Ben Folds to co-host an immersive a capella camp in DC

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Ben Folds Joins Planet Word, The National Symphony Orchestra,
& Camp A Cappella To Co-Host A DC A Cappella Day Camp

DC-area a cappella groups to take part in a day camp and perform at
The Kennedy Center as part of the NSO’s “Declassified” concert series

WASHINGTON DC — National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Artistic Advisor Ben Folds will join Planet Word, a DC-based interactive museum devoted to immersive language experiences, the NSO, and Camp A Cappella in co-hosting an immersive a cappella camp – entitled “DC Camp A Cappella Intensive” – for area a cappella groups on Tuesday, April 26th.

This unique one-day camp will be led by singer/arranger/composer Deke Sharon, co-founder of Camp A Cappella, and recognized as one of the leaders of the contemporary a cappella community. In addition to teaching a cappella camps around the world, Sharon also served as a consultant to NBC’s popular a cappella competition series “The Sing Off” and to the “Pitch Perfect” film series.

In addition to the one-day camp, the participating DC-area a cappella groups will also perform on the Millennium Stage in the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center (KC) on Friday, April 29th, just prior to the “Ben Folds Presents: Declassified” concert in the KC’s Main Concert Hall.

The April 29th “Ben Folds Presents: Declassified” concert, which begins at 9 PM ET, will feature spoken word songs by William Shatner with the NSO.

Folds, a long-time champion and advocate of a cappella, released an album in 2009 of college a cappella performances that he recorded around the country, called “University A Cappella!” He was later a judge for four seasons on the “The Sing Off” network series.

“In my role as the NSO’s Artistic Advisor, I’ve worked closely over the years with the orchestra to help build bridges between all genres of music and performance,” said Folds. “At our April 29th concert, we will be showcasing the iconic, powerful voice of William Shatner as he speaks on stage over original scores presented by the orchestra, illustrating how spoken word can be presented as a powerful musical experience.”

Folds added that, in addition to the Declassified concert featuring Shatner, “we also wanted to take this occasion to celebrate a cappella by co-hosting a free one-day immersive camp for DC-area a cappella groups, while also giving them an opportunity to showcase their incredible vocal talents at the Kennedy Center just prior to our Friday Declassified concert. I’m greatly appreciative of Ann Friedman and her team at Planet Word for hosting the camp at their incredible facilities.”

“DC Camp A Cappella Intensive” will involve a series of immersive workshops and sessions with Sharon and Folds, covering subjects from vocal techniques to composition, presentation, and performance. The participating a cappella groups are also scheduled to perform on the Millennium Stage outside the Main Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center beginning at 8 PM ET.

“DC Camp A Capella Intensive is a unique opportunity for young singers in our region to immerse themselves in a cappella singing with Deke Sharon,” said NSO Executive Director Gary Ginstling. “The NSO is honored to co-host this new project with our friends from Planet Word and Camp Acapella and are grateful to NSO Artistic Advisor Ben Folds for continuing to push the boundaries of how we engage in making music.”

Planet Word will serve as host of the day camp at its home, located at 935 13th Street in the newly restored historic Franklin School building. Planet Word is a nonprofit museum dedicated to the power and fun of language. Founded by philanthropist Ann Friedman, the museum invites visitors of all ages to experience what words mean to the human experience in a fun, technologically advanced, immersive environment. For more information, visit PlanetWordMuseum.org.

“A cappella is such a fitting artform to be practiced, performed, and celebrated at Planet Word,” said Friedman. “To make music without its traditional instrumental accompaniment means the words themselves are transformed into instruments, melodies, and harmonies to take center stage. What a great example of the power of language to tell our stories in new and creative ways, and what a treat to collaborate with Ben Folds and the Kennedy Center on this project that truly brings words to life.”

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