Walton Arts Center names VoiceJam competitors, auditions open for WACappella

Walton Arts Center names VoiceJam competitors, auditions open for WACappella

Born out of the popularity of TV shows like “Glee” and movies like “Pitch Perfect,” the Walton Arts Center’s VoiceJam A Cappella Festival returns April 12-13, and this week, the arts center announced the eight groups from around the country that will compete.

They are Voices from the University of Arkansas; VOLT from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Trillium from Dallas/Fort Worth; Vocal Point from the University of Delaware; The Amateurs from Washington University, St. Louis; Green Tones from the University of North Texas, Denton; PFC from MacArthur High School, San Antonio; and Final Measure from the University of Houston.

Returning to the VoiceJam competition April 13 at the Walton Arts Center are last year’s fan favorites, Trillium from Dallas/Fort Worth and Green Tones from the University of North Texas in Denton. (Courtesy Photos/WAC)

The Green Tones and Trillium were voted fan favorites by the audience in 2023, according to Jennifer Wilson, WAC senior director of public relations.

In 2024, “a judges panel will select the grand champion and will also recognize best choreography, best vocal percussion, best arrangement and best soloist,” she adds. But audience members will once again “get to vote on their favorite group for the audience-choice award, aca-fan favorite.”

The arts center is also recruiting singers to audition for WACappella, a vocal band started at last year’s festival. The group will not compete, but “Deke Sharon will provide a special music arrangement based on the group’s vocal ranges and skills for a performance during VoiceJam,” Wilson says.

Heralded as “the father of contemporary a cappella,” Sharon is a performer, arranger, music producer, author, producer and coach who is, according to Wilson, “responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella.”

“His work is well-known on camera and/or directing behind the scenes on ‘Pitch Perfect,’ ‘The Sing Off,’ ‘Pitch Slapped’ and more,” she adds.

Up to 16 local singers ages 18 and older can be part of WACappella. Audition applications may be submitted by video link now through Feb. 26 at waltonartscenter.org/voicejam. Singers will be announced on March 1.

Wilson advises applicants to “submit a good quality video of your audio performance with unamplified sound.”

“This should be a solo a cappella performance with no accompaniment or other voices,” she says. “In your video, introduce yourself, give your city of residence and the title of your song. Singers should record themselves singing 16 measures (or up to 30 seconds) of a song of their choice, a cappella. Vocal percussionists will record percussion examples of a rock style and ballad style, up to 30 seconds total.”

VoiceJam opens at 8 p.m. April 12 with a performance by Take 6, described by Quincy Jones as “the baddest vocal cats on the planet” and winners of 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove Awards, a Soul Train Award and a place in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Workshops are set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 13, with the VoiceJam competition at 7:30 p.m. April 13. Tickets are $10 for Take 6, $27 for the competition or $29 for both events at waltonartscenter.org.

“VoiceJam is one of the most popular annual events,” Wilson enthuses, “and we are excited about the variety and talents of the groups who will be competing this year.”

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