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Christmas music: Pentatonix gives a modern mix to 'The Little Drummer Boy'

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Fans of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” will recognize the five-part harmony of Pentatonix. I admit that I did not know much about them before being introduced to their version of “The Little Drummer Boy,” but they have quickly become a favorite.

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Standing high atop a hill, Pentatonix starts off the song with a modern beatbox vibe. Harmonious humming comes next as the group puts soul, joy and a choir-like feel into every melody. It has quickly become my favorite version of “The Little Drummer Boy,” along with being the most joyous video to watch.

Pentatonix consists of lead vocalists Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado and Mitch Grassi, vocal bass Avi Kaplan, and beatboxer Kevin “K.O.” Olusola. The quintet’s name, Pentatonix, comes from a five-note music scale.

The group’s own original tunes and remastered pop cover songs have brought the art of a cappella to mainstream music. Pentatonix has shared their mix of pop, jazz, r&b, indie, folk and electronica on shows such as Ellen, The Katie Couric Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Sesame Street.

Pentatonix has performed Lorde’s “Royals,” The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “Crusin’” from Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie,” and collaborated with Lindsey Stirling on Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” They also do an amazing version of “Carol of the Bells.”

“The Little Drummer Boy” and several other Christmas selections such as “Angels we have heard on high,” “The Christmas Song” and ‘Oh Holy Night” are available at or at the Pentatonix website,

Check out the Pentatonix YouTube channel or their website to listen to this joyous version of “The Little Drummer Boy” as well as the group's other songs. Watch out, though, if you weren’t in the Christmas spirit already, this song will do it. Enjoy.

My favorite part of this performance is near the end of the song. It gets kind of quiet, a collective breath is taken and then the song soars as Kirstie belts out “…Come they told me …” with a sound that reaches to the heavens. Expect chills. Major chills.

"The Little Drummer Boy" by Pentatonix is currently at number 10 on iTunes. PTXmas, the group's Christmas album, is at number two in the album category.

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