By Adam McKinney
The practice of getting together to sing songs a capella may be as old as music itself. After all, instruments aren’t always available, and when they are, they aren’t always cheap. What we’re granted, though, is our voices, which can be used to create wonderful sounds. In the modern age, with the rise of recorded music and rock and roll, the subgenre of a capella singing had largely left the public eye. Lovable entertainments like the Pitch Perfect movies and the enormous success of groups like Pentatonix sent a capella rocketing back into the mainstream.
Minnesota-based a capella group Six Appeal possesses all the attributes that make the art form compelling to contemporary audiences: It performs songs drawn from a deep well of styles and time periods, incorporates whip-smart humor and inventive choreography and creates sounds that leave even the most credulous audiences stunned by the lack of instrumentation. Comprising Andrew Berkowitz, Michael Brookens, Reuben Hushagen, Evan Taylor Jones, Trenard Jones and Jordon Roll, Six Appeal began professionally performing in 2010 and quickly became one of the nation’s preeminent a capella groups by winning the 2012 National Harmony Sweepstakes Championship.
“Audiences who have never seen a capella, or seen Six Appeal, they’re just taken aback,” says Berkowitz. “People are used to going to a show and thinking that there’s a drum track, but with Six Appeal, it’s actually just me making drum sounds on stage. On top of that, besides the sonic part of it, there’s this huge visual element that we like to include in our show. It’s choreography, and it’s having a conversation with the audience.”
Watching Six Appeal perform is really something to experience. These six, world-class vocalists have absolute control over their voices and interplay. At their finest, they successfully pull off the illusion of a fully orchestrated song. They also have a way of putting their own spin on classics and new favorites. With a continuously rotating set list, Six Appeal is always looking to incorporate material from the unlikeliest of sources. See, for example, their impossibly smooth medley of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and Van Morrison’s “Moondance.”
Before moving on to the national competition, Six Appeal won a national National Harmony Sweepstakes at The Washington Center. Nearly seven years later, they’re returning to once again wow Olympia audiences.
7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8
The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia