UNH A Cappella Group Appeared on NBC’s “Today” Show

Jack Gilman, president of Not Too Sharp, is on the far right.
courtesy photo

It was the national TV debut for the 13-man group and it marked a glorious end to a year of high marks, including having their songs picked for two albums featuring the best of a cappella from colleges around the nation. Not Too Sharp also earned a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award nomination for best original song for “Electric” off their latest studio album, “Haywire.” Their first professionally filmed video, a rendition of Rusted Root’s “Send Me on My Way,” is a YouTube hit with about 60,000 views and they are working on a new studio album.

Interest in a cappella seems like a seasonal thing. Is it growing or fading? It is one of those things that seems to always be changing. Whenever a movie like “Pitch Perfect” comes out, interest increases, so things have been exciting for the last couple years.

Have you guys ever happened to be together at the mall or a karaoke bar or something and spontaneously taken over the place?  We haven’t yet, but flash mobbing is something we always talk about doing. It’s one of those things that can go great, or go terribly. We haven’t decided if it is worth the risk yet.

What’s the strangest event you’ve been asked to sing for? We were invited to sing at the robotics competition at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester a few years ago, and we had so much fun, we’ve gone back the past two years.

So how did things work out at the “Today” show? Any stories you can share? It went so well, and was such a rewarding experience to be able to sing on national television. I would say the funniest thing that happened was when we were warming up in the hallway of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. We were singing one of the songs we did for the show and when we turned around, Hoda Kotb was there clapping.

What’s a song you really love to sing with the group? My favorite song to sing is “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root. It was the music video we released last fall and was on our last studio album. Fans love the song as much as we do, and it’s just great to hear them cheer when we start singing it.

Is there some place at UNH (or in New Hampshire) that has the best acoustics for a cappella singing? It’s funny, we spend a lot of time in the Memorial Union Building (MUB) and have to find a lot of places to warm up. One of those places is a stairwell that no one uses very often, and the acoustics always make us sound pretty good. Other than that, we do a show every November at the Nottingham Community Church. It is our favorite place to sing because everything sounds amazing in that sanctuary.

If you could film your next video anywhere, where would you go? If money was no object, I would love to record our next video someplace warm. But more realistically, I think a video in downtown Portsmouth could be fun, and give it a nice New Hampshire feel.


Categories: Q&A