Due to COVD and the inclusion of international artists, filming the television special has been pushed to 2023

A Word from Our Celebrity Co-Hosts

Alvin Chea
As the bass vocalist if  the 10-time, Grammy winning, Take 6, Alvin is the voice behind Chili’s  “I want my baby back ribs”.
10-time Grammy winner with Take 6
Rosana Eckert
Rosana is the director of vocal jazz at the University of North Texas and recently released her new album, “Sailing Home”.
NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series


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Through teaming with Behind The Mic creatives, schedule a consultation to listen, share, and collaborate on effective campaigns that align with your mission, core values, and global marketing strategies. Contact us at 651.335.5466 or at alton.accola@fivebydesign.com




Maybebop | Germany

Maybebop is a German male a cappella quartet consisting of founding member Oliver Gies, Jan Malte Bürger, Lukas Teske and Christoph Hiller. The group sings predominantly German-language self-compositions, although it has released cover versions of rock hits such as "Nothing Else Matters", and "Bohemian Rhapsody". In addition, the group has released jazz adaptations of folk and Christmas songs like "Abendlied", "Die Gedanken sind frei" and "Still, Still, Still".

Video:      https://youtu.be/xfX-hz-X5cU



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Afro Blue | Washington D.C.

Afro Blue was formed by Connaitre Miller in the spring of 2002. Now in their 18th year of existence, Afro Blue, the dynamic vocal jazz ensemble from Howard University, has performed to wide critical acclaim.  Singing music similar to the styles of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, The Manhattan Transfer, and Take 6, while adding their own sound, Afro Blue continues to maintain a standard of excellence from year to year.

Video:      https://youtu.be/vuI1IS28mB0




Sambaranda | Brazil

Led by vocalist/arranger Rafael Carneiro, Sambaranda is an a cappella group out of Sao Paulo, Brazil that melds a delicious tropical flavor with the very best of vocal jazz. Their first release was a Christmas album in 2017. It should also be noted that Sambaranda has a generous presence on YouTube. Their latest video—"Vinho de Ponta/Ponta de Areia, was filmed on a Sao Paulo rooftop at sunset, with the sole accompaniment of a finger tracing the rim of a wine glass. The mood is dreamy and transcendent, a rare pleasure to watch and hear.

:      https://youtu.be/5MBg0VGvRKM



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Business Casual | California

Business Casual is a five-member a cappella vocal band celebrated for their smart and surprising covers of popular songs. What would Mozart sound like as performed by a salsa band? What if Justin Timberlake was a jazz quartet? Taking inspiration from artists like Postmodern Jukebox and Scary Pockets, Business Casual delights audiences with arrangements of crowd-pleasing tunes. As recent national champions of the Harmony Sweepstakes and VoiceJam competitions, the group performs at venues big and small across the US and overseas.

Video:      https://youtu.be/tY4NpFtZtO4



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7th Element  | Florida

7th Element’s slogan, “It’s all about the 7th Element,” says it all. These six men have accomplished much in their own right, but it’s the Seventh member, the “unseen” one, that is the focal point of the group’s music. 7th Element consists of the four Greene brothers, Curt, Darren, Garth, and Kevin, as well as long-time friends, Marc Dwyer and Dean Dennis. Since its April 1999 inception, the group’s mission is to: First, bring a message of truth through creating a smooth inspirational sound with a mixture of harmonies that draw universal appeal; and second, to inspire and mentor young musicians to continue the a capella musical tradition.

Video:      https://youtu.be/NbfQuyrOCnY



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The Blenders  | North Dakota

Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, the four members of The Blenders - Tim Kasper, Ryan Lance, Darren Rust, and Allan Rust built their fan base on the strength its a Cappella singing style. The group has toured the U.S. with acts as Jay Leno, Howie Mandel, Chicago, The Righteous Brothers, Lou Rawls, and Chuck Berry. They have appeared on a variety of national and regional television shows, including The Arsenio Hall Show, The Today Show, and Crook and Chase on TNN.




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MayTree  | South Korea

Maytree is a professional mixed South Korean a cappella group and has performed concerts on television and radio shows, commercial music, CD recording, and education. Maytree’s own unique color comes from their refined original pieces, delicate arrangements, and powerful vocal drum and harmony. They have been finding ways to make brand-new beautiful sounds with the human voice. 

