Pentatonix to fill Nationwide Arena with holiday harmonies, fan favorites

Members of Pentatonix, from left: Mitch Grassi, Kevin Olusola, Scott Hoying and Matt Salle. Kirstin Maldonado in the foreground.
Members of Pentatonix, from left: Mitch Grassi, Kevin Olusola, Scott Hoying and Matt Salle. Kirstin Maldonado in the foreground.

From Bing Crosby crooning “White Christmas” to Nat King Cole softly singing “The Christmas Song,” there are certain pieces and performers that have become synonymous with the holidays.

During the last decade or so, the a cappella group Pentatonix has earned a place at the holiday-staple table.

The Billboard-topping, Grammy-winning group — consisting of founding members Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoying and Kirstin Maldonado and later additions Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee — offers catchy, peppy vocal-only spins on numerous songs.

But from the release of their first Christmas record, “PTXmas,” in 2012 through the release of their most recent, “Evergreen,” this autumn, they have long been recognized for their renditions of seasonal staples.

As part of their new tour — their first since the pandemic began — Pentatonix will bring their vocal stylings, and plenty of holiday cheer, to Nationwide Arena on Dec. 12.

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“Having released 84 Christmas songs, you’d think we would be tired of it,” said Hoying, 30, in a recent interview with The Dispatch from his home in Los Angeles.

“But I mean this when I say that, honestly, we’re not,” he said. “It’s such a fun time of year, and it’s such a fun type of music. We get to create the soundtrack to people’s Christmases and memories, which is such a cool thing.”

Also a cool thing: The fact that Grassi, Hoying and Maldonado — childhood friends and high school choir chums in their hometown of Arlington, Texas — are still making music together.

“Singing together for so long, since we were kids, we just naturally started to emulate each other, and this blend happened,” Hoying said.

As a professional performing entity, Pentatonix traces its roots to the trio pooling their vocal gifts to do a cover of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.”

“One of my friend's brother posted it online and it did well online,” Hoying said. “That was kind of the first taste of, ‘Oh, we have something special.’”

Then, in 2011, the group — which had grown to five members including Olusola as well as former member Avi Kaplan — found themselves winning week after week on NBC’s a cappella competition show “The Sing-Off.”

“We ended up winning the show,” Hoying said. “Then we were going viral on YouTube, and it was kind of this whirlwind that spiraled into us touring and growing. And we’re still doing it 10 years later.”

Until the pandemic began, Pentatonix toured “nonstop,” Hoying said.

“It was our whole life,” he said. “And then, because of COVID, we stopped for over a year and a half.”

Not that the group was idle during that time.

“We didn’t get to spend time physically together, but we did a lot of Zoom meetings,” Hoying said. “We did release an at-home EP.”

And in time, they got together to record their new Christmas album — their sixth overall — “Evergreen.”

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“There are some different types of songs (on the new album),” Hoying said. “There are some more intimate moments that are just a little folkier and bluegrass-y. We have a Joni Mitchell cover; we have ‘I Saw Three Ships’ that has a lot of stomps and claps. It was a really organic, raw sound that we did for this album.”

As part of the show on Dec. 12, selections from “Evergreen” will be performed along with a host of other holiday standards.

“You’ll hear all the ones people love: ‘Mary, Did You Know?,’ ‘Hallelujah,’” Hoying said. “It’s our biggest show and our longest set list.”

For his part, Hoying still can’t get over that big audiences show up to hear five voices.

“It is wild,” he said. “We have our thing that we do, and it can fill an arena.”

At a glance

Pentatonix’s “Evergreen Christmas Tour” will be performed at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, in Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd. Masks and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required. Tickets cost $149.50 to $298 (VIP package). For more information, visit

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Pentatonix to perform holiday and fan favorites at Nationwide Arena