For thirty years, Rockapella has been thrilling audiences with their dynamic vocal prowess, seamlessly shifting from pop to jazz to rock and soul with ease. In the process, they have almost singlehandedly launched a cappella music into the modern era.
Rockapella has gone through many iterations in its history, first starting out as a Brown University vocal group (High Jinx) in the 80’s, and formally becoming Rockapella in 1986. After performing in New York City for several years, their big break came in 1991 when they were hired as the house band for the PBS kids game show Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego? The successful television show (and Rockapella-penned theme song) turned the group into a household name, resulting in the band getting a record deal, starring in several national commercials and touring the world.
As the band rose to greater fame, its personnel changed, with original members leaving to pursue other avenues. Currently, tenor Scott Leonard is the longest tenured member of Rockapella, having joined in 1991, just before the band’s rise to stardom. Vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher, who arranges and produces most of the band’s rhythmic beatboxing, has been with Rockapella since 1993. Tenor Calvin Jones has been with the group since 2013, but the two newest members of the evolving Rockapella cast are bass Bryant Vance and tenor Mitchell Rains who both joined this year.
While the band’s personnel has gradually shifted, naturally so has their sound and live show. While they still remain adept at doo wop and vintage barbershop, the current Rockapella brings more of a modern R&B/pop flavor to their sound. What remains constant is the lack of instruments, backing tracks or canned beats. Nineteen albums and countless world tours after Rockapella’s humble beginnings as a street performing doo wop group, it’s still just five incredibly talented guys with microphones. Their most recent release is the 2016 single “Better 2gether”
“One of the most accomplished contemporary a cappella groups.” The New York Times