Pitch Perfect Journey

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Plainview singer hits all a cappella notes

Matt Goldman sings lead on a song for The Clef Hangers.

Music often gives individuals the ability to express the otherwise inexpressible, as one Plainview youth has learned over the course of his ongoing school career as an accomplished a cappella singer.

Matt Goldman, 21, a 2014 graduate of Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School and a current junior at the University of North Carolina, was first exposed to music at an early age. However, he didn’t notice that he had any singing ability until his older brother got involved in theater.

“I would just help out with his shows and then I would start singing along and I realized that maybe I could sing, that maybe there was something to this,” he said. “Once I reached high school, I heard about the a cappella program and it became a big part of my life.”

The appeal of singing a cappella, Goldman said, was due to the sheer variety and scope of the human voice when compared to other ways of musical expression.

“When singing a cappella, you can imitate different instruments with your voice,” he said. “Most people don’t use the human voice for all that it can be used for and I just found that a cappella is a cool outlet for arranging music.”

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When he started investigating the University of North Carolina, he found out about the school’s a cappella group—The Clef Hangers—and said that he felt that it would be a perfect fit.

“I didn’t know that they were really that big of a deal in North Carolina and one of the most talented groups on campus,” he said. “As it turns out, the group was actually founded in 1977 and has a long, rich history at the college.”

Goldman has been on two of the released Clef Hangers’ albums and said the experience of putting together the tracks in the recording studio and watching it evolve through the production and editing process gave him further insight into the wonders of the music industry.

“I was on the album that was released my freshman year and then the one we just released this past April,” he said. “I had a pretty big part in producing it and I was in the studio for a good chunk of a semester last year. Being through the whole process was fascinating.”

Goldman said that the group gets regular paid gigs at various events, although they do engage in the occasional competition from time to time as well.

“People hire us to sing at their private events,” he said. “So we’re different from a lot of other a cappella groups that I know in that respect.”

One of the biggest performances for The Clef Hangers—and certainly one of the most impressive—was the time they performed the National Anthem before a NASCAR event in front of 40,000 people in Charlotte, NC.

“I’m from Long Island and NASCAR isn’t really a thing here, but it’s huge down there and I’ve never been to anything like that before,” he said. “It was just very different and a bit of a spectacle.”

As far as a possible future in the music business, Goldman is keeping a level head on his shoulders. While he is studying classes at college with the anticipation of being involved in the music industry, he’s being realistic about a potential future career in it.

“The a cappella community is different outside of college because there are so many people vying to get into just a few slots on a national level,” he said. “I’m feeling things out, but I know I’d like to be involved in music in one way or another, either as a performer or an entrepreneur.”

But no matter where his career takes him, Goldman said that being involved in the a cappella scene has not only enriched him from an artistic standpoint, but it’s also allowed him to meet a lot of people and form strong, lifelong bonds that have helped him grow as a human being.

“It certainly allowed me to get closer to a lot of people that I do a cappella with,” he said. “I’ve met some of my best friends through this outlet that I probably never would have associated with otherwise. We love hanging out with each other and we love performing for people. That’s what makes us happy.”

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