By Marcia Neville | University of Colorado Denver
DENVER (Dec. 10, 2013) – The new year will bring new adventures for University of Colorado Denver’s Mix a cappella singers. The group recently learned that it’s been invited to perform internationally for the first time.
In late January, Mix will travel to London to open for the Grammy-award-winning Swingle Singers at the prestigious London A Cappella Festival. The CU Denver singers received a personal invitation directly from the world-renowned singers themselves.
Bass singer Daniel Bailey, a Music Business major, describes the opportunity as “insane.”
“The Swingle Singers tour the world. They are the headliners at the festival. And, they asked us to perform! We’ve been lucky enough to establish a working relationship and friendship with them over the past few years. To open for them will be an honor.”
Just a year ago, Mix was a relative unknown. Now they are a sensation. With wins at three competitions, Mix is undefeated in 2013 and routinely wins recognition as the “most original” group.
The singers’ latest win came at the SoJam A Cappella Festival in Raleigh, N.C., the site of their breakout performance in 2012.
“The competition was incredible,” said Erin Hackel, DMA the group’s director. “We’d finished second at SoJam the year before, and it was an honor to perform there again. The crowd really seemed to come together and root for Mix. We decided to push the envelope a bit by constructing a set and mailing it across the country, something we’d never done in competition before. It was risky but it paid off. Mix took first place and earned the award for Best Visual Presentation.”
In addition to the innovative set, Mix incorporates costumes, costume changes and choreography in its electric performances. The fresh, creative approach has quickly become a Mix trademark. The group plans to make it their lasting legacy.
Bailey credits the Mix sound and look to Hackel’s influence. “She is our rock and our foundation,” said Bailey. “Without her none of this happens.”
Hackel is a classically-trained vocalist who was forced to learn a cappella from the ground up when the singers were assigned to her. “She’s an amazing vocalist and a great dancer with a creative mind. Her willingness and fearlessness to try new things is what keeps us pushing the envelope,” Bailey explained. “She also has faith and trust in us as musicians and is willing to sit back and guide us rather than tell us. Despite her classical training, she totally gets a cappella.”
The Swingle Singers and the audience at the London A Cappella Festival will hear, see and feel the creative energy that goes into every single Mix performance on Jan.25. The show will mark Mix’ European and international debut. After taking the country by storm, they’re set to take on the world.