Award Winning A Cappella Groups Perform at the Platt Branch Library

Jennifer Ann Seidman, Young Adult Librarian, Platt Branch Library,

In the fall of 1997, Joshua Barroll, a young music educator, began his tenure at Calabasas High School, developing what was to become an award winning music program attracting the best talent that Calabasas has to offer. The CHS music program has grown from less than 100 students to well over 300 students, winning competitions both nationally and internationally. The music program began with only a wind ensemble, jazz band, marching band, and two choirs. Additionally, due to the enormous success of the CHS music program, they now have three choirs, a string orchestra, and a guitar ensemble.

As an alumna of Calabasas High School, I have fond memories of being a part of the music program. I performed in the advanced women’s ensemble, Vivace, traveled to San Francisco and Boston for music festivals where we took home top honors, as well as won the Outstanding Vocalist Award my 12th grade year. This amazing music program has continued to blossom and I am proud to have been a part of Mr. Barroll’s first four years as music director. He inspired me to continue my musical studies eventually earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music.

In 2001, talented CHS alumna Alana Loewe Weiss assisted Mr. Barroll in co-founding Unstrumental and later, Bare Rhythm in 2005. These groups have been entertaining audiences ever since with their powerful renditions of pop/rock hits all performed without instruments, utilizing only the human voice to make music.  Mrs. Weiss had been a founding member of Naked Voices, an a cappella group at the University of California, Santa Barbara. These two a cappella groups have become the premiere extra-curricular ensembles of CHS. In order for a student to participate in one of these elite groups they must be enrolled in another music program class and undergo a rigorous and selective audition process at the beginning of each school year. Rehearsals take place on lunch breaks and on evenings once a week.

Recently, they have been the two time runner up at the Los Angeles A Cappella Festival (2012-2013), as well as the 2014 Champions. They were the first high school groups to ever compete, winning a private coaching with the a cappella group they admire most, Pentatonix. In 2015, the groups traveled to New York City to perform under the direction of a cappella master Deke Sharon at his “Total Vocal” concert at Carnegie Hall. They received a standing ovation from the audience, and even had the chance to sing with a cappella groups from all over the world in a mass a cappella choir. In addition, they have recently released their second full length album titled “After Hours” (available on Loudr and iTunes) and have been selected to appear on this year’s Best of High School A Cappella CD.

As an alumna of the award winning music program of Calabasas High School, I am proud to announce that Unstrumental and Bare Rhythm will be performing at the Platt Library for an aca-awesome event that will leave everyone aca-amazed. Come hear these talented teens belt out pop and rock classic and contemporary hits. Some of the selections they will be performing include “Lips are Movin’’ by Meghan Trainor, “Retrograde” by James Blake, “Help From My Friends” by The Beatles, and “Settle Down” by Kimbra. Hope you can come join us on Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm!