NBC’s ‘Sing Off’ champs Committed headlines Juneteenth in Hill District

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The next generation of a cappella groups graced the stage of the Kaufmann Center in the Hill District in celebration of this year’s Juneteenth Festival, which was produced in partnership with the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.

Juneteenth is the yearly celebration to remember the end of slavery in the United States. During the Civil War, even though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, most slaves were not officially freed until the end of the war in 1865, and there were many more that did not find out until months after that, especially in Texas.

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COMMITTED (PHOTO BY J.L. MARTELLO)

“We have been working on a partnership with the Kaufmann Center for the past few months,” explained Kelly Strayhorn’s executive director, Janera Solomon. “Our thanks go to Committed for coming to Pittsburgh to support us.”

Winners of the NBC hit show “The Sing Off,” Committed showed their audience of adoring fans why more than nine million Americans chose them as the best a cappella group in the country. The group was awarded a $100,000 prize and a recording contract with Epic Records.

“We sing about love and we want to be an inspiration in the mainstream world. We want people to know that they can do anything and they can make their dreams come true. We want to bring people together through our music,” said Committed member Theron “Therry” Thomas.

At the Kaufmann Center, Thomas, Maurice Staple, Alain Gervais, Robert Pressley, Dennis Baptiste and Gaston Pierre did a mixture of gospel, contemporary and oldies songs using only their beautiful voices to emulate a band. The songs appealed to the lively audience in attendance.

The fellas performed a few songs from the “The Sing Off” including “Apologize,” “Hold My Hand” and “Let’s Stay Together.”

In addition, the sextet also performed its first ­single “Break Free,” a soaring and uplifting anthem laced with positive lyrics. It was co-written by Thomas and is currently available on iTunes.

During the concert, the group performed another selection from its forthcoming self-titled album, which is set to hit stores Aug. 30. The album features a mixture of hand-selected cover songs and several originals.

“We are influenced by a lot of different music, so the album is an eclectic mix—jazz, gospel, blues and R& B all wrapped into one sound,” said the group about the album. “It’s different and edgy, there’s a little bit of something for everybody.”

The six men a cappella group hails from Oakwood, Ala., and was formed in 2003. They are influenced by BeBe & CeCe Winans, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind and Fire and fellow a cappella group, Take 6, who are Oakwood alumni and the people who encouraged Committed to try out for “The Sing Off.”

“Being on TV is not easy. We practiced sometimes 18 hours a day not just as a group but with other groups. But we would never trade it for the world,” Thomas said.

“The Sing Off” returns this fall to the NBC line up Sept. 19 with 10 two-hour episodes. The season finale will run Nov. 28.

The men from Committed are spending the remainder of the summer and early fall promoting the new album. Other dates on their tour include Philadelphia, Tennessee, Los Angeles and Ohio.

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