Lee alumna is back on ‘The Sing-Off’
by WILLIAM WRIGHT, Lifestyles Editor
Sep 19, 2011 | 3242 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ROUP DELILAH is made up of former Voices of Lee singer Candace Whittington, third from right, and other top singers  who performed on seasons one and two of “The Sing-Off.”
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Candace Whittington, who performed with Voices of Lee on the first season of “The Sing-Off,” is back on NBC’s hit a cappella talent show with an all-new, all-girl group known as Delilah.

The 29 year old Lee University alumna will join seven other talented singers from the first two seasons of the series to make up the eight female members of Delilah. The group will compete with 15 other ensembles for best a cappella group in the country, and for a record deal.

The octet will take center stage on Monday night’s season 3 debut at 8 p.m. on NBC. The difference in season 3 is “The Sing-Off” will be even bigger, better and run longer — from September through November — with twice the groups it had in the previous seasons.

Danny Murray, director of Voices of Lee, said, “We’re thrilled that Candace is getting an opportunity to go back on the show. This was the greatest thing that ever happened to us in terms of branding for our institution and for name recognition for Voices of Lee.

“It’s been a marvelous thing for us. Anytime we’re re-associated with the show we’re thrilled because it gets our name back out to the network audience, which is millions of people.”

According to Murray, during Season 1 of “The Sing-Off,” Voices of Lee members were informed they had made it to no. 12 on the Google list.

“What that meant for us was we had millions of people typing in our name wanting to know who are these Voices of Lee, where is Lee University and what’s it about.

“Today we get people who apply to the university and we always ask ‘How did you come to know about Lee?’ A lot of them put down from ‘The Sing-Off.’ It was a marvelous gift from God to us to be able to propel Lee University and the Voices of Lee into the national spotlight. Anytime we can have a little reprise of that with “The Sing-Off,” we’re happy to do it.”

Murray, who stays in contact with Wittington, said, “Candace is our representative out there this season. She really is a gifted girl with a lot of charisma. One of the things Lee singers learn to do is sing from the heart. It’s about the message, the lyric, the emotion — all that together.

“She’s one who does that really well. She comes from a good church gospel-singing background from Mentone, Ala. We knew first season (of the show) the camera really liked her.”

Regarding the name Delilah, Murray admits, “I would have selected another name, but I didn’t get a vote on that.” Still, he describes Whittington as “a terrific ambassador for Lee University and for the Voices of Lee.”

Murray, who has been with Lee University for more than 30 years, said the nationwide publicity has only opened new venues for Voices of Lee.

“The great thing is when we go to a city or to a church it helps the attendance,” he said. “Last January, Mitsubishi Corporation called us to sing at their national convention. They flew the whole group to Hawaii. We’re going again in March. Eli Lilly and Company — we did two of their conventions — one in Dallas and one in Jacksonville. That whole corporate world has opened up to us as a result of “The Sing-Off.”

With many accomplished singers, musicians and music producers coming out of Lee University year after year, Murray said the country is seeing a sample of the type of talent being groomed at one of the nation’s top-tier universities.

“We at Lee have always been about performance in music,” Murray said. “We think we have hundreds of great performers. We’re just glad some of these can act as ambassadors to make our school known, as well as the quality of our musicians known, outside this region.”

According to Murray, many of his students have a foundation of faith-based musicality before entering college that is enhanced in Lee’s School of Music.

“We get a lot of talented kids who have been singing and playing instruments pretty much all their lives in church,” he said. “Music is a big part of church and these kids have been performing since toddler age — a lot of them.

“So when we get them we’re all about trying to get their technical skill up to where their natural ability is. The natural ability they bring is a comfort and ease on stage — an ability to emote and find the real gem in the song and get it to the listener. They’re good at that. Candace is exceptional at that.”

Viewers can decide for themselves on Mondays at 8 p.m. if Whittington’s new group, Delilah, can become the first all-female a cappella group to win NBC’s hit talent show.

“The Sing-Off,” a mixture of “Glee” meets “American Idol,” is hosted by singer Nick Lachey. This season includes a new judge, Sara Bareilles, a three-time Grammy Award nominee joining Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men, the best selling R&B group of all time, and singer/songwriter Ben Folds, who has performed with some of the world’s greatest orchestras.