CincySings: Drew Lachey to host unusual competition

Drew Lachey (left) and John Morris Russell (right), conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, flank GE’s Voices of Destiny, the winners of the 2016 CincySings corporate choir competition. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Drew Lachey (left) and John Morris Russell (right), conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, flank GE’s Voices of Destiny, the winners of the 2016 CincySings corporate choir competition. CONTRIBUTED

Regional corporate choirs compete.

Drew Lachey, member of the pop singing group 98 Degrees, will be hosting the CincySings Finals for the fourth consecutive year Wednesday, April 19.

A regional corporate choir competition, CincySings is produced by ArtsWave, a community arts agency that raises money for 100 arts and community organizations in the Cincinnati area.

With Lachey being a Cincinnati native who decided to put down roots in the area after the success of 98 Degrees, running a year-round nonprofit for Cincinnati arts education along the way, he said the collaboration with ArtsWave for CincySings was a natural fit.

“Growing up here, I was familiar with ArtsWave,” he said. “As a patron of the arts and as someone who makes a living in the arts, it’s in my interest to make sure it continues to thrive in this area.”

Dozens of choirs from regional businesses originally entered the competition. This finals competition will consist of the 10 finalists each singing one number.

“One new thing we added this year is that the audience gets a vote via crowdsource. It’s a good way to keep them involved,” said Lachey, whose older brother Nick Lachey (now a TV personality) also was in 98 Degrees.

The event is open to the public, but the audience will be largely made up of members of the represented businesses.

“There’s a wide range of skill sets, so it really runs the gamut,” Drew Lachey said. “Everything from pop to gospel to originals, just whatever music they relate to. Some will sing a cappella; others will bring live musicians out onstage.”

There is typically diversity in the presentations, as well. In the past, some choirs have elected to sing a medley where snippets of various songs are mashed together. In 2015, the Macy’s choir retooled Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” to “All About That Sale.”

“Creativity is a big part of the judging, so it’s strongly encouraged,” Lachey said. “One time, the P&G choir did a number from ‘Sister Act 2,’ and a guy came out in full habit. And when you do something like ‘All About That Sale,’ the Macy’s people in go nuts, so it can influence the audience.”

Lachey said the winning choir will sing the National Anthem at an upcoming Cincinnati Reds game and will be automatically fast-tracked into next year’s competition.

The fundraising goal for ArtsWave this year is $12.6 million, up from $12.4 million from last year, and $12.2 million the year before that.

“It’s kind of incremental increases every year,” he said. “The more money is raised, the better these (arts) organizations can be funded.”

As for Lachey himself, he seems fairly locked down to continue hosting CincySings in the years to come, despite reports he’d sold his house last summer, which raised eyebrows since Nick did the same and decamped to Los Angeles.

“The rumors of my relocation are greatly exaggerated,” Drew Lachey said. “I still go down to the (Lachey’s) bar several times a week, which is more often than my wife would like, but I’m not micromanaging. I’m juggling different projects here. I’ve simply moved from one Cincinnati neighborhood to another. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

Contact this contributing writer at aaronepple@gmail.com.


How to go

What: CincySings Finals

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19

Where: Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati

Cost: $20-$50

More info: 513-621-2787 or www.cincinnatiarts.org

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