Gleefully, they are NOT your childhood Rockapella. Rather they've become one of the world's most sophisticated and lasting pop vocal groups. With the wild success of the TV smash "Glee" and a cappella groups reigning in the Corner of Cool on college campuses, there is clearly a hunger for exciting live vocal performance. 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 little miracle that keeps the crowds coming back year after year and constantly draws new fans is Rockapella's astonishing full-band sound. A sound that seems to be impossible coming from just five guys with microphones. No instruments, no tracks, no mirrors - and their hands never leave their wrists. "We're making every bit as much music as the whole `Glee' chorus - but with only five guys," says Rockapella's human beat-box Jeff Thacher.
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.
Rockapella has indeed travelled far in the sonic solar system since their early collegiate roots, when an enthusiastic a cappella quartet of Brown University graduates started singing Doo Wop on New York City's street corners in 1986. Over the decades Rockapella has evolved into a high energy concert performance troupe that travels the globe giving at least 80 concerts a year. "It is not just about the pretty notes and the nice singing," comments John, who is a veteran of Broadway shows - and is a mean tap dancer to boot. "It is a whole thing: the presence we give off, the little comedy bits, the timing and interacting, both during and after the show." Adds George, "Concerts give us the chance to be both creative and spontaneous since something new may happen to us during the day that we can bring into the show."