GREENVILLE — Six Appeal Vocal Band is one of the busiest touring “a cappella” ensembles in the country, according to sixappealvocalband.com.
Its far-reaching repertoire spans a multitude of decades and genres, such as Pop, Country, Classic Rock, Jazz and R&B. In 2012 they won the title of National Harmony Sweepstakes Championship, securing their place in the a cappella community. The band has also been in the national spotlight, singing for The 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl live on ESPN.
One of the group’s recent stops was in Greenville, performing for nine different schools at St. Clair Memorial Hall, presented by the Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA). Yesterday, they performed for Versailles and Tri-Village school districts. Tri-Village Junior/Senior High School Principal Lee Morris said the student’s exposure to the performance was important.
“We don’t often get a lot of opportunities to have groups from other areas come to small communities like Tri-Village,” he said. “I think it is important for our kids not only to see groups who can perform, but also individuals from other places. Young men are here from Minnesota, North Dakota and Florida. Just those experiences alone can be important to our kids, to help them understand a bigger world a little bit.”
The band is comprised of the following six members: Jordan Roll, high tenor; Michael Brookens, mid-tenor; Trey Jones, low tenor; Jonathan Thalmann, baritone; Reuben Hushagen, bass and Andrew “Berko” Berkowitz, vocal percussionist. Brookens said kids bring so much energy into the room.
“We really try to feed off of the people we are performing to,” he said. “And with kids, it’s a lot of fun to work with that energy and channel it in different ways.”
“It also challenges us to stay on course, as they are a little more demanding,” Jones said.
In addition, band members said it is important for music to reach kids at a young age.
“It was more difficult than if I had learned early on, because it is fun to learn early on,” Jones said. “For me, at this age, learning is not always fun.”
“It’s a quintessential part of being a human,” Brookens said. “Music is integral, and it not only helps developing minds, but it’s crucial for expression. Like anything else later in life, it is harder to get into, yet no less meaningful. But it is very easy to learn the language of it and feel proficient in it, if it is a language you learn early on.”
During the show, Six Appeal entertained students with their humor and invited students to sing along with them. They were also taught the basics of Beatboxing, a form of vocal percussion, from vocal percussionist Berkowitz. Versailles Middle School eighth-grade students Kaylee Braun and Jack Osborne said they appreciated the opportunity to watch the performance.
“It is something we are not exposed to everyday,” Braun said. “And not very many people perform a capella.”
“They had strong voices and it was enjoyable,” Osborne said.
According to DCCA Artistic Director Keith Rawlins, Arts in Education is the most rewarding component of DCCA.
“DCCA never knows when we are going to touch a kid,” he said. “Some of them are going to be influenced from something DCCA provided. That is our mission. Six Appeal is engaging, while giving that educational component, and the kids love it.”
Sponsors for the concert by Six Appeal are Gordon Orthodontics and Bluebag Media. The concert is made possible, in part, by state dollars allocated by the Ohio Legisltaure to the Ohio Arts Council. DCCA also receives support from the Ketrow Foundation, Lydia E. Schaurer Memorial Trust Fund and Harry D. and Esther Stephens Memorial and other memberships.