Rogers-Lowell Area News

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Date ArticleType
2/25/2019 Member News
Varsity Singers Gives Aspiring Student A Cappella Vocalists Training and a Chance to Perform at Walton Arts Center

Walton Arts Center is now accepting applications for the VoiceJam Varsity Singers, a week-long learning and performance opportunity for up to 25 high school or college-aged vocalists who are interested in a cappella.

Varsity Singers, part of the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival lineup, will give local, aspiring student vocalists the opportunity to rehearse with and learn from a cappella industry professionals.

Applicants must be in grades 9-12 or enrolled in an undergraduate higher education program and able to read music. Selected vocalists must commit to attending rehearsals and the showcase performance during the week of April 1-5.

Varsity Singers will workshop and rehearse a selected song over the course of three rehearsals April 1-3 with VoiceJam instructor, Michael Martinez. The Varsity Singers will perform the arrangement on Thursday, April 4 at a free community concert with Boonfaysau, Vocal Asia’s 2018 Asian Cup Competition winner.

Interested applicants must complete and submit the Varsity Singers Application and a short audition video. Applications will be accepted through Saturday, March 16. Vocalists chosen to participate in Varsity Singers will be notified by Friday, March 22.

The program is free, and Varsity Singers members will also receive complimentary admission to the VoiceJam workshops on Saturday, April 6. Contact Meghan Dale, Walton Arts Center’s engagement coordinator, at 479.571.2766 or mdale@waltonartscenter.org for more information.

Michael Martinez is currently the choral director at RJ Reynolds High School in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Martinez has been a judge for Varsity Vocals for three seasons. His choirs have received superior ratings at NCMEA Music Performance Adjudication since he began teaching in 2010. His former group, Tonal Spectrum, placed fourth in the 2015 ICHSA Championship in New York. Since then, Tonal Spectrum has opened for Deke Sharon's group, Vocalocity, and released their first album, Tonal Spectrum 2015, which was nominated for two CARA awards. Martinez sells arrangements for a cappella and offers coaching sessions for groups competing in ICHSA/ICCA. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Music Education. He was a member and treasurer of the a cappella group, The UNCG Spartones (2007-09). He also co-founded and directed The AcaFelons, the first a cappella group at Gardner-Webb University (2011-12).

VoiceJam A Cappella Festival is not your grandmother’s a cappella. This is current music and old music made current by extreme vocal range, control and vocal percussion. Whether you want to compete, learn or listen, VoiceJam has something for everyone. The annual festival, produced by Walton Arts Center, features regional and international contemporary a cappella ensembles. Hosted by Deke Sharon, dubbed by Entertainment Weekly as "the father of contemporary a cappella," VoiceJam features an array of events including a competition, full-day of workshops, a professional showcase concert, unexpected aca-concerts around the community, concerts for NWA schools and other aca-surprises.

Tickets to VoiceJam concerts and workshops can be purchased in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.