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Berklee students aim for the 'perfect pitch'

Posted by Alex Pearlman  December 3, 2011 09:26 AM

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perfect pitch singers.jpgBy Angela Stefano

Singing competitions are so en vogue right now. From The Voice to the original, American Idol, and all the others in between, television networks are cashing in on the musical trend.

Berklee students, too, have been inspired: After just over a month of rehearsals, participants in the school’s Perfect Pitch competition will perform this Tuesday, Dec. 6, at The Middle East. Out of 16 singers, the winner will earn studio time at Sanctumsound Studios.

“The history behind the show is rooted in our desire to foster a greater sense of community between the separate departments of Berklee, who tend not to intermingle all that often,” according to the competition's website. “[Perfect Pitch has] songwriters ‘pitch’ their songs to ‘artists,’ [and] use[s] performance majors for our house band, business majors to help us organize and promote, and MP&E majors to record and produce the winners.”

The competition is entirely student-run. Organizers began auditioning singers in early October, looking for singing ability and stage presence, said concert manager Kayleigh Mill; they chose five producers, who then matched songs and songwriters to singers. A "house band," also made up of students, will accompany all participants on the night of the final show.

In the past, Perfect Pitch winners have been determined via text voting, but this time, organizers decided to bring in judges: Shapiro Bernstein A&R vice president Eric Beall, Soul World Entertainment's Ronald Allen, producer/engineer Paul Kolderie, and artist and producer/engineer Prince Charles Alexander. They’ll be looking for “the whole package,” Mill said -- “an artist instead of just a singer.”

And while the chance to record their hard work would be nice, many of the students involved said that the real prize has been seeing the event come together.

“We love to get together with friends and play great music....The competition is secondary,” said band leader Spencer Stewart, who is participating in Perfect Pitch for the third time. “There’s so much work that goes into one night, but it’s totally worth it....Having everyone up there on stage is like heaven.”

Photos by Cal Bingham

About Angela -- It's "Ang," if you please -- or, alternately, Bill, Penny Lane, or (begrudgingly) Angus to some. I've been with TNGG since the site started and am now the TNGG Boston editor for I graduated from Boston University's College of Communication in 2009 and am a huge fan of live music, hockey, and Thai food. I'm also a bit of a klutz, but that's only because my mind and body are always going in approximately a zillion separate directions. Twitter: @amstefano988

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