Area residents who enjoyed NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” a contest for a cappella groups, will not want to miss the last installment of the Community Concert Association of Union City/Obion County’s 2012-13 season featuring VoicePlay, formerly known as 42Five.
The concert will be held April 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Union City Civic Auditorium. Individual tickets will be available for $20 in advance at Lanzer Printing and Office Supply Co. in downtown Union City and at the door prior to the show.
The group, based in Orlando, Fla., performs its own incredible brand of entertainment across the country and around the world. What began quite literally as a street corner barbershop act has now evolved into an internationally acclaimed touring sensation.
VoicePlay is unlike any theatrical experience available today, recreating the orchestrated sound of an entire musical production with nothing but the human voice.
The cast of VoicePlay has taken the timeless sound of vocal music and turned it completely on its head. Re-imagined as a full stage show, amazing, humorous and vertigo-inducing harmonies pepper VoicePlay’s music-without-music sound as it ping-pongs between eras and styles, channeling the breadth of the musical landscape and lacing it with inventive and often hilarious on-stage theatrics.
Fit for all ages, Voice-Play’s recordings and concerts are an impossible to miss hit which have to be heard to be believed.
Group members include:
• Earl Elkins Jr. — Involved in organized musical groupings at a very early age, Elkins has literally traveled the globe in pursuit of the ultimate vocal challenge. His rock opera tenor voice has been heard from England to Japan. Many of the melodies and alternate harmonies heard in VoicePlay’s catchy tunes come from Elkins’ spontaneous noodeling around. When not working with VoicePlay, he can be seen performing on several world-class cruise lines and around Orlando, including as Crush at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s “Finding Nemo, The Musical.”
• Geoff Castellucci — Castellucci was born in Alexandria, Va., and has well over 10,000 professional a cappella performances to his credit. His earliest musical memories are of playing the piano at his grandfather’s house in upstate New York when he was just 5 years old. Recognizing musical talent, Castellucci’s parents enrolled him in classical and jazz piano training. From that doorway to music, he branched out to vocals and guitar.
Castellucci got his first taste of a cappella through singing in the middle school choir, but didn’t really develop as a “bass man” until high school when he co-founded VoicePlay (then 42Five) with Layne Stein, Elkins, and former members Michael Kilgore and Scott Porter of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” and the CW’s “Hart of Dixie.”
The brainchild behind many of VoicePlay’s onstage antics, Castellucci finds his creative outlet in penning arrangements for the act and coming up with new and innovative ways to embarrass the cast on stage. When not working with VoicePlay, he can be seen making the rounds at Orlando area theme parks, including a very rumbly Frankenstein and Elwood Blues at Universal Studios Florida.
• Layne Stein — Born in Orlando, Stein has been singing since his earliest years in school, and like Castellucci and Elkins, was originally trained as an instrumentalist, playing the violin for 14 years before joining VoicePlay. After realizing he could spit to make money, he quickly learned and mastered the art of vocal percussion. All of those weird-funky-amazing-wow sound effects and drum lines come straight from his very tired mouth.
From an artistic context, Stein can be considered the epicenter of production for the group, including production on all of VoicePlay’s albums. He is also one of the main writers for VoicePlay but doesn’t limit himself to any particular genre or style. He has penned and produced for a number of artists — some local, some large — through his recording studio Rayne’s Room.
In addition to his many and varied musical interests, he also holds a degree in computer engineering from the University of Central Florida.
When not performing with the cast of VoicePlay, Stein can be seen behind a console in his studio or behind a mixing board running sound for a live show. Also, Stein has appeared in national commercials for the Food Network.
• Eliezer “Eli” Jacobson — Jacobson spent his early years in a small town just outside of Orlando. It was in high school that he discovered a cappella as well as his other loves, writing and recording, soul and rock ’n’ roll. Throughout his career, he has fronted many rock bands and has either been fully responsible or collaborative in the production and writing of hundreds of songs internationally.
Jacobson earned his bachelor’s degree in business management while he continued working in the music and entertainment industry.
• Tony Wakim — Wakim, who has been performing since he can remember, studied and trained at the Rhode Island School of Art and Design to produce feature animation. When 2d (hand-drawn) animation was retired in 2003, he focused on performing. His credits have ranged from original pop music to theatrical tours to the Prince of Darkness himself, Dracula.
From the age of 17, Wakim has worked for “The Mouse,” touring and dancing and, in recent years, even provided the voice to a familiar “Street Rat” with a magic lamp.
For more information about Community Concert Association of Obion County, call Mike Cox at (731) 536-4569 or visit www.communityconcertuc.org.