KIRSTIE MALDONADO

The lone lady cast off her show-choir roots to embrace five-part harmony, thank God.

 

SCOTT HOYING

Songwriter. Pianist. Baritone. PTX’s tallest member can produce vocal runs for days.

 

MITCH GRASSI

A tenor and the group’s youngest member, he’s been referredto as the “secret weapon.”

 

KEVIN OLUSOLA

Not only does he beatbox, he “celloboxes.” YouTube it. And he’s fluent in Mandarin.


A cappella, long regarded as pop’s nerdy cousin, has doo-wah-diddied its way into the mainstream. Leading the charge is Pentatonix, a local quintet that won season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off. The group’s arrangements showcase original tunes and diverse covers (everything from Beyoncé to Korean rapper Psy).

Think you’re hearing an instrument or two? That’s Kevin Olusola, a beatboxing demigod whose snare drum and crash cymbal sound effects are anchored by Avi Kap­lan’s bass. Harmonies from Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, and Kirstie Maldonado add the final layers. In the middle of a sold-out world tour, the group performs at the Orpheum Theatre on March 1 and 2. That’s music to our ears, no auto-tune required.