Brigham Young University’s nine-man a cappella singing group, Vocal Point, brought alumni members back together for its 20th anniversary celebration in a reunion concert in early March at the Covey Center for the Arts.
The show featured all nine founding members from the 1991 group, along with about 70 of their successors. Although Vocal Point had reunion concerts to mark its 10th and 15th years, this was the first time that the founding lineup had sung together since graduating from BYU.
Vocal Point was founded in 1991 by Bob Ahlander and Dave Boyce while both were students at BYU. “We were looking for a singing outlet that was maybe a bit outside the BYU norm,” Ahlander said. “We wanted to do something BYU had never seen before.”
The group takes songs heard on the radio, retools them and delivers a new rendition with voices alone — complete with all the complex percussion and instrumentation found in the originals. Started in the tradition of Ivy League glee clubs, Vocal Point has developed a varied repertoire of rock, pop, country, jazz, spiritual and R&B styles, all produced in the group’s unique style.
Vocal Point was originally intended to be a double-quartet with just eight members. However, at the conclusion of the first auditions, Ahlander and Boyce found themselves unable to decide between two singers with only one more spot to fill. At that point, Vocal Point’s signature nine-man sound was born.
“When we created Vocal Point, we envisioned a group that would become a tradition at BYU,” Boyce said. “We are so happy and proud of what Vocal Point has become. We often joke that we wouldn't make it into the group if we auditioned today.”
More than 100 men have sung with Vocal Point, including the nine currently in the group. To mark the 20-year anniversary of Vocal Point, BYU’s Tantara Records is releasing the group’s latest album, “Back in Blue.” In addition, Tantara has remastered Vocal Point’s first album, “If Rocks Could Sing,” which was also released in conjunction with the anniversary concert. This marks the first time “Rocks” has been available on CD. “Back in Blue” is Vocal Point’s eighth album. Song samples of all eight albums can be heard at www.TantaraRecords.com.
Vocal Point is part of the BYU School of Music and one of 18 performing groups sponsored by the university. It is the most-requested performing group at BYU and regularly performs in front of sold-out crowds on and off campus. Members of Vocal Point devote more than 20 hours each week to the group and do not receive scholarships or other compensation for their time. The group performs for more than 50,000 people each year, regularly selling out shows weeks in advance. Vocal Point is under the direction of Buck Mangum, the group’s fifth director.