‘Carol of the Bells,’ futuristic a cappella style

by Kevin Birnbaum

I’m an unabashed fan of Pentatonix, the freakishly talented quintet of kids that won NBC’s a cappella singing competition, “The Sing-Off,” last year. I don’t even particularly like “Carol of the Bells” as a song, but Pentatonix’s creative arrangements (often described as “futuristic”) are almost always worth a listen. In much the same way that I marvel at the alchemy achieved with four simple voice parts in Palestrina’s Sicut cervus, I sometimes have a hard time believing there are only five voices in Pentatonix.