TBA Announces New Plan, New Cast

by Holly Brown

The a cappella crooners so famous to Transylvania University’s campus and the Lexington area, Transy Boys a Cappella, are starting the year off with a few impressive changes including an expanded repertoire, new members and the possibility of a new name.

The members of the 2010-2011 TBA are (from left) junior Gray Gideon, sophomore Alex Yaden, senior Matt Elmore, senior Matt Bradley, first-year John Culbertson, first-year Hannah Johnson, junior Thomas Hatton, first-year Daniel Barber, senior Alex Keys, and sophomore Paul Young.

One change that has most excited the campus community is the addition of first-year Hannah Johnson to the group. Previously TBA had been an all-male ensemble, but this year they had some spots to fill and opened auditions to anyone who could sing the first-tenor part.

“We really needed a T1 (tenor one) to make our group balanced and there were not any males from the various choirs who stepped up and showed interest,” said junior Gray Gideon, TBA’s music director. ”So we opened it up to female vocalists, but we made it very clear that we were still going to sing in TTBB format and that the females who wanted to try out should be able to sing in that range.”

The audition process consisted of interested persons singing a prepared a cappella piece, demonstrating their range and sight-reading a piece with the group in order to determine how well their voice blended with the others.

Johnson, who is a music minor and sang second alto in her high school choir, decided to try out for the part and was accepted as a member of the group.

“Hannah is very good for that role, and she is very talented musically,” said senior TBA member Alex Keys, who is in charge of the group’s business activities.

Though the addition of a female member might seem like a significant change for TBA, the members of the group appear to have taken it completely in stride.

“It seemed like a nonissue,” Keys said.

“We’re still keeping the traditional TTBB structure, but if you can sing tenor they don’t care who you are,” said Johnson. “It’s really fun so far and I feel very welcomed.”
However, the addition of Johnson to the group does bring to a head an issue that’s been brewing for a while.

“Name change has kind of come up every year,” Keys said. “The acronym isn’t the best for trying to get the group off-campus.”

So far the name change has been discussed, but no solution to the issue has been found yet. If fans have suggestions for a new name they should message TBA on Facebook or e-mail Alex Keys (atkeys11@transy.edu) with their input. In the meantime, if you want to avoid using the old acronym, they are temporarily referring to themselves as the “Artists Formerly Known as TBA.”

Along with these changes, TBA has added four new male members. Keys described one of the other first-year additions, John Culbertson, as a “very good bass.” And, for those fans out there who were worried about missing the skills of alumnus Josh Motley, Culbertson can also beat-box.

“I’d just like to say that I’m very excited,” said Culbertson. “It’s awesome being a part of an a cappella group. I never had the opportunity at my high school. Everyone in the group formerly known as TBA (is) fun to be around and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

First-year Daniel Barber has also joined the group and will bring to it his experience in barbershop-style singing.

Along with the two first-year additions, TBA has brought on two upperclassmen. Sophomore Alex Yaden will be singing as well as arranging music for the group, and Thomas Hatton will be rejoining TBA.

The group also intends to use this semester as a chance to expand their repertoire, potentially in a more upbeat direction. They also aim to increase their showmanship and plan to perform at off-campus venues this year in addition to their traditional shows.


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