Cambridge groups get to ‘Sing That Thing’ semifinals, with one winning its category

MIT choral group Syncopasian with composer Jim Papoulis
MIT choral group Syncopasian, seen with composer Jim Papoulis, won the college-group category of the WGBH series “Sing That Thing!” (Photos: Patricia Alvarado Nuñez of WGBH)

Cambridge’s two entrants into the WGBH “Sing That Thing!” television program made it to the semifinals but ultimately lost the overall prize to the Boston Arts Academy Spirituals Ensemble, as revealed in tonight’s airing of the series’ first-season finale.

But the winner in the college-group category was Syncopasian, a 17-member student group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded in 2008 and specializing in Asian pop.

Papoulis and Musica Sacra during semifinals.
Papoulis and Musica Sacra during semifinals.

The other Cambridge group competing was Musica Sacra, a nonprofit choral ensemble founded in 1959.

There were 23 amateur singing groups chosen from across southern New England to compete – including nine high schools groups, six collegiate choirs and nine community choruses – out of more than 50 hoping to be part of the show’s inaugural season.

The series began taping preliminary rounds in February at the station’s studios in Brighton, and the winner was determined at the taping of the finale May 4 – with the news that the Boston Arts Academy Spirituals Ensemble won to be kept secret until the final episode aired.

Founded in 2009, the Boston Arts Academy Spirituals Ensemble focuses on the music of the African diaspora, including African-American spirituals. Directed by Tyrone Sutton, the ensemble’s high school students perform all around Boston and at major civic events.

“Congratulations to the singers of the Boston Arts Academy Spirituals Ensemble and to all of the groups who participated,” co-executive producer Patricia Alvarado Nuñez said.

The four category winners of “Sing That Thing!,” including Syncopasian, are scheduled to perform July 25-July 26 at the third annual Boston Summer Arts Weekend in Boston’s Copley Square.

This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.

Previous story: Musica Sacra, MIT Syncopasian choruses competing in WGBH’s ‘Sing That Thing!’
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