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Sophie Jeffery, Staff Writer

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Pentatonix (abbreviated to PTX), a musical group formed in 2011, is rapidly increasing in popularity as they introduce the world to acapella. The group is best known for creating acapella covers of popular songs, especially music for the holidays. Pentatonix got its name from a twist on the pentatonic scale (a musical scale of 5 notes per octave), which represents the fact that they’re a group of 5 singers: Kirstin Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying, Avi Kaplan, and Kevin Olusola. Maldonado, Grassi, and Hoying usually tackle the vocals while Olusola provides the “percussion” with his beatboxing. Kaplan participates with both bass vocals and beatboxing.

The group started with three people: Maldonado, Grassi, and Hoying, who’d grown up together in Texas. The trio performed locally during high school, but parted ways when they graduated. While attending the University of Southern California, Hoying joined an acapella group called the SoCal VoCals. Ben Bram (a member of the SoCal VoCals, and PTX’s arranger producer, and sound engineer) encouraged Hoying to try out for the TV show The Sing-Off. Hoying persuaded Maldonado and Grassi to join him. Having the need to have a bass and beatboxer, the trio recruited Kaplan from a mutual friend and Olusola after finding his video of him playing the cello and beatboxing simultaneously. The newly-formed group of five successfully auditioned for The Sing-Off, and even won the 2011 season. They’ve also worked with other artists, such as Lindsey Stirling and Todrick Hall on music in 2013.

Following their victory, the members relocated to Los Angeles in pursuit of becoming recording artists. They released their first EP, PTX, Volume 1, on June 26, 2012. It charted at number 14 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and number 5 on the digital chart. The album sold 20,000 copies within a week of its release. In fall of 2012, PTX went on a national tour spanning 30 cities, and was sold out at each location. Their first Christmas EP, PTXmas, was released on November 13, 2012. Since then, Pentatonix has released 5 more albums, 2 of them holiday-themed. In 2015, Hoying stated that the group was starting to transition towards original music. On August 28 in the same year, PTX released their third album, Pentatonix; the first fully original one.They have also won 3 Grammy Awards and performed in several sold-out shows around the world. Their YouTube channel has about 13 million subscribers, with over 2 billion video views. Pentatonix has even appeared in the movie Pitch Perfect 2 as the Canadian team in the world acapella championships. In 2015, Pentatonix released a documentary on their sold-out North American tour in 2015.

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