By Ann Leach
If you get a feel-good vibe listening to the Voctave concert coming to the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex Oct. 13, there’s a good reason. This a cappella group got their start as Disney’s Voices of Liberty at Epcot Center. The 11-member group is known for its arrangements of Disney medleys, jazz standards and Christmas music. And a fun fact to know: this a cappella group has a wide vocal range of five full octaves.
The group’s arranger, James Ray, uses classical group choral techniques that blend with barbershop and gospel. Examples of these works can be heard on Voctave’s YouTube channel, which includes the group’s album, “The Corner of Broadway and Main Street,” Volume 2, which hit No. 6 on the iTunes sales chart in its first week of sales.
The arrangements featured award-winning singers from all genres, including Pentatonix’s Kirstin Maldonado. Today, Voctave’s videos have gone viral, receiving a staggering 100 million views on YouTube and Facebook. With seven albums, the group continues to create and perform an ever-expanding range of sophisticated a cappella music. From gospel music to musical theater, contemporary Christian to barbershop, pop music to choral classics, Voctave voices have covered it all.
Want to Go? Voctage • Friday, Oct 13, 2023 • 7 p.m. Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex • Call 417-501-5550 for tickets
Chicago Tap Theatre (CTT) is a vibrant dance company that strives to preserve the dance form of tap while taking it to the next level of creativity and innovation. The troupe creates joyful, story-based shows that engage audiences and educate them about this classic American dance. One of the most critically acclaimed dance companies in Chicago, CTT’s entertaining performances have been hailed by the Chicago Stage Standard as “[a] collision of unparalleled footwork, live music and storytelling that dares the rest of the tap world to elevate its game.”
Founder and Artistic Director Mark Yonally fell in love with tap dancing at age 8. “I think it was the combination of music and dance plus the element of storytelling that caught my interest,” he said. “Inspiration was everywhere.”
Today, Yonally’s Chicago Tap Theatre is celebrating 20 years of performances that are centered around a three-show season in Chicago and a touring schedule that takes them across the United States and Europe.
“The level of artistry is just crazy and we’re at a beautiful point right now,” he said. “We’re seeing tap dancing more on Broadway and with other companies like ours who are touring the world. Our company will do its fifth tour to Europe next October.”
Managing the day-to-day operations of the company was made easier when Yonally discovered a few years ago that one of his dancers had a degree in arts management. “She stepped up to help and I later married her,” he said. “She’s our business manager now and I am happy to have her support at work and at home.”
Yonally is looking forward to their performance in Joplin and shared there will be seven dancers and at least four or five musicians performing here. “There’s always live music with our shows,” he said. He’s also interested in enjoying meals from locally owned dining establishments. “I am a huge foodie and a huge nerd about eating local,” he said. “If the place we go to has a local specialty, then we want to eat that. We’re all looking forward to being in Joplin, sharing a fun evening of tap dancing and enjoying what foods Joplin folks love.”
Want to Go? Chicago Tap Theater, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023 • 7 p.m. • Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex • Call 417-501-5550 for tickets.