Vocal virtuosos Rockapella nail Geneseo debut

Renowned a cappella group Rockapella took the Wadsworth Auditorium stage on Saturday, Feb. 2, wowing Geneseo students, staff and community members with a night filled with superb singing and hearty laughs as part of this year's Limelight and Accents Performing Arts Series.

Currently consisting of tenor Kevin Wright, baritone John K. Brown, high tenor Scott Leonard, bass George Baldi III and vocal percussionist Jeff Thacher, the well-known group has been in existence for over 20 years. Rockapella has recorded everything from major albums to classic television jingles, all of which were incorporated into their undeniably successful debut performance at Geneseo.

Though the show got off to a late start, it was well worth the wait. Rockapella began with several upbeat pop songs and continued to stick with this genre throughout most of their show. Often their numbers were so enjoyable that the entire audience would start clapping in rhythm. Interaction between the singers and the crowd reached a peak during a cover of the classic Beatles song, "Got to Get You into My Life," when the houselights were turned up and Wright walked through the aisles of the auditorium serenading random audience members.

Taking a break from pop music, Rockapella then performed a rendition of "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King. The classic went over very well with the audience and provided a nice change of pace for the concert as a whole.

However, the group quickly resumed their normal upbeat fare as the show continued, with such songs as classic doo-wop group The Drifters' "Under the Boardwalk" and The Hues Corporation's "Rock the Boat." The group performed a few more memorable ballads before the show concluded, including a touching rendition of "My Girl" by The Temptations and the Motown classic "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong.

The highlight of the evening, however, was when Rockapella sang a small selection of many of the classic jingles they have recorded over the years. These included the Folgers Coffee theme, a Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars theme, and the opening theme to The Today Show. The audience was highly amused upon hearing these familiar tunes from years ago and waited anxiously for the group to sing what is perhaps the most well-known jingle for Geneseo's college generation - the theme to the classic 1990s kids TV show, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Not surprisingly, Rockapella waited until the end of the concert before enthusiastically performing the song (twice) for the ecstatic Geneseo audience.

Rockapella was surely one of the most entertaining groups that Geneseo has hosted in a long time. The members displayed pure enthusiasm by skipping an intermission and singing straight through to the end of their show, rightfully receiving a standing ovation from their audience.

More information on Rockapella can be found on their Web site, www.rockapella.com, and information about upcoming Limelight and Accents shows can be found at sa.geneseo.edu.