Written for The Argo by Rebecca Pollard
Stockton’s competition a cappella group, Stockapella, opened for world-renowned a cappella group the Kings Singer’s when they visited Stockton on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
The King’s Singers is a British a cappella group originally formed at King’s College, Cambridge. The group travels around the world performing and giving workshops on the craft of a cappella. The King’s Singers have won two Emmy awards, a Grammy award, and a place in Gramophone Magazine’s Hall of Fame.
The group has also worked with some very high-profile orchestras, such as the NDR Radiophilharmonie. According to their website, they were also commissioned by Sir James MacMillan to perform a special work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
The group is known for traveling around the world to perform and lead workshops for vocal ensembles. According to the singers, a typical season for them consists of between 120 and 130 concerts. They also make radio and television appearances and record at least one album a year. The group’s discography consists of over 150 recordings.
The King’s Singers came to Stockton on their current worldwide tour hosting workshops and performances. The group hosted a masterclass for not only Stockton’s competition a cappella group, but other musical groups on campus.
“It was a really cool opportunity to learn from them since they’re so experienced,” Stockappella’s Vice President Peter Bialkowski said. “We performed for them and they gave us critiques and told us how to improve.”
Stockapella performed a section from their competition number to open for the UK-based a cappella group’s concert. The performance took place in the Stockton Performing Arts Center, where the King’s Singers were surprised by their former baritone Gabriel Crouch. Crouch joined the group for an encore number.
The King’s Singers are continuing their current tour, where they will visit schools, churches, and performance halls to spread their love and knowledge of a cappella music. The tour will end in Germany after performing and teaching in countries such as South Korea, Switzerland, Hungary, and Russia.
“The whole group learned a lot. It was really awesome,” Bialkowski said. “We got to ask a ton of questions and take pictures with them.”
This performance followed the ICCA’s, or the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella, where Stockapella competed in on Feb. 12. The competition took place at the Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River and was the Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinal #1. The overall winner of the competition was The Deaftones, the a cappella group from the Westminster Choir College at Rider University.
Despite the group not taking first place, Stockapella’s beat-boxer Anthony DeFelice won an award for Outstanding Vocal Percussion for the group’s entire set.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting it, but I was really honored,” said DeFelice.
The group performed a medley of multiple songs during the competition. The set started with Warmer, by Bea Miller. Jaclyn Kobilis performed as a soloist. They then went into Arcade by Duncan Laurence featuring FLETCHER, which featured RJ Clemens and Emma Desiderio as soloists. The set ended with the song Ugly Cry by the artist Victoria, where the soloist was Ava Troxel.
“The whole group did great, I’m just really proud of us,” said DeFelice.