Vocal Point Wows, Time and Time Again
You know, when most people talk about guys breaking out into song, they are usually most impressed by the four-part harmonies. Well, try eight-part harmonies with a percussion section housed in nothing but a kid's mouth and throat. Oh yeah, and throw choreography and comedy on top of that. Now that, my friend, is impressive.
BYU's internationally acclaimed male a cappella ensemble, Vocal Point, will bring just that to the Covey Center for four compelling performances, Thursday, March 3 through Saturday, March 5.
A unique part of the weekend will be the Saturday matinee, when 80 plus members of Vocal Point alumni will reunite in a 20th Anniversary Concert and each generational group will perform two crowd favorites from their respective years (The Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances will be performances by the current group.).
It will also be the first time the original Vocal Point group will reunite since 1991, according to Robert Seely, the current group's bass.
He also said all the Vocal Point alumni in attendance will perform a large group number, "Nearer My God, to Thee," arranged by James Stevens, former member and subsequent director.
"I think it's a really fun show, " Seely said. "There's not a song in it I don't like."
Since Vocal Point's inception in 1991, 107 young men have been part of the nine-man ensemble that has performed to sold-out crowds across the nation, wracking up such awards and titles as Champions of the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella (2006) and the winners of three Pearl Awards from the Faith Centered Music Association: Best Performing Artist, Best Recording Group, and Best Religious Recording.
The group performs a wide variety of genres, from pop to rock, country to spiritual, and some songs even border on purely choral styles. The members of the group provide all the instrumental sounds needed for the songs, often with a lead vocalist, sometimes a back-up vocalist, a vocal percussionist and the rest of the ensemble adding instrumentation and texture.
Vocal Point has released six albums to date, but will release a seventh at this concert, called "Back in Blue," featuring recordings of the groups from the last three years. Some highlights, according to Seely, are "We all Need Saving," bye Jon McLaughlin; "Meglio Sta Cera" (It Had Better be Tonight), by Michael Buble; and "Hip to be Square," by Huey Lewis and the News.
Dovy Paukstys, an a cappella enthusiast and Vocal Point fan who has seen the group perform numerous times, siad the amount of polish that goes into each performance is what makes the group truly powerful.
"Each is a great performer in his own right," he added. "And I love how they come together and make a fantastic performance."
Currently at the head of the group is Buck Mangum, the faculty director and former member of the group. Mangum came in as director of the group at the begninning of this school year. He said he brings his own perspective on how a show should run and what works for crowds.
"Vocal Point has always been and always will be one of the greatest shows on stage, " Mangum said. "Right now, my goal is to take a collegiate group and make them look and sound professional."
One aspect of their professionalism are their nine-part vocal arrangements. Mangum, as well as members of the group, contribute in this regard, often spending countless hours listening to songs, transcribing them and customizing them for voices instead of instruments.
And the product is out-of-this-world, according to Jessi Nelson, another Vocal Point fan and former BYU student.
"I love that they are original," Nelson said. "I always leave their performances energized and wanting to sing at the top of my lungs."
And that is what keeps the crowds coming back. They can expect nothing less than that with the upcoming performances.
All the performances will be in the Covey Center's performance hall — the evening performances starting at 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday matinee starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for the main floor and $10 for the balcony and can be purchased by phone (801) 852-7007 or online, at www.coveycenter.org
The Covey Center for the Arts is Provo's quintessential venue for the fine arts, offering two art galleries, three dance studios, one small black box theatre, and a 670- seat state- of- the- art performance hall. Housed in a beautiful building of 42,000 square feet, the performance hall features a first-class sound system, a 75- foot fly system, a full theatrical lighting system and a full orchestra pit. And to enhance audience members' experience, no seat is more than a measly 60 feet away from the stage. The Covey Center been honored to host world- renowned guest artists on their main stage, including Rockapella, The Beach Boys and STOMP. The Covey Center opened in 2007 and has continually served both local and national artists since.
Covey Center for the Arts
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