Pentatonix may now be down to four.
Member Avi Kaplan has announced that he will be “taking a step back” from the a cappella group in a tearful video posted to Facebook on Friday afternoon. Flanked by his fellow band mates Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, and Kevin Olusola, the singer revealed that he’s been grappling with the choice for a long time—calling it the “one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my entire life”—and thanked fans for the years of support. “It far surpassed anything I could have ever dreamed for my life.”
He cites Pentatonix’s fast-paced touring schedule as a major factor in his choice to leave the group. “It’s been extremely hard for me to not be able to see my family or friends when I need to or when they need to see me,” he explains. “It’s been hard for me to just escape to nature when I’m feeling overwhelmed or when I just need time for myself.”
The video was accompanied by a lengthy Facebook message, in which he says he will carry out the remainder of his scheduled dates with the band, and wishes them well in the future. “I believe in what we do, and I believe in what they will do,” he said. “I could never inhibit their success in any way. I would never, ever want that.”
The group first burst into the pop culture stage in 2010 after winning season 3 of NBC’s The Sing-Off. Since then they’ve produced a number of high-profile collaborations and tribute performances. Their version of “Jolene” with Dolly Parton exploded online last year, and earned Pentatonix a Grammy for best country duo/group performance.
Kaplan concludes the farewell Facebook message by confirming that he intends to continue to make music.
“I will ALWAYS do my best to lift others up with my voice. I hope that you’ll all support my decision and that you can understand where I’m coming from. And regardless of anything, 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.”