They’ve become one of the world’s most sophisticated, lasting, and imitated vocal groups around today. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more influential one out there in this new era of network television a cappella shows like NBC’s The Sing-Off, movies like Pitch Perfect, and innumerable college vocal groups that own the corner of cool on campuses everywhere.
Since the early ’90’s when they first achieved national television fame on PBS’s Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?, they’ve toured the globe and provided a funky powerful soundtrack to several generations of vocal music fans, while keeping it all fresh along the way. With buckets of catchy original pop songs, and complete contemporary revisions of sparkling Motown, pop, and soul classics, this group has always been the one to watch. ”Often imitated – never duplicated” applies here. Now they’re better than ever!
As one of the progenitors of the astonishing full-band sound of “contemporary” a cappella, Rockapella has shown every audience the raw power of pure vocal talent and originality. “There’s nothing between us and the audience – it’s very human music – with nothing missing” says Rockapella’s human beatbox Jeff Thacher. No instruments, no tracks, no mirrors…but never lame.
We make it rock and make it interesting,” explains Scott Leonard, the group’s chief songwriter, arranger and an architect of their ever-evolving and imitated dynamic sound. USA Today summed up the lasting appeal like this: “The best musical instrument of all is the human voice – if you’ve seen Rockapella you know that’s the truth.”
The current Rockapella line-up features Scott Leonard (since 1991, High Tenor), Jeff Thacher (1993, Vocal Percussionist), George Baldi III (2002, Bass), Steven Dorian (2010, Tenor), and Calvin Jones (2013, Tenor). This line-up marks a new generation of Rockapella, keenly focused on musical excellence. “People have a hard time believing it’s just us making all of that music. It’s still those same elements that make modern band music: percussion, bass, melody and harmonies,” says Scott. “Our success in the art of it – it’s not what you do, but how you do it!” adds Jeff. And Rockapella has indeed proven that forming original pop & soul magic onstage is what sets them apart.
Rockapella uses AKG wireless microphones in concert.
Pyrotechnics is a word often used to describe Scott Leonard’s singing voice. Scott grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and though he departed the Hoosier State for the University of Tampa on a baseball scholarship, he ended up a voice major. He sang in rock groups for Disney in both Orlando and Tokyo for two years, releasing solo albums while in Japan. Scott’s soaring vocals and songwriting prowess have played major roles in shaping Rockapella’s characteristic sound.
Visit Scott’s personal website: ScottLeonardMusic.com
The astonishing percussion sounds you hear in a Rockapella show are performed vocally by Jeff Thacher, completing Rockapella’s band-without- instruments sound. Born of a very musical family and raised on piano lessons from an early age, he later added frequent vocal and choral experience. After receiving a degree in music and recording from Boston’s renowned Berklee College, Jeff spent a few years working in the radio and television industries while singing and experimenting with vocal percussion on the side in various groups, developing his unique sound. Since joining Rockapella in 1993, he’s been known as a pioneering giant among professional mouth drummers (a select group of beatboxers) who, as he likes to put it, “spit for a living”. Jeff’s powerful virtuosity forms the funky rhythmic heartbeat of Rockapella, delighting and astonishing audiences everywhere. An American original, for sure!
Jeff uses D-TAR Soundspots pickups in-concert.
Super-bass George Baldi hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. We found him while he was playing a handsome singing Frankenstein at Universal Studios, Osaka, Japan! His rich soulful bass voice, remarkable solo range, overall top notch musicianship and good looks were a great fit for the group and we nabbed him quickly. George’s prior swipe with fame was as a member of a group that would later become Boyz 2 Men. Just as the Boyz were about to gain greater fame, George’s family sent him off to college. Bummer for the Boyz…great for Rockapella…
A worldwide talent search led Rockapella to Steven Dorian (tenor), a former baseball star at the University of Massachusetts. Steven comes to Rockapella straight from the world famous stages of Disney, having played many major roles in Disney productions, including Disney’s Festival of the Lion King. Steven is a man of many talents whose singing, dancing and guitar playing have been showcased from Branson to New York, opening for Kenny Rogers, performing for international audiences. With his gorgeous vocals, smooth style, and magical grace on the stage, Steven rounds out the savory blend of Rockapella’s three tenors.
Announcing our NEW member! Welcome Calvin!
Calvin C. Jones was born and raised in East St. Louis, IL, and grew up idolizing Michael Jackson & Stevie Wonder. He started singing at an early age, then joined the vocal group Men Of Note at 13 and traveled the world as one of their lead singers for many years. Singing led to a passion for theater, and he went on to be featured in shows such as Dreamgirls, Fabulous 50′s, & Little Shop of Horrors, and brought his talents as a lead singer to the group SouthTown Fever. Rockapella had the good fortune to find Calvin while he was showcasing his silky smooth voice as a featured singer at Busch Gardens, Tampa, FL.