Pentatonix brings holiday magic to Bridgestone

Joined by the sibling trio Girl Named Tom, Pentatonix ensured there was no shortage of Christmas spirit in Nashville.


Laura Vaughan

Pentatonix opens the night with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” as photographed on Dec. 11, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)

Jorie Fawcett, Life Editor

CORRECTED: This piece incorrectly stated that “River” was originally sung by Ben Platt, not Joni Mitchell; it was corrected on Feb. 8 at 9:45 p.m. CST. 

Approaching finals deadlines, the flu and an extreme bout of homesickness had me in a holiday-spirit-less slump. But when I heard that three-time Grammy-winning a cappella ensemble Pentatonix was making a stop in Music City, I knew I needed to take a study break to experience their holiday magic. 

As a fellow Northwest Ohioan, I was very excited to hear the opener, Girl Named Tom. The sibling trio won season 21 of “The Voice” in December 2021 before relocating to Music City earlier this year. I was not sure what to expect going to a concert filled strictly with Christmas music, but this group blended originality with classic tunes. Lead vocalist Bekah Liechty bounced around the stage as she sang a mix of classic Christmas carols and an original called “Homesick Melody.” Her brothers Caleb and Joshua Liechty joined with an impressive display on piano and guitar. 

Girl Named Tom's Bekah Liechty talks about their journey as the first trio to win “The Voice,” as photographed on Dec. 11, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
Girl Named Tom’s Bekah Liechty talks about their journey as the first trio to win “The Voice,” as photographed on Dec. 11, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
(Laura Vaughan)

After Girl Named Tom shared that their father passed away earlier this year, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. As they played another original song called “One More Christmas,” which the trio dedicated to their dad, I joined the club of teary-eyed fans. 

“This song is dedicated to anyone who has an empty seat around the table this holiday season,” Bekah Liechty said. 

Comprised of members Scott Hoying (baritone), Mitch Grassi (tenor), Kirstin Maldonado (alto/soprano), Kevin Olusola (beatbox) and Matt Sallee (bass), Pentatonix has released 11 studio albums in their 11 years as a group. Once the set was changed and instruments removed, the five members stood behind a curtain to perform “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as the dance duo Cost n’ Mayor danced along. 

My absolute favorite Pentatonix song is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” It is so catchy, and I find myself snapping along to the beat anytime I listen. Expecting them to perform it later on in the show, I was floored when they opened the night with it.  

Throughout the night, they performed Christmas favorites from a variety of their albums. One of mine was “White Winter Hymnal,” which I was first introduced to in high school when my friends performed it at the talent show. All five members sat on stools and performed snappy choreography that moved perfectly with the rhythm of the song. 

Pentatonix made sure to stay engaged with the crowd of over 12,000 after each song. Sallee introduced a game called “Wheel of Christmas.” Since Pentatonix has released too many Christmas songs for one set, they instead spun a gameshow-esque wheel a few times to pick some fan-favorite tunes. “Sleigh Ride” and “Making Christmas” were two of the selections that brought me right back to Christmas music memories from my childhood. 

Scott Hoying performs at Bridgestone Arena, as photographed on Dec. 11, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
Scott Hoying performs at Bridgestone Arena, as photographed on Dec. 11, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Laura Vaughan)
(Laura Vaughan)

Hoying came front and center to lead the crowd in a filming of a TikTok video. He instructed us to shine our flashlights during a certain verse in “Star On Top” in order to create a Christmas tree. 

They ended the first half of the show with a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Although not a traditional Christmas song, it was such a beautiful arrangement and made me truly appreciate the talent of the a cappella performers. 

After the intermission, the group came back out in matching sparkly outfits to talk about their new Disney+ special called “Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays.” They were able to adapt the program for a concert setting by adding cultural elements to some classic Christmas songs. It was the perfect way to spice up the carols we all know and love. 

A highlight of the set was when beatboxer Olusola had a solo moment when he impressively played Prelude from Bach Cello Suite No.1 on the cello and beatboxed at the same time. My jaw was nearly on the floor. 

To end the night, Pentatonix brought Girl Named Tom back out to perform with the group. They sang “River” by Joni Mitchell, a song about skating that perfectly matched the winter theme. Meghan Trainor appeared on the screens for the last song of the night to introduce her newest collaboration with Pentatonix—an original song called “Kid On Christmas.” This song has followed me around on TikTok for a few weeks now and it was even better live. All of the artists smiling and jumping around on stage took me back to being a kid and flying down the stairs Christmas morning to tear into the presents under the tree. 

Pentatonix and Girl Named Tom lit Music City up like a Christmas tree. From their festive outfits to undeniable talent, no one does Christmas music like these two groups. I can’t wait to revisit their music and invigorate my holiday spirit—right after I take my calculus exam.