A cappella groups are predisposed to Christmas carols, but Pentatonix is especially adept, with three holiday LPs and A Pentatonix Christmas Special (Dec. 14, NBC). Mitch Grassi gives us a choir crash course.
1. Start Easy
Grassi, 24, says that picking the right caroling medley comes down to understanding your group’s vocal strengths and weaknesses, but there are some old standbys for both novices and experts. “Start with ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas,’ which is warm and nostalgic, and then move on to ‘Carol of the Bells,’ ” he says. “If you want to challenge yourself, go with ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ which is a little more difficult but classic-sounding.”
2. Rev Up The Cords
Warming up is key — it’s going to be cold out there, says Grassi, and you want your voice to be ready for the chill. “If you don’t rehearse properly, you’re going to sound a mess when you get to the doorstep,” he cautions. Along with the extra practice time, Grassi recommends using “fun twists” to spice up an arrangement. “Do something people are surprised by — a beatbox breakdown is always cool.”
3. Look The Part
Caroling, says Grassi, is an audiovisual experience, so display your holiday cheer proudly. “You need a big coat and a Santa hat, or maybe a reindeer-antler headband with some jingle bells added on,” he says. “You can bring a thermos of eggnog, or maybe some holiday candy to give out. Try to have your songs memorized, but bring sheet music if you feel like you might need it. Other than that? Bring a big smile.”
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard.