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Denebola » Article » Newtones to record with famed musician Ben Folds
Arts and Entertainment

Newtones to record with famed musician Ben Folds

By Denebola
Published: November 2008

By Leigh Alon

The Newtones have always garnered support and excitement from the South community, but their most exciting and recent prospect is the possibility of being featured on a Ben Folds album.

The opportunity arose when Folds decided to hold a contest for the top 12-15 collegiate a cappella covers of his songs. The winners would be featured on a new CD of his, with all proceeds going to a music education charity. While the Newtones have sung two Ben Folds songs, “Evaporated and “Army, as a high school a cappella group they unfortunately did not qualify for the contest.

One day, however, as senior Newtones member Jonah David hastily checked the group’s email address, he stumbled upon a message from Folds and his manager. Apparently while looking through the applications of other groups on YouTube, Folds came upon the Newtones’ cover of his song “Evaporated. He was so impressed that he contacted them about being featured on his album.

“This is a very exciting and unexpected opportunity, David said. “I was honored and thrilled that we were contacted by Ben himself.

“This came as a complete surprise. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, senior music director David Broyles said. “I still can’t wrap my head around it’€Ben Folds, a platinum record selling artist, will be working with us.

After the excitement died down a bit, the group spent two nights teaching its new members the song and making a recording good enough to show Folds. The work seemed to pay off. A few days later, Folds contacted the group again saying he wanted to fly to Boston and record them himself.

Ben Folds and his song “Evaporated hold a special sentimentality for the Newtones. They have been performing it for eight years, while the remainder of the repertoire changes every year.

“It is a special song for us because it is a unifying group song, Broyles said. “The arrangement [written by former Newtones member, Joel Escher] is great, and the sentiment of the lyrics, combined with the delicate passion of the notes and rhythms, creates a deeply emotional work of art.

The group understands, however, that there is a chance that the opportunity will fall through. “With every album, there is always a chance that a song won’t make it onto the CD, and so we know going into this that something could come up, and ‘ËœEvaporated’ won’t be on the record, Broyles said.

Regardless, the Newtones are definitely scheduled to record with Folds between December 14 and 18. If everything goes as planned, the album should be out in Spring 2009.

Even if the CD doesn’t work out, it is clear the experience has been incredible for the group.

“We’ve worked extraordinarily hard the past few years, and I am unbelievably proud of the group for getting an opportunity like this, senior Newtones member Emily Weinrebe said. “Even if it doesn’t work out in the end, getting recognized by someone like Ben Folds for doing what we love to do was one of the best feelings in the world.

Jonah David appreciates the educational value and experience the group will gain from working with a professional artist and equipment. “It is also great to have our names out there, and this could open new windows in the future, he said.

The group is ultimately excited to even get the opportunity to work with Folds.

“Ben Folds is a highly accomplished musician. He’s mastered the art of many instruments, Broyles said. “This album really shows that he cares about the art form. He’s willing to come to Newton to record a group of high schoolers because he believes in us. That is absolutely amazing.

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