|BYU Vocal Point|
Logo of Vocal Point
|Origin||Brigham Young University|
BYU Vocal Point is a nine-member, male a cappella group at Brigham Young University (BYU). Founded by students in 1991, Vocal Point operates under the direction of BYU's Performing Arts Management (PAM).
The group has won three Pearl Awards and it was the winner of the 2006 International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). In 2011, the group placed fifth on NBC's third season of The Sing Off.
Vocal Point was founded by two students at BYU, Dave Boyce and Bob Ahlander. They 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, Boyce and Ahlander recruited Jill Petersen-Lex to serve as the group's first Artistic Director. The three held auditions in the fall of 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 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 BYU's School of Music thought it should be an official part of the university. In the fall of 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 performing venues, and assistance from the staff of the School of Music and PAM.
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 concerts in BYU's de Jong Concert Hall, as well as the group's first New Year's Eve performance at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square. In 1999, group member Joseph Lebaron updated the group's logo to the "screaming head" design.
In 2001, co-founder Ahlander returned and became the director. His tenure started by the group hosting its ten-year anniversary celebration, including an 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 ICCA, 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 the fall of 2004, representing Ahlander's three years of work as director.
Next on the directorial stage was James Stevens, a BYU graduate and studio engineer who had performed with Vocal Point for two years under 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 Homecoming Spectacular, as well as at its first BYU devotional. The group also hosted a celebration in honor of the group's 15th anniversary. As a culmination of the group's success, they again won the regional semi-finals in the ICCA, but this time were able to compete in the finals, which were 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.
In the fall of 2010, a former member of Vocal Point, Buck Mangum, took on the role as a director, along with Stevens. In early 2011, Vocal Point again competed in the ICCA. 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 with Hunsaker winning the same awards. At finals in New York, Vocal Point received awards for "best vocal percussionist" to Tanner Nilsson, again "best soloist" to 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 season 3 of NBC's reality TV series, The Sing Off. The members of the group that competed in the show were Michael Christensen, McKay Crockett, Keith Evans, Tyler Sterling, Tanner Nilsson, Robert Seely, Ross Welch, Ben Murphy, and Hunsaker. They were accompanied by 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. The group continues to perform for sold-out crowds across the United States, now under the direction of Vocal Point alum McKay Crockett.
- Fifth place on NBC's third season of The Sing Off (2011)
- ICCA Second place (2011)
- ICCA International Champions (2006)
- Pearl Award for Best Performing Artist (2005)
- Pearl Award for Best Performing Group (2005)
- 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
- He Is Born, 2015
- Music Video Hits (Vol. 1), 2016
- Music Video Hits (Vol. 2), 2018
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