Article originally posted to wcfcourier.com
Melody Parker February 15, 2022A cappella Voctave to bring show to Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center
When the 11-member a cappella group released a “Disney Love Medley” online in 2016, it became an instant sensation. Listeners fell in love with their vibrant sound and five octave vocal range.
Voctave will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls.
“We weren’t really a planned group. It wasn’t until we did a recording of the love medley featuring Kirsten Maldonado of Pentatonix and posted the video that I was told we needed to exist as a group, that whatever the song, we needed to have a name and website so when people looked us up, we would exist. That’s when I solidified group members and we became a thing,” said founder Jamey Ray. He arranges all the music and sings, as well.
Members bring a wealth of singing experiences with them, including musical theater, contemporary Christian, barbershop harmonies, pop and choral music. Several performers sang with the Voices of Liberty a cappella group at Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World resort in Florida.
Voctave’s sound “takes a very specific talent,” Ray said. “I feel like we have the best singers in the world. This is what we were born to do. It takes a while to shape a song, to put so much emotion and passion into each arrangement. It takes years of training, and in an a cappella group, there’s nowhere to hide. Every single note matters, every person’s part matters, and these are singers at the top of their game,” he explained.
“I know these singers, I’ve worked with them for years, and I know their abilities and what they’re capable of. These are the best people. We all like each other and have fun together. We’ve wasted more time together laughing than anything else.”
The group often performs intricate arrangements of music from Broadway, Disney, jazz standards, and Christmas music.
In the past five years, Voctave has scored multiple No. 1 songs and albums on iTunes, Spotify and other platforms and toured all over the world. They’ve shared the bill with Grammy, Dove and American Music award winners and ranked in the top 25 on Billboard charts. Their videos have had more than 150 million views.
Albums include “The Spirit of the Season,” “Snow,” “The Corner of Broadway and Main Street,” “Somewhere There’s Music,” “Symphony Series” and a deluxe set of their Christmas recordings released in 2021. All of their albums are available on digital platforms.
Ray, who also teaches at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., said the music he chooses and arranges “are songs that showcase the singers. That element is so important. We were just a recording group when we started, but now we’re doing shows, and some songs are specific to a show or have a certain function. Like now, we have a brand-new show closer that’s not been seen on our video recordings, and that only people in our audiences at shows will get to see.”
Ray said the group is thrilled to be on stage again after COVID forced cancellation of several tours. “It’s the best feeling to walk out on stage and sing for an audience. This is our soul, what our whole lives are about. Audiences have missed it too. Our first show back, we walked out on stage, and we couldn’t give a downbeat for the first song because people wouldn’t stop clapping.
“I think one thing the pandemic did was, people saw how important art is to their lives, too,” he added.