WGBH Launches New, Original Singing Competition
Sing That Thing! to premiere on WGBH 2 in December
Boston Children’s Chorus’ Anthony Trecek-King named host
BOSTON, Mass. (August 7, 2014) – WGBH, Boston’s leading public broadcaster, will start production next month on Sing That Thing!, a new local series coming this winter that showcases New England’s best amateur choirs in a friendly competition that celebrates the diversity of song.
Sing That Thing!, hosted by Boston Children’s Chorus’s acclaimed artistic director Anthony Trecek-King, will highlight as many as 60 choirs competing against each other in four divisions – high school, college, adult small group (8-16 members) and adult large group (17-60 members) – over the course of 11 episodes. The series will premiere on December 5 on WGBH 2 and feature a number of local judges from Boston’s esteemed arts organizations.
“Since first signing onto the public airwaves in 1951, WGBH has celebrated greater Boston’s cherished arts community. Sing That Thing! continues that tradition and gives a broad stage to the local amateur choirs that share their music with all of our communities,” said WGBH chief operating officer Ben Godley, who oversees local programing for WGBH television and radio. “An interactive show like this will connect with our public television audience, our members and families across New England who enjoy music and engaging stories.”
Sing That Thing! was created by WGBH TV general manager Liz Cheng and Benjamin Roe, WGBH’s managing producer for music performance. Cheng and Patricia Alvarado Núñez – a producer with WGBH News – will serve as the series’ executive producers. Cheng previously served as executive producer of Pops Goes the Fourth!, a national Emmy-nominated special from WCVB and the A&E network. Alvarado has produced a number of series and specials for WGBH, most recently the Emmy Award-winning local series Neighborhood Kitchens. Bob Comiskey, a past Emmy Award winner, will direct the series.
“More than 40 million Americans sing with a choir, a cappella or other music groups, making singing America’s favorite participatory performing arts activity. Sing That Thing! celebrates the passion for sharing music,” said Cheng, “Sing that Thing applauds the passion to share music and shines a spotlight on the community artists and amateur singers, who would be as comfortable performing at Symphony Hall as starring in your local, high-school musical.”
Singing has long been one of Americans’ most popular hobbies. One 2009 survey found that nearly a quarter of American households have family members who sing with an organized chorus, up 27 percent from 2003. Many attribute the rising popularity of organized singing to successful commercial television competitions like American Idol, The Voice and America’s Got Talent and scripted series like Glee and Smash. WGBH’s Sing That Thing! seeks to fill a commercial void in celebrating all genres of choral music. In addition to background stories profiling the local groups, the program will feature short, educational segments in between entertaining performances by the participating ensembles.
Local choruses and other choral groups are invited to register and participate in the “Super Singing Weekend” taped auditions, which will take place at the WGBH Studios in Brighton on Saturday, September 27 and 28. Behind the scenes and performance footage from the auditions will make up the first four episodes of the new series. Choirs and choral groups will audition for one of 24 positions in the studio competition, to be taped on October 4 and 5. More information about registration and auditions is available at WGBH.org/SingThatThing.
The series’ premiere season will conclude with a final live concert with each of the eight finalists – two from each category – performing its rendition of an original composition commissioned by WGBH for Sing That Thing!.
Sing That Thing! is WGBH’s latest original local series. Other local series include WGBH News’ Greater Boston, Beat the Press, Basic Black and Open Studio with Jared Bowen, as well as High School Quiz Show, produced by WGBH Education, and Front Row Boston, produced by the WGBH Digital Studios division. In addition, WGBH produces more content for PBS than any other producers, including iconic public broadcasting series Frontline, Nova, Masterpiece, American Experience and Antiques Roadshow.