Rock cappella

Vocalosity interprets pop, rock and indie at Kuss

By Lisa Bennett

Since the Internet first became available to the general public in 1995, social media and digital communication have replaced the world of family-centric meals and homey game nights. Long gone are the days of singing to old records with friends or singing in the rain just because. Nowadays, we can just look up music on YouTube or iTunes.

As we disconnect from traditions and more intimate interactions, however, we find ourselves trying to fill the empty hole that has emerged in place of human interaction. Deke Sharon, music director, arranger and artistic director of Vocalosity, believes he may just have the cure. “Throughout human history, everybody sang,” Sharon says. “And the fact of the matter is that we are hard-wired to sing the same as birds and whales and crickets and so many different creatures throughout the animal kingdom.

“But as of late, people don’t sing anymore. It used to be that if you wanted Christmas carols, you sang Christmas carols with your friends. Now we have recorded music. It used to be that all the way through education in every culture and every society, music was respected. But now, it’s getting cut or slashed in all these schools as if it’s not something important to us. And finally, people are sitting at home on their couches rather than getting out and doing things and their turning on shows like American Idol where they’re watching the judges literally make fun of people who are great at singing, which is an abomination.

“When was that a good idea?” his lament continues. “Singing is much like cooking. If only the great chefs cooked, we’d all starve to death. We need music in our lives to feed our souls.”

In fact, there is a growing body of evidence in psychology and sociology studies that support that very notion. Dr. Daniel J. Levitin discusses how music has a powerful impact on the human brain in his book, “This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession.” Dr. Levitin, like so many others, argues that music is an integral part of the human experience, so much so that it is vital to our mental and social health. And that is one of the reasons, Sharon believes, that Vocalosity has gotten such an overwhelming positive response from the public.

“So far the reception has been unbelievable,” Sharon says. “We’re on the iTunes charts in America and in Japan. We never even announced the album in Japan! And the responses from the audiences have been just unbelievable. We’ve had multiple standing ovations and roars of applause between every single song and the CDs are flying off the shelves at the shows.”

If there is any one thing Sharon and crew hope audience members will take away from the show it’s this:

“They sing as well.”

With a varied barrage of music that is both popular and unexpected, it would be almost impossible to see the show and not want to do just that.

“I really wanted to inspire more people to sing but I learned early on that you show, don’t tell,” Sharon says. “So, rather than standing up there and saying, ‘you know, you guys should really sing, singing is really great,’ I just created an entire show, where by the end of it people can’t help but sing along. They can’t help but be absolutely caught up in the moment.”

And how could they not be? With fun, upbeat songs from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to more contemporary pop hits as well as some classics, there is something for everyone. What makes the show most unique, however, is not just the brilliant A cappella vocals done by some of the world’s most talented young artists. Nope. What makes this show tower stories above the rest is the stunningly genius blend of percussion and instrumentation created solely by the sound of the human voice, keeping Vocalosity true to its A cappella roots.

“It was the result of necessity,” explains Sharon. “There were lots of songs on the charts that could easily translate to vocals but I wanted to do the music that people were really listening to on college rock stations that were blasting in the dorm rooms. But you just couldn’t shoo-be-do-wop your way through the arrangement. It just wouldn’t work. So I transcribed what I heard on big staff paper like an orchestral score and I ended up with five different people out of 14 doing percussion sounds with their mouth. I thought, let’s use our voices to create the full, rich sounds of popular music.”

The result was a spectacular blend of vocal harmony. As the show came together, the vocals were combined with choreography from the incredibly talented Sean Curran, formerly of STOMP, making Vocalosity the desperately needed breath of fresh air to a world in need of renewal.

Vocalosity will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Kuss Auditorium, 300 S. Fountain Ave. in Springfield. Tickets are $35. For tickets or more information, please call 937.328.3874 or visit vocalosityontour.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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