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Nick Lamm says it all started with "the most-obvious a capella song in the world" for a high school variety show.
He never stopped singing, and he and the a cappella troupe he directs, the Beelzebubs, were named the runners-up Monday night in the NBC's reality show "The Sing-Off."
The show pitted eight of the country's top a capella groups against each other in a quest for $100,000 and a recording contract with Epic Records/Sony Music.
"This is just a fun performance," said Lamm, a Woodridge native and Tufts University senior in a telephone conversation from L.A. before the final show. "We get to perform fun numbers. We get to perform with celebrities and there really is no pressure. It's just going to be a fun time."
Lamm says he certainly never expected to be in this situation. His interest in a cappella started while he was attending Benet Academy in Lisle.
"There wasn't any sort of a capella group at our school," he said, so he and some friends began performing in a variety show. They sang Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time." Everything followed from there.
The Beezlebubs, or The Bubs as they're known, are a Tufts group. They debuted more than 45 years ago, and they've been spreading "fun through song" ever since.
That motto, in fact, posed a small problem when discussions came up to enter the singing competition.
The Bubs decided in the early 90s that the group would not compete because it can distract the singers from the purpose of a cappella, which is to have fun.
"But this particular show seemed totally unique," said Lamm. "It seemed like a great opportunity to give us a national audience, which is something that few a capella groups get the opportunity to have."
Lamm said he holds a great deal of respect for all eight groups in the Sing-Off, especially for the group's final two competitors: Nota, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Voices of Lee, from Cleveland, Tenn.
"Everybody brings something totally different. There's so much variety in all of the groups," Lamm said.
Lamm said he still considers Chicagoland his home and returns during summer and winter breaks.
"Especially going to school on the east coast, I have to maintain a sense of Midwest pride when I'm out there."