DCCA News: Let’s (Voice)Play


By Marilyn Delk



Much excitement surrounds the news that VoicePlay is coming to Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Jan. 23 as part of Darke County Center for the Arts 2015-16 Artists Series! Those who are already familiar with the five-member a cappella group eagerly await hearing great music; but others are asking: “What is VoicePlay, and what do they do?”

Well, VoicePlay’s members use their voices to create a fully orchestrated sound while performing songs from many eras in a broad variety of styles. And they have a lot of fun while doing that—you know, as in when you “play,” you have a good time. They perform (play) music without using accompanying music except for the sounds emanating from their amazing vocal abilities.

For further enlightenment, let’s look at what members of the ensemble say about what they do. Earl Elkins, Jr., who has been with the group since its inception and whose soaring tenor usually is the lead voice in arrangements, helps create many of the original concepts heard in VoicePlay’s catchy tunes by “noodling around.” Hmm; that’s not too helpful.

Bass man Geoff Castellucci, another founding member whose first love is music and who has been singing for as long as he can remember, finds penning arrangements a good outlet for his creativity, but says that what he enjoys most is coming up with new and innovative ways to embarrass other cast members on stage. Okay, let’s move on.

Vocal percussionist Layne Stein uses his mouth to make weird, funky, drum lines and sound effects, proving that he can make money by spitting. I don’t think that I want to explore that concept any further! Eliezer “Eli” Jacobson, known as VoicePlay’s Director of All Things Awesome, delivers powerful, soulful rock vocals with the group, and is responsible for left-field conversations and quirky futuristic musical ideas. Tony Wakim loves to perform, and has been a professional artist since he was 17 years old, but says that through all his endeavors, nothing has been so challenging or fulfilling as his work with VoicePlay. That’s nice, but still not too useful in explaining a VoicePlay performance.

So, here’s my explanation: VoicePlay first became nationally known through appearances on NBC’s reality competition The Sing-Off, which features a cappella groups—singers with no instrumental music backing them up. Barbershop quartets are a cappella groups, but a cappella music has continued to evolve beyond that classic form, utilizing intricate vocal instrumentation and percussion to achieve a delightful and engaging contemporary full-bodied sound that accompanies voices singing melodies and harmonies. VoicePlay has toured internationally to great acclaim, their shows including theatrical comedic elements that generate giggles and guffaws from audiences of all ages. Their musical repertoire includes pop, rock, R & B, jazz, and Broadway show tunes; their act is original, imaginative, and at times ridiculous.

So come play with VoicePlay; you’ll hear amazing music and you’ll have a real good time. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased at DCCA’s office located within Greenville Public Library and online at www.CenterForArts.net or reserved by contacting DCCA at 937-547-0908 or dcca@centerforarts.net.

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By Marilyn Delk

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at marilynd@bright.net. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.