Local quartet wants to perform in national TV competition

MARQUETTE – If enough funds are raised to help make the audition trip to New York City, The Fingerprints might just leave a mark on the music scene.

The Fingerprints is an a cappella quartet from Marquette who have been invited to try out for “The Sing Off,” a competition that will air its fourth season on NBC this summer. As the show’s website explains, “the most talented a cappella groups will compete for the opportunity to win $100,000 and a Sony recording contract. No lip synching, back-up bands or safety net is allowed; this is the real deal!”

Members of The Fingerprints are David Bashaw, 17, a junior at Marquette Senior High School; Bryce Genovese, 17, a junior at MSHS; David Gilbert, 19, a student at Michigan Tech University; and Marty Gray, 18, a senior at MSHS.

Genovese said he replied to a mass email about “The Sing Off” and signed the group up to take part in an audition for the program.

“But then a week later, the casting director contacted me and had me send in some videos,” Genovese said. “They seemed to like us and set up a private time for us to audition.”

The audition is set for May 18 in New York City, but the four young men need to raise funds to make the trip happen after working through school issues and job issues to have the time to travel east.

Each of the four came to music from a slightly different direction.

“The theater,” said Bashaw. “That’s how I got into music.”

He credits the Lake Superior Youth Theater for making music something important to him.

Genovese, too, credits theater for honing his interest, but said, “I started playing the piano when I was 5, then I discovered theater. That was it.”

For Gray, a friendship drew him to music.

“Katie Carey, my friend, convinced me to do choir sophomore year,” he said.

Gilbert credits a family connection for drawing him into the musical realm.

“My older brother started playing piano about 11 years ago,” he said. “I picked it up from him. I followed in his footsteps. He joined choir, so I joined choir, but not seriously until my sophomore year.”

Gilbert points to MSHS music teacher Jan Broderson as a big influence.

“As a teacher, she got me more involved,” he said. “She helped make music a huge part of my life.”

The four decided to try the a cappella grouping and clicked.

“We were singing more songs for fun, but then we decided to come up with a name,” Bashaw said. “We were sifting through words and nothing felt right. Then one day I thought of ‘fingerprint’ because each one is unique.

“Each of us is unique and has his own style,” he said. “And as a group, we’re not barbershop and we’re not jazz. We do everything and that makes us unique, so, The Fingerprints.”

The Fingerprints have been practicing, when they’re able to coordinate their four busy schedules. They have to have three songs ready for “The Sing Off’ audition.

“We do a medley of ‘It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday’ by Boys II Men along with Boys II Men’s version of ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles,” Gray said. “We do ‘Love Lockdown’ by Kanye West and ‘Heaven Somewhere,’ which is a traditional spiritual.”

The Fingerprints received a $2,000 grant from the Kaufman Foundation, but needs to raise more funds to make the trip a reality.

Donations can be made at the U.P. Catholic Credit Union’s three branches. Those wanting to make larger donations can do so through the Marquette Area Public Schools in order to receive tax-deductible status.

For more information on making contributions, call Karen Bashaw at 362-3621.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.