Vocal Point

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Vocal Point
VocalPoint logo.PNG
Logo of Vocal Point
Background information
Origin Brigham Young University
Genres A capella
Years active 1991 (1991)–present
Labels Tantara Records
Website www.byuvocalpoint.com
Members Adam Heimbigner
Bryce Romney
Jake Tengelsen
Parker O'Very
Devin Flake
Cody Phillips
Andy Nielsen
Scott Shattuck
Trevor Johnson

Vocal Point is a nine-member, male a cappella group at Brigham Young University. Founded by students in 1991, Vocal Point operates under the auspice of BYU’s School of Music.

The group has won three Pearl Awards and it was the winner of the 2006 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). It also won fifth place on NBC's third season of The Sing Off.

History[edit]

Vocal Point was founded in 1991 by two students at Brigham Young University. Dave Boyce and Bob Ahlander first heard the contemporary a cappella sound during a visit to the eastern U.S., where it had already grown to considerable popularity at colleges throughout the east. Seeking to bring that sound westward, Dave and Bob recruited Jill Petersen-Lex to serve as the group's first Artistic Director. The three held auditions in fall 1991. After the members were selected and began singing, the nine-man group became an instant hit on campus, selling out its first concert. The group made its first recording ("If Rocks Could Sing") and went on its first tour that same school year.

With Ahlander and Boyce providing the vision, and Lex providing much-needed musical direction, the first three years proved equally successful for the student-run group. They toured several times and released their first full-length CD, "Instruments Not Included." The group was so popular that the Director of the School of Music at BYU thought it should be an official part of the University. Finally, in Fall 1994, the ensemble was adopted into the School of Music, and Jim Anglesey was appointed as the group's Faculty Advisor. This was an important move for the group, as it ensured their longevity, and allowed for a full-time director, access to BYU's marvelous performing venues, and assistance from the staff of the School of Music and Performing Arts Management.

During Anglesey's seven-year stay as director, Vocal Point released two more albums, "Fatter Than Ever" in 1996 and "Mouthing Off" in 1999. The group had several key performances during this time, including a series of successful concerts in the de Jong Concert Hall on BYU campus, as well as the group's first New Year's Eve performance at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. In 1999, group member Joseph Lebaron updated the group's logo to its current "screaming head" design.

In 2001, co-founder Bob Ahlander returned to the scene to take the reins as director of Vocal Point. He started his tenure off with a bang, hosting the group's ten-year anniversary celebration, including a successful alumni reunion concert. Shortly thereafter, the group released its fourth CD, "Grand Slam," which represented the final years of the Anglesey-directed group.

During Ahlander's time as director, Vocal Point reached new heights. They twice won the regional semi-finals for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, but refused to take their seats at the international finals in New York City because the event would be held on a Sunday. The group performed the national anthem at multiple Utah Jazz games and other venues. In Ahlander's final weeks as director, Vocal Point spent three weeks in Nauvoo, Illinois, opening the new summer performing arts series there, and performing for thousands of visitors over a three-week run. At the group's final performance of the tour, they sang to a full house, giving them the idea for the name of their upcoming album, "Standing Room Only." That CD was released in Fall 2004, representing Ahlander's three years of work as director.

Next on the directorial stage was James Stevens, a BYU grad and studio engineer who had performed with Vocal Point for two years under Bob Ahlander's direction. Stevens quickly got to work, helping the group sell out the de Jong Concert Hall faster than ever. At the end of that year, the group took home three Pearl Awards from the Faith Centered Music Association for "Sacred Recorded Song of the Year," "Group Recording Artist of the Year" and "Performing Artist of the Year."

The following year, 2005–06, was a banner year for Vocal Point. The group appeared at BYU's well-known Homecoming Spectacular, as well as its first at BYU devotional. The group also hosted a successful celebration in honor of Vocal Point's 15th Anniversary. As a culmination of the group's success, they again won the regional semi-finals in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, but this time did not have to bow out; the finals were to be held on a Saturday. The group took its first tour to New York City, and competed there with some of the world's best collegiate a cappella ensembles in the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. In its first appearance at the finals, and after winning regional competition three times, Vocal Point took first place. They were crowned International Champions for 2006.[1]

James Stevens continued again as director in fall 2009, with a new group of motivated young men, and is still directing. In fall of 2010, a former member of Vocal Point, Buck Mangum, took on the role as Vocal Point director along with James Stevens. In January–April 2011, Vocal Point again competed in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. They placed first at quarter finals in Eugene, Oregon, as well as received awards for "best choreography" and "best soloist," awarded to Jake Hunsaker. At the semi-finals in Los Angeles, Vocal Point again placed first, and again received awards for "best choreography" and "best soloist" to Jake Hunsaker. At finals in New York, Vocal Point received awards for "best vocal percussionist" to Tanner Nilsson, again "best soloist" to Jake Hunsaker, and first runner-up in the entire competition. The songs they competed with in their set were Michael Jackson's "Beat It," Michael Buble's "Meglio Stassera," a polish hymn entitled "Infant Holy," and Louis Prima's "Jump Jive an' Wail."

In 2011, Vocal Point competed as part of NBC's reality TV series The Sing Off season 3. The members of the group that competed in the show are Michael Christensen, McKay Crockett, Keith Evans, Tyler Sterling, Tanner Nilsson, Robert Seely, Ross Welch, Ben Murphy, and Jake Hunsaker. They were accompanied by director James Stevens. As a result of their participation in the show, the group was featured in a CNN article discussing how the group represented not only their school but also their faith.[2] The group continues to perform for sold-out crowds across the United States, now under the direction of Vocal Point alum McKay Crockett. The current members of the group are Adam Heimbigner, Andy Nielson, Bryce Romney, Cody Phillips, Devin Flake, Jake Tengelsen, Parker O'Very, Scott Shattuck, and Trevor Johnson.[3]

Awards[edit]

Discography[edit]

  • If Rocks Could Sing, 1992
  • Instruments Not Included, 1994
  • Fatter Than Ever, 1996
  • Mouthing Off, 1999
  • Grand Slam, 2003
  • Standing Room Only, 2004
  • Nonstop, 2008
  • Back In Blue 2011.
  • Lead Thou Me On: Hymns and Inspiration 2012.
  • Spectrum 2014.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wadley, Carma, "Vocal Point wins world championship", Deseret Morning News, 2006-05-03. URL accessed on 2006-05-04.
  2. ^ Dan Merica (December 8, 2011). "The Mormon group – whether they like it or not". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://www.byuvocalpoint.com/about

External links[edit]