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A Cappella at its very best...

The Pitchforks of Duke University return to FAC

Posted: January 26, 2012 11:27 a.m.
Updated: January 27, 2012 5:00 a.m.

The music of the Pitchforks of Duke University, a nationally acclaimed collegiate a cappella group, and a past winner of the SoJam Southeast Collegiate A Cappella Festival, is returning to the Wood Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County (FAC) for a one-night performance Friday, Feb. 3. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, military and seniors. This concert is made possible by Bob Sheheen.

About the Pitchforks

A multi-talented ensemble, the Pitchforks were founded in 1979. At first, the group sang only barbershop and traditional music. Now its repertoire includes a wider range, from the Beach Boys to currently popular artists like Cold Play and Queen. It is incredible to see the variety of songs from various musical genres that this group of college-aged men has mastered.

The ever evolving Pitchforks have produced 17 albums, and are considered to be one of the top university a cappella groups in the country. Its newest album, “All In,” was released in 2010.

The Pitchforks were the first a cappella group on the Duke campus and have just celebrated their 32nd anniversary! Shortly after the group was started, Dr. Benjamin Ward, professor of Philosophy, Germanic Studies, and Arabic at Duke, began directing. For more than 10 years, he has led the group and contributed innumerable arrangements to the library of now more than 400 songs. Two of its albums, Bring It Back (2006) and Disconcert (2008), have each won the CARA Award from the Contemporary A Cappella Society for the Best Male Collegiate Album in the nation.

The group consists of 20 members, 19 students from all over the country along with Dr. Ward. Seniors Alex Brockhoff, Hareesh Ganesan, Matt McCarty and Hunter Treacy; juniors Dylan Flye, Jacob Kuhn, Ryan McLoughlin, Jordan Rodriguez, and John Yoo; sophomores Alvin King, Meil Krisnan, Martavius Parrish and Christopher Waybill; and newest members freshmen Adam Abelson, Justin Erickson, Stefan Fertala, Jay Kennedy, Matt Mallick, Eric Wu and Kevin Wu.
The Pitchforks main goal is to produce exceptional music, but members still find time for fun. Each fall the group takes a weekend retreat to Camden where members are able to relax at a local lake house. Then they spend their school vacations traveling across the country (and even the globe) to perform.

The Pitchforks have performed for the Queen of Jordan, for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and for Bill and Melinda Gates, among others. The group has also performed the “Star Spangled Banner” for the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.

For more information or tickets to the Pitchforks, call 425-7676 extension 300 or visit the FAC website at www.fineartscenter.org. The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County is located at 810 Lyttleton St. in Camden. Box office hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Thursday 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

The Fine Arts Center is funded in part by the Frederick S. Upton Foundation and the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the City of Camden, Kershaw County, and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina along with donations from businesses and individuals.

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