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Christmas Pops to feature Grammy winners The Swingles

The 2019 Rockefeller Arts Center Christmas Pops event will be “The Swingles: Winter Tales” on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The London-based “a capella” group will perform traditional carols, winter-themed originals and nostalgic classics. Submitted Photo.

For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers that make up today’s group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time Grammy winners since they first made waves in the 1960s.

At a time when “a cappella” music is more popular than ever, the London-based Swingles are recognized as masters of the craft.

Rockefeller Arts Center is pleased to present “The Swingles: Winter Tales” on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

This is a DFT Communications Pops Series event sponsored by Bahgat and Laurito-Bahgat, CPAs as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season. Tickets are available through the Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 and online at fredonia.edu/tickets.

The Swingles will present “a banquet of music to keep out the cold,” with folk- and jazz-inspired original songs served alongside traditional carols and festive favorites. The Swingles’ crystalline vocals are said to “evoke ice-bound worlds, blankets of snow and fireside sing alongs.”

The unmistakable sound of the Swingles has long been associated with Christmas and audiences can look forward to music from five decades of holiday releases including their 2015 album “Yule Songs vol. II.”

The Dec. 11 program will include classic carols, beloved Christmas songs and more including “Tidings,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas” and “This Christmas.”

The Swingles roots go back to 1963, when American-born Ward Swingle first assembled a group of Parisian session singers to sing Bach’s keyboard music. The resulting album, “Jazz Sebastian Bach,” launched the Swingle Singers to fame. Since then, they have won five Grammy awards and made more than 50 recordings, with a repertoire that has grown to include a huge variety of music, including new original songs.

They have also appeared on numerous film and TV soundtracks, including “Sex and the City,” “Milk,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Glee.” In 2017, they co-wrote and performed a song for the end credits of Alexander Payne’s film “Downsizing.”

The group’s versatility has led to collaborations with artists as diverse as the Modern Jazz Quartet and English singer-songwriters Jamie Cullum and Labrinth. Luciano Berio was one of the first composers to explore the sound of the Swingles’ amplified voices in an orchestral setting with his groundbreaking “Sinfonia.”

The group continues to perform the piece to great acclaim around the world, with recent performances at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, London’s Royal Festival Hall and Milan’s La Scala.

In addition to a busy touring schedule that regularly takes them to North and South America, Europe and Asia, The Swingles present their own London A Cappella Festival at Kings Place each January in partnership with Ikon Arts Management. The festival is the first of its kind in the capital, welcoming the finest vocal talent from around the world.

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