Pentatonix are saying goodbye to one of their members. Avi Kaplan announced, via an emotional video posted on Facebook, that he will be stepping back from the a cappella group. Joined by his band mates Kevin Olusola, Kirstin Maldonado, Scott Hoying, and Mitch Grassi, Kaplan expressed how the decision is something he's been struggling with for a while, calling it "the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life."
In the video, Kaplain explains how Pentatonix's fast-paced schedule was the biggest factor for his decision. "This pace has always been a struggle for me. It’s been hard for me not to be with my family and friends when I need them or when they need me," he explains. "It’s been hard to not be able to escape into nature when I’m feeling overwhelmed or just need some time to myself."
While Kaplan will not continue in Pentatonix, he will still be creating new music. "I do want you all to know that I’m still going to be doing music and I’m going to be doing it with my whole heart."
Fans will still have the opportunity to see Kaplan perform with Pentatonix within the next few months. In a lengthy Facebook message accompanying the video, Kaplan announced he will finish the remainder of the tour dates with the group, which include stops in Japan and Los Angeles.
Kaplan ends the touching video by thanking their fans. "I just want to thank you for all that you’ve given to me. I have been so unbelievably blessed and humbled to be a part of all your lives in any way and I wanted you to hear this from me. From my voice. And from my heart," he said.
Pentatonix rose to stardom in 2011 after winning season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off. The group later found a home on YouTube where their tribute performances have repeatedly gone viral. In addition, they’ve produced a number of high-profile collaborations. Last year, they earned a Grammy for best country duo/group performance for a version of “Jolene” with Dolly Parton.