(Photo courtesy of Tower Theatre)
This February, 14 regional vocal groups will be united in harmony during the Fourth Annual Bend A Cappella Festival at the Tower Theatre and Summit High School. It’s a weekend full of musical collaboration, constructive feedback and inspirational instruction; a supportive experience welcoming all groups no matter how long they have been performing. “It will be so exciting to hear all that talent performing together here in Bend!” says Festival Director Carol Rossio. “I’m happy to know that the very sacred (and enjoyable) tradition of a cappella singing — while it has transformed and transmuted over time — still lives in the next generation of singers.” The weekend boasts some of a cappella’s biggest names, including vocal players Naturally 7, YouTube sensation Peter Hollens and the Father of Contemporary A Cappella, Deke Sharon.
At 7:30pm the internationally acclaimed a cappella architects of VocalPlay, Naturally 7, kick-off the festival with their complex harmonies, powerful stage presence and unique “wall of sound.” Their musical innovation and stellar arrangements blew the roof off of the Tower in 2016, and the Tower anticipates even more tonal destruction this year.
YouTube vocalist, Peter Hollens returns to produce and record a one-of-a-kind video exclusively for and at the 2019 Bend A Cappella Festival. With more than five million followers and subscribers, Peter’s bi-weekly videos have topped one billion views over seven years. For the A Cappella Fest, he will lead all 250 registered singers in a public performance of a custom arrangement of You Raise Me Up. His crew, One Voice Productions, will stage and videotape the Grammy-nominated Josh Groban number, then unveil its world premiere online a few weeks later. Due to unexpected circumstances, Peter will only perform You Raise Me Up for the taping.
Hollens, a native Oregonian with family in Bend, is excited by this endeavor. “I want to give an unforgettable experience of a lifetime to these singers, something they can show their family and children forever.”
Friday’s line-up also features performances by the 11-voice ensemble Bend Camerata, and University of Oregon’s 13-member co-ed vocal group Mind the Gap. Bend Camerata opens the evening with renditions of classical vocal compositions, showcasing the roots of a cappella. Then, three-time winner of the Bend A Cappella Festival Sing-Off, Mind the Gap, delivers a set of state of the aca-art contemporary a cappella, complete with original choreography.
“It’s going to be a memorable, exciting night of music,” enthused Rossio. “We’re thrilled to offer this rare chance to experience a range of a cappella, from its origins through what I call its digital future — all in one place on one night!”
Fourteen high school a cappella groups from across the Northwest compete for cash prizes and prestige at the fourth annual Sing-Off competition this year held at Summit High School. The Tower welcomes two of the top names in the a cappella world – judges Naturally 7, and special emcee, Deke Sharon.
Heralded as The Father of Contemporary A Cappella, Deke Sharon is responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella, having pioneered the modern vocal-instrumental sound in college, subsequently spreading it around the world. He produced The Sing-Off on NBC and worldwide (Netherlands, China, South Africa). In addition, Deke served as arranger, on-site music director and vocal producer for Universal’s Pitch Perfect 1, 2 and 3 starring Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson. As the founder, director and arranger of The House Jacks for 24 years, Deke shared the stage with music legends Ray Charles, James Brown, Crosby Stills and Nash, Run DMC, The Temptations and the Four Tops, performed for President Bill Clinton, and sang the Monday Night Football Theme with Hank Williams Jr. in 2011.
Wanderlust Tours presents a new installment of Art in Nature, featuring an aca-adventure with the ultra-talented Bend Camerata. Experience a one-of-a-kind snowshoe trip to a natural amphitheater in Deschutes National Forest, an outdoor performance by Bend Camerata, plus hot cocoa with a splash of Hazelnut Espresso Vodka by Crater Lake Spirits before heading back to civilization.
Tickets available at towertheatre.org