Last summer, when Emily Frankoski announced the lineup for the 2019-20 Curtains Up series, she couldn’t quite disguise her enthusiasm concerning an award-winning a cappella group named Voctave.
After all, for years, she’d been a member of two a cappella groups, one all-female and the other co-ed, embracing a cappella after becoming burned out on traditional choral music.
“I decided to forego my vocal lessons and the university choir, and auditioned for the all-female a cappella group on campus,” Frankoski said. “Once accepted, I knew I had found what I was looking for.”
Now as director of Connect2Culture, she had a helping hand in selecting what entertainment act would visit Southwest Missouri and was excited to see Voctave make the final cut.
“They are one of the best a cappella groups out there and since they will be singing everyone’s favorite showstoppers from Disney and Broadway. I will have no choice but to sing along,” she said.
One aspect that makes Voctave special, she continued, “is that all 11 members have professional roots with Walt Disney World entertainment. They got their start at Disney’s Voices of Liberty at Epcot Center. Shortly after, they joined together and formed Voctave. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Voctave will perform “The Corner of Broadway and Main Street” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Joplin High School Performing Arts Center, 2104 Indiana Ave.
Frankoski hopes the concert will continue to boost a cappella’s popularity in the area.
“A cappella is deceptive,” she said. “A group like Voctave sounds seamless and they make it look easy. Many do not realize or appreciate the hard work required to achieve that unified sound. First, is the task of arranging the piece of music in the first place. When arranging a song for a cappella, it takes a keen ear and someone who is a music theory specialist. The arranger listens to the song and dissects it – assigning certain instruments heard within the song for certain vocal parts. Once creating the sheet music and assigning fun/sometimes silly syllables/vowel sounds to accompany those notes, it’s time for each vocal part to learn their specific part of the song. Once mastered, all vocal parts practice and perform together. It takes time, determination and patience to get it all sounding just right.
“I hope those attending see the passion behind Voctave’s vocalists and become a fan of a cappella music — if they aren’t already,” she said. With the excitement generated from Voctave, “it is very likely” that an a cappella group could be back in future Curtains Up seasons.
Tickets are $25 for orchestra seating, $20 mezzanine and front balcony seating, and $15 for back balcony seating and can be purchased at connect2culture.org, in person from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Joplin Empire Market on Saturday, Feb. 1, or at the door the night of the concert.
The last Curtains Up Series performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, when The Choir of Man, nine singers from the United Kingdom, transforms the Memorial Hall stage into an Irish drinking pub.
“Ailey II was our first taste of ballet. It was so different, exciting, and extremely well-received. The quality of that performance was unlike anything I had ever experienced. David Phelps performed for a nearly sold-out crowd – it was the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season,” Connect2Culture’s Emily Frankoski said. “I’m confident Voctave and The Choir of Man are going to close out our third season with such a bang our patrons will be properly excited for the next season.”