The a cappella group Men of Note has been gathering awards over the years for Cherry Hill High School West.

But the Men of Note that will turn up in December on the NBC competition series The Sing-Off has singers who are truly men - not high schoolers.

In the spring, eight West alums got together, hoping they would go far by creating a Men of Note "all-star team," says Richard Crandle, a 2008 grad who was touring with the show Hairspray.

His fellow performers are Kurt Knecht, Bobby Waldner, Jason Nop, Rajeer Alford, Kevin Cantanella, Michael Williams, and Perry Hudicka. Crandle credits choir director Christine Bass for the group's success.

The group won its spot by singing a diverse set: "As Long as We've Got Each Other" (the theme from Growing Pains), the Elvis Presley chestnut "Can't Help Falling in Love," and the Beyoncé hit "Halo."

"I think no show does for a cappella what The Sing-Off does," says Crandle, 21, mindful of how Fox's Glee has boosted the show-choir's profile.

The five-night Sing-Off will premiere at 8 p.m. Dec. 6.

In the media

NBC10 will launch its 24-hour digital channel, Nonstop, at noon Monday. Station execs are tight-lipped about the local programming, though it is known that G-N Kang, Deanna Durante, Terry Ruggles, and Dawn Timmeney will host shows, and that Lori Wilson, Vai Sikahema, and Glenn Schwartz will host a 7 p.m. newscast. Nonstop will be shown on Comcast Channel 248, on FiOS Channel 460, and over the air at 10.2.

For his Comcast SportsNet show, Inside Golf, Harry Donahue sat down with Jack Whitaker, who told tales from his 40-plus years with ABC and CBS Sports. Whitaker recalled why he was banished from CBS's broadcasts from Augusta National in 1966 simply for referring to a "mob scene" around the 18th green. The episode will be on at 5 and 10 a.m. Sunday, 4:30 p.m. Monday, and 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Former Inquirer staffer Murray Dubin and current Inquirer Pennsylvania editor Dan Biddle will talk about their book, Tasting Freedom, about Philly civil rights leader Octavius Catto, on NPR's All Things Considered at 5:40 p.m. Sunday on WHYY (90.9).

The circuit

A town car pulled up at 17th and Lombard Streets Thursday night, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright emerged to have dinner at Fish. She had the skate with truffle spaetzle and diplomatically excused herself to catch the Phillies-Giants game.

Comedian/Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson visited the Franklin Institute Wednesday to meet chief astronomer Derrick Pitts, who had been on Ferguson's show recently talking about the Cleopatra exhibit. Ferguson is a Tut nut, and begged to ride the museum's new 12-seat, 4D flight simulator. While Ferguson and Pitts waited in line, a woman recognized Pitts and gushed about his camera-readiness. Ferguson stood by, unrecognized.

On the third Tuesday in October, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer got a tour of the Academy of Natural Sciences from senior fellow Robert Peck. Breyer, here to speak at the National Constitution Center, viewed 17th-century natural-history books, plants collected by Lewis and Clark, and fossils collected for President Thomas Jefferson.

Filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan cracked up his audience Thursday during a Q&A session around a 10th-anniversary screening at Prince Music Theater of his movie Unbreakable. A woman prefaced her question with, "I don't care what anyone says. You are the man." Shyamalan paused and announced: "That's my sister, by the way," according to Temple student Erik Lexie, covering the Shyamalan event for his writing class.

Fit to be fried

Philadelphians of a certain age will get a gustatory blast from the past starting midday Monday when Gino's Burgers & Chicken - a once-mighty fast-food chain that closed its last store in the 1980s - is revived on the site of a former McDonald's on Route 202 near Allendale Road, across from the King of Prussia malls. Tom Romano, a long-ago Gino's exec, is behind the first of what he envisions as many outlets. Romano has set the grand opening for Nov. 14, bringing in chain namesake and former NFL player Gino Marchetti. From noon to 3 p.m. that day, Romano will roll back prices to 1970 levels - which means the fabled Gino Giant will sell for 60 cents and not $5.59. You may blanch at the 2010 price, but Romano says the new Giant contains 6.4 ounces of beef before cooking, twice the beef load of a Big Mac. And the "secret sauce" on the Giant? Romano can still keep a secret.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at Follow his blog at and on Twitter @phillyinsider.