December 11, 2013

Former Bobcat debuts on NBC’s ‘Sing-Off’

Rachel Brown

— Ron Wilbur is just one person in a group of 12, but the tenor is making a name for himself on national television.

Wilbur, who briefly attended Roan Elementary School as a child, was on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” on Monday for the season debut. Ten a capella groups compete over the course of seven episodes in the elimination competition for the chance to win a recording contract and $100,000. Already, there is talk that the acoUstiKats, a subsection of the University of Kentucky’s men’s chorus, could become the first college group to win the competition. The finale airs on Dec. 23 at 9 p.m.

The Huffington Post reported the singing group “absolutely stole the show with their take on Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines.’” They describe themselves as “the epitome of the Southern gentleman with a whole lot of swag.”

Roan School Principal Cindy Parrott said a video of the group’s performance was being shared within the school and Dalton Public Schools’ central office on Monday.

“We’re super excited that he (Wilbur) used to be a Roan School Bobcat,” she said.

Wilbur describes himself on the acoUstiKats website,, as “At’lana raised & peach-hazed. I am the quintessential essence of all things Southern. Can’t find me in the studio? Check the kitchen. Who am I? Ron Wilbur, the man of your dreams.”

Wilbur lived in Dalton for several years before moving away and still has several family members in the area.. He attended North Cobb High School and lives near Atlanta.

Charlie Tripp taught Wilbur in pre-school at Roan and remembers hearing the little boy’s voice in her classes.

“He would sing in class and (he invited) me to see him sing at church,” she said. “He would just break out in song (at school). He was tall back then, too.”

Tripp said they stayed in touch through the years, with her sometimes visiting Wilbur at a Chick-fil-A in the Atlanta area where he worked for a while.

“I’m just really proud of him,” Tripp said late Tuesday evening. “He’s doing a great job. I think he has turned out to be a very nice young man. It’s fun to watch him grow up.”

The other members of the acoUstiKats are from various cities in Kentucky, Illinois and Virginia.

“The Sing-Off” is produced by One Three Media (a Hearst/Mark Burnett company) along with Outlaw Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television. The judges are Jewel, Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. Nick Lachey is the host.

The next episode is scheduled to air tonight at 8.