The Princeton Footnotes have a handful of mottos, passed down through generations of students. Jonathan Schwartz ’14, the all-male a cappella group’s current president, has one particular favorite: “Taking silly seriously since 1959.”
As Schwartz and his fellow Footnotes prepare to watch their debut on NBC’s The Sing-Off, they’re hoping that the silly and serious shine through on screen. The group aims to have fun, he said, but they also want to be on the leading edge of choral performance. “A cappella is cool again, in certain circles, and there are a lot of innovative things going on in this small community,” Schwartz said.
The Sing-Off, now in its fourth season, aims to capitalize on the cool factor. (Promos mention, among other things, the cult-favorite movie Pitch Perfect.) Beginning Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central, 10 teams will compete for a recording contract in a two-week, seven-episode series. Footnotes members and fans will watch the debut at a Frist Campus Center viewing party, sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
Schwartz said that simple changes, like singing with microphones and remembering new choreography, made the TV experience much different than a typical gig. It also was an “incredibly emotional experience,” he said, because when the Footnotes finished singing their opening song, several friends were in the audience, waving signs and wearing the group’s T-shirts.
After NBC finishes airing the Footnotes’ Hollywood run, the group has another memorable trip on its calendar: In late January, members will be touring Israel during intercession.
WATCH: Below, an NBC interview with Footnotes members Jonathan Schwartz ’14, Adam Hyndman ’12, and Josh Lavine ’10.