Schenectady High grad debuts on ‘Sing Off’

A 2010 Schenectady High School graduate made his national television debut on Monday when he appeare

A 2010 Schenectady High School graduate made his national television debut on Monday when he appeared on the popular NBC a cappella competition “The Sing Off.”

Aden Brooks, 19, who attends the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, performed with the college’s a cappella group, the Yellow Jackets. The team was one of eight to perform Monday and made it through to the second round.

An alumnus of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, Brooks said that program got him interested in the trombone, which is his major at Eastman. At Schenectady High School, Brooks got a serious taste of a cappella music while performing in a madrigal choir. “The exact opposite of the kind of singing I’m doing now,” he said.

This path was not initially in the cards for Brooks, who had no intention of joining the Yellow Jackets in his freshman year. “During orientation these guys in bright yellow blazers were singing in the hallways and trying to recruit people,” he said. “Right away I was interested.”

After an audition with more than a hundred other hopeful singers, he was one of two people chosen to join the group.

The appearance on “The Sing Off” was equally unpredictable, as the group had not planned on auditioning in May because it was too close to their final exams. Eventually throwing caution to the wind, they drove all night after a Friday night concert to show up for a Saturday audition in New York City. “We were on cloud nine,” Brooks said of the experience.

Aside from an offstage interaction with host Nick Lachey, there wasn’t much down time for the group, as they practiced choreography and singing eight to 10 hours a day. A major part of their preparation was learning to incorporate choreography into their routines. “We don’t really do a lot of dancing on our own,” he said. “Singing with this choreography is new for us.”

For Monday’s premier, which was taped this summer, the group performed “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan. Brooks said the song was their preparation for their trip to Kenya and has served as their de facto anthem for the past year.

The Yellow Jackets were also aided by the presence of friends, family members and group alumni who traveled to Los Angeles. “Guys that were in the group 40 years ago flew out for some of the showings,” Brooks said. “It was very comforting to look out there and see familiar faces.”

The Yellow Jackets watched the premier on Monday like celebrities, with an audience of about 300 people filling a college auditorium.

Since it became known that they were appearing on “The Sing Off,” Brooks said there is more demand for them to perform and noted that they’ll be traveling to Clifton Park on Oct. 6 and 7 to work with local schoolchildren.

Aden Brooks and the Yellow Jackets will next appear on NBC’s “The Sing Off” at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3.

Categories: Schenectady County

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