Video:      https://youtu.be/OXo1Rzxr91Q


Aligning Missions and Values

Behind The Mic’s mission is “fostering global harmony through vocal harmony” while providing exceptional artists with a worldwide media platform. Through collaborating with your team, we can create experiential opportunities that benefit your brand and our property. 

Music and lyrics define who we are as a culture. At Behind The Mic, we view the world through the prism of positive behaviors, attitudes, ambitions, and actions. The next generation of artists represents a cross-section of cultures in our global community. The international vocal groups we’ve selected uplift the human spirit through diversity, generosity, dignity, and LOVE... it’s what the world needs now!
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MayTree (South Korea)
Filming In the Twin Cities
The Twin Cities includes some of the finest film production companies and talents in the music industry. Minnesota has been home to Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, Prairie Home Companion, Sounds of Blackness, and  Prince.

A Genuinely Global Event
Filming the 2023 Worldwide Christmas Special will set sponsors, production company, vocal groups, co-hosts, and the state of Minnesota on an international media stage. The holiday concert special is a genuinely global event with pop a cappella and accompanied vocal groups flying into the Twin Cities from South Korea, Germany, Sweden, France, England, Brazil, Canada, and the United States. 
Leaders in A Cappella
Celebrity artists Alvin Chea and Rosana Eckert will share the hosting duties for the 2023 Worldwide Christmas Special.. 

Vocal harmony groups, whether a cappella or accompanied have a worldwide appeal due to the popularity of television productions including NBC’s The Sing-Off, America’s Got Talent, a cappella artists Pentatonix, Home Free, and the Pitch Perfect movie series. Music educational institutions in schools and universities have been influential in the development of millions of vocal groups, singers, and arrangers.

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Rosana Eckert
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Alvin Chea



The Niskas  | Minnesota

Lorie, Kurt, and Terry Niska were the core members of the vocal quintet, Five By Design for 29 years. The artists performed with big bands and hundreds of symphony orchestras including notable performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra, a holiday tour with the Boston, the Bosphotous Music Festival in Istanbul. The Niskas have produced music videos,  conducted workshops for vocal students, and are advocates for vocal music education.

Video:      https://youtu.be/0NTxFhFRcwM



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OneVoice  | Tennessee

J .D. Frizzell is the Director of Fine Arts and Director of Vocal Music at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, TN, where he is responsible for coordinating all Fine Arts programs. OneVoice has performed at regional, national, and international conventions. Winner of the Integrales Composition Contest, Dr. Frizzell has had many best-selling compositions and arrangements. He is the President of the A Cappella Education Association and the Founder of The National A Cappella Convention.

Video:      https://youtu.be/Sr4ukJavnQg



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Accent  | Sweden, France, England, Canada, USA

In the increasingly popular world of a cappella singing groups, Accent has carved out its own niche. The improbable meeting of Jean-Baptiste (“JB”) Craipeau (France), Simon Åkesson (Sweden), Danny Fong (Canada), Andrew Kesler (Canada), James Rose (United Kingdom), and Evan Sanders (USA), six self-described “jazz vocal nerds,” could have happened only in the age of social media. After becoming long-distance fans of each other’s multi-tracked videos on YouTube, they joined forces in 2011, collaborating online on songs and videos.

Video:      https://youtu.be/NBuNHCtGP9U

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Alton Accola  artist liaison

Behind The Mic
St. Paul MN USA

“Our gift is giving deserving artists the opportunity to achieve their dreams.”

For 29 years, Accola was the talent booker for the big band vocal quintet, Five By Design. The artists performed with hundreds of symphony orchestras throughout North America. Notable orchestras included the Minnesota Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Winnipeg Symphony, the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, and a 2012 holiday tour with conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.

As the founder/artist liaison for Behind The Mic, Accola has filmed interviews with more than 100 artists, educators, and music industry specialists including Bobby McFerrin, The Hi-Lo’s (Clark Burroughs and Don Shelton), The Lettermen’s Tony Butala, The Manhattan Transfer (Janis Siegel, Alan Paul, and Cheryl Bentyne), Ben Folds, Home Free (winners of NBC’s The Sing-Off), Take 6’s Alvin Chea, and Lee Greenwood. 

Contact: +1 651.335.5466 | alton.accola@fivebydesign.com