“A Cappella” - Without musical accompaniment (Italian for “In the manner of the chapel”)
You may know them as “Those guys that are always singing along at shows!” or “Those guys that are always singing along to whatever's playing at the bar!” or even “Those guys that are always...singing!”, but you may also know them as “Those guys that pack out four corners round-about this time every year”, or even “Those guys that aren't in it for the money, just the love of putting on a good show and bringing a bit of Christmas Spirit to those in need”.
“Jing Sing” are a Beijing based 'a cappella' group that have been established for almost three years, with an ever evolving line up of both expat and Chinese talent. LoReLi attended their show at the super-hip Sanlitun hot-spot “Pop Up Beijing”, where we spoke with creative director / founding partner Glenn Schuitman, as well as singers both new and old about their up coming micro-tour of the city, and where they'd like to see themselves in the not too distant future.
You can hear the choir in full force at Modernista Thursday December 8th, and Four Corners December 9th. There are also rumours a select few members might make an appearance as not-so-super-secret-special-guests at the Fangjia Christmas Market on December 11th.
Posted December 9, 2016
GS: Glenn Schuitman
KT: Kaitlin Thomas
LF: Lise Floris
DN: Devin Nickell
GS: So this is the fourth concert we've done with Jing Sing, first thing is we're honoured to have them here. The second thing is they are kind enough, and generous enough to give their time as a choir and as individuals, not to Pop Up Beijing, but to community because every concert we do is a charity fund raiser. So, for us, community means multiple things. It means who comes together, who we can bring together in one space, but it also means how we can contribute and give back to the wider community that we live in. Today, thanks to Jing Sing and Jingle Belles we have raised another two thousand kuai towards our ten thousand (kuai) target...in fact, we've met our target, for the china red-ribbon foundation.
KT: I really like this place. The acoustics are nice, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are warm and open minded.
LF: This is a gift for singers to be able to perform here – it's beautiful! Everything they sell, everything they display is beautiful, but for us, especially the acoustics were fantastic.
DN: We've got a full new crew, so before, I think Jing Sing was pretty loose, a group of friends hanging out and singing together, and now it's becoming a bit more of a well oiled machine, yeah I think it's always a bit nerve racking, but then you get the pre-show-jitters out... Yeah, so, I think that a lot of us wanted some sort of musical outlet, and it was just a way at first of kind of finding that outlet, like we just all got together and literally all just sat in grace's living room and sang, and added some harmonies to it, but it's actually kinda taken off a little bit. There might be some more interesting things happening with Jing Sing in the future, I hope.
LF: It was my first time to perform with Jing Sing, and considering that, it was a very wonderful experience for me. I would say about five of us are relatively new, joining in August onwards basically. It was my dream for many years to be part of a good 'a cappella' group, and I am very happy to have found it in Beijing.
KT: We're pretty busy for the Christmas season, a lot of people want a cappella singers to sing christmas songs! We're playing at Modernista on thursday, I believe we're playing at four corners on friday, and we have a couple of “not quite settled yet” gigs that are coming up over the course of the next few weeks.
LF: It's embarrassing but I've never been to Modernista, and I think that's one of the venues everybody's talking about!
DN: Christmas is our biggest time of the year so we'll probably slow down a little bit until Chun Jie, and see what happens after that, but usually we have a couple of shows a year so keep on the lookout, probably something coming up in the Spring!
Actually we've had this kind of dream for a while to have a show on the Great Wall, but not really sure how the logistics of that would work out getting everybody out to the wall so maybe that will be built onto some other event we can partner with, but yeah, I think Great Wall is definitely our number one spot!
KT: I think it would be pretty cool for us to do like, what do they call those...they're not like...where you just like randomly go to a place and all of a sudden people just start singing out of nowhere, flash-mobs! Yeah, I think it would be cool to do a few of those. Maybe on the subway? That'd be really cool. I think it'd be cool.
Do you have what it takes to join the Jing Sing crew? Follow their Wechat account at “jingsing_acappella” for more information on how to apply. Or even better, go to a show. Sing along. Maybe your voice is the diamond in the rough they've been listening for. Or even better than that, go to a show anyway even if you can't sing. Even if you can't sing, sing along. You may not be invited to join them officially, but you'll probably get a high five from someone standing around you for at least trying.