A capella supergroup Pentatonix will stop in Charlottesville Dec. 9 for their cross-country Christmas tour, “The Most Wonderful Tour of the Year.” The tour is an exhibition of the group’s latest album, “The Greatest Christmas Hits,” released in October. The album includes classic songs from Pentatonix’s festive catalog as well as eight new Christmas tracks.
“The Greatest Christmas Hits” certainly represents Pentatonix's greatest moments, including hits from the group’s original “Mary Did You Know?” to popular covers with their famous a capella twist like “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “That’s Christmas to Me” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
Pentatonix has a knack for giving new life to seasoned Christmas classics like hymns and carols. A principal example is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” where the group quickens the centuries-old ballad, adding energy and a jazz and pop-like sound.
Group members Kirstin Maldonado, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee have been sharing their excitement over social media, even making trendy videos while performing on stage. Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Maldonado was able to share a preview of the highly-anticipated tour, her thoughts on the Christmas season and advice for college a capella singers at the University.
The a capella professional says that saying yes to opportunities can help one grow and build confidence.
“I think always go for whatever opportunities present themselves — you learn a lot,” Maldonado said. “I feel like when I was in university, I was worried which one would be the right opportunity, so I think the more you say yes the better because it's a place where you can grow and hone your craft.”
Pentatonix was formed in 2011 when Maldonado herself was in college. The moment she realized the group had “made it,” Maldonado said, was in 2015, when they garnered their first Grammy, went viral on Youtube with the original song “Mary Did You Know?” and sang at Madison Square Garden.
“I feel like that was when we first started to gain momentum and thought ‘we could be doing this for real now,’” Maldonado said. “Being lucky enough to win a Grammy and performing at venues that singers dream of, like Madison Square Garden, were huge pinch-me moments.”
In moments like those she felt like she had realized her dreams, Maldonado shared her gratuity to be able to tour, perform and have audiences enjoy the music — the holiday season especially is fun for the group, Maldonado said, partly because of audience energy.
“We love doing Christmas tours every year,” Moldonado said. “This year, I think we’ve toured the most we ever have. The music is so joyful, and I feel like there's a different energy with the audience because they want to come and celebrate and have that joy. It's really, really fun for us and we don't get tired of it.”
There has been some discourse in the zeitgeist as to when the holiday season officially starts and it is acceptable to start listening to Christmas music. Some say after Halloween, while others say after Thanksgiving — or perhaps the first day of December. While Christmas is year-round for Pentatonix in their recording and preparation for the season, Maldonado settles the debate once and for all.
“I grew up like a Halloween girly,” Maldonado said. “I do Christmas the day after Halloween … Again for Pentatonix, [Christmas] is forever.”
The group is preparing to make this tour their best one yet, with new additions like an acoustic set and a “B stage”, an additional stage that extends into the crowd and allows performers to get much closer to audiences.
“I am super excited,” Moldonado said. “There are a lot of the power belty songs so it'll be a difficult show, but it's going to be really, really fun. I am feeling really good about all the prep and so I'm just really excited for everyone to see it.”
She said fans can expect a combination of their Christmas hits. The group will perform everything from their big power ballads and classic Christmas songs to new originals.
“I am really proud of this album,” Moldonado said. “I got emotional because it feels like all our work the last couple of years and it truly is … from where we started — it’s just a really special album to us. We're putting a lot of work into it, so I hope everyone comes and enjoys.”
Pentatonix will be performing “The Greatest Christmas Hits” on The Most Wonderful Tour of the Year at the University's own John Paul Jones Arena Dec. 9 starting at 7 p.m..