Rockapella is back at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts with a "Bang" on April 29



Fairfield's own close harmony opens the show

RockapellaThe wildly popular a cappella group Rockapella returns to Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, April 29 at 8 p.m. Close Harmony, the Fairfield Ludlowe High School a cappella group opens, once again, for this dynamic ensemble under the direction of Kevin Cotellese. Rockapella is a featured event in the 2010-2011 Fairfield University Arts & Minds series. Tickets are $40, $35, $30.

With the celebration of their long-awaited new studio album titled, "Bang," Rockapella, an awe-inspiring quintet of vocal talent with an astonishing full-band sound, is back on the road giving audiences a taste of their latest CD and continuing the sound that made them famous from their years on the PBS kid-TV smash "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"  A single concert opens a window on practically the whole history of vocal music from vintage Mills Brothers through jazz and rock to current Hip Hop.

The current Rockapella line-up features Scott Leonard (since 1991, High Tenor), Jeff Thacher (1993, Vocal Percussionist), George Baldi III (2002, Bass), John K. Brown (2004, Tenor) and Steven Dorian (2010, Tenor). This line-up marks a regeneration of Rockapella whose talents cover a broad entertainment spectrum and are keenly focused on musical excellence. "People have a hard time believing it's just us making all of that music. It's still those same elements that make modern band music: percussion, bass, melody and harmonies," says Scott.

The group is the little miracle that keeps the crowds coming back year after year and constantly draws new fans. With no instruments, no tracks and no mirrors, "We're making every bit as much music as the whole 'Glee' chorus - but with only five guys," says Rockapella's human beat-box Thacher.

Naturally, Rockapella is a moniker that describes their artful meld of rock and a cappella. And, the group had the foresight in 1993 to upgrade with the powerful full-time addition of mouth drummer Jeff, who can magically summon a world of percussion sounds from snare drum whacks to shimmering cymbals to the meaty-beaty bop of a kick-drum. One has to witness it to appreciate its magical mysterious cacophony.

"People often ask me if it hurts," observes Thacher, who is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and is also a producer for other artists. "It doesn't exactly look pretty but the ends justify the means." As one of the pioneers of the form, he was the inventor of the use of special acoustic pick-ups that could capture his guttural throat sounds along with the brass-instrument-style "spitting" sonic effects captured by the hand microphones that are the trademark of modern "beatboxing."

Another bonding element in Rockapella is that all of the singers are veterans of the Disney talent-development enterprise. "Disney is a breeding ground for good performers - it's like the Hamburg Club was for the Beatles," says Dorian, the group's newest member, who starred in Disney's "Festival of The Lion King." "You have to bring your 'A' game at least 3 or 4 times a day within 6 hour shifts, five days a week at Disney. You can't get tired. You have to take care of your voice. You've got to stay in shape so you can get in there and survive and be consistent."

Tickets are available at fairfield.edu/quick or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Special offers and discounts are available through the Quick Center's e-mail list. Join, by contacting boxoffice@quickcenter.com. Become a fan of the Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook and keep up-to-date with the latest performance news, plus special offers and discounts. Find the Quick Center at www.facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter.

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Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Access to the Quick Center for the Arts is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Special Note: From Oct. 4, 2010 through June 30, 2012, the southern end of North Benson Road (Rt. 135) will be closed to traffic on nights and weekends. Round Hill Road intersects with Barlow and provides access to the Quick Center for the Arts.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 5, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 267