“A ca-what-a?” Several years ago, you might have been met with this question when talking about a cappella music. But with the recent mainstream phenomena like Pentatonix and Pitch Perfect, a cappella has surged in popularity. While the art of a cappella is nothing new, it’s exciting for me to see others begin their love affair with it. If you haven’t, you need to get real. Well, with The Real Group that is.
Based in Sweden, the five member group has been touring the world and transforming a cappella for over 30 years. Their combination of vocal perfection, personality, and wide repertoire from jazz, pop, and folk has made them a mainstay in the vocal music world. They’ve produced over 20 albums, opened for the FIFA World Cup, and sang for state officials all over the world – including the Emperor of Japan. The Real Group is kicking off another North American tour. Their next stop? Right here in Fort Wayne! A ca-scuse me? Well, a ca-believe it!
On Friday, March 24th at 7:30pm, The Real Group performs at the IPFW Auer Performance Hall. The concert will feature their original arrangements, plus special musical guest features with Heartland Sings, a nonprofit company of Vocal Artists and ensembles based in Fort Wayne.
This isn’t your typical concert. There’s something to be said about the human connection with vocal music. With the voice as the sole instrument, a cappella music creates an entirely different experience from other types of music. The Real Group steps it up another level. Heartland Sings’ Director of Development Stephanie Carlson and General Manager Eric Miller are both vocalists themselves and self-proclaimed The Real Group superfans. They’ve both followed their music for years. Carlson said, “The thing that is incredible about The Real Group is that they have the ability to tell stories and paint pictures with just their voices.” How they do this is through their unique style of a cappella. The Real Group sound. “I’ve been a fan for over 20 years. The Real Group is able to take any song, no matter the genre, and still make it sound like their own.” Both Carlson and Miller have seen them in concert before and agree that it’s a must-see and must-hear musical experience that’s sure to leave an impact on audiences as it has on them.
So, what brings The Real Group to Fort Wayne? It started with Heartland Sings. President & Executive Director, Maestro Robert Nance and Eric Miller had the opportunity to have dinner with The Real Group after a performance last year. In that conversation, Miller said that it was a chance to understand how they operate as a performance company and have continued to be successful for multiple decades. Heartland Sings performs throughout the year with paid professional Vocal Artists, who also are classically trained, with a focus on both offering quality entertainment and a living wage for the musicians. Miller said that members of The Real Group supported what Heartland Sings is doing as a company and found it very inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that when it was mentioned that Heartland Sing’s 20th anniversary season was approaching, they wanted to be a part of the celebration. This concert has been a year in the making, with collaboration between the two to create a stellar vocal music performance for the Fort Wayne area and really do something big in this landmark year for Heartland Sings.
This collaboration also has given the opportunity for Miller and Carlson to step onstage and perform alongside The Real Group with other Heartland Sings Vocal Artists. *Cue internal fangirling/fanboying* “As a singer, it’s truly a dream come true,” said Miller.
In addition to the concert, The Real Group also will focus their time and talent on education. On Saturday, March 25th, The Real Group will be coaching local high school, university, and professional vocal groups in a morning masterclass at IPFW. From blend to vocal technique, participants will learn from top notch vocalists in a group coaching. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for aspiring vocalists and vocal jazz groups, and the students could not be more excited about it.
The internationally acclaimed professional a cappella ensemble, The Real Group, is coming to the IPFW Auer Performance Hall all the way from Sweden on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 7:30pm. This unforgettable musical experience will include Heartland Sings in an all a cappella concert. Tickets are $25 General Admission Pre-Sale, $30 General Admission At the Door, $15 Student with ID, and $75 for a VIP Meet & Greet ticket. VIP tickets include a chance to meet The Real Group after the performance and a signed CD. Seats are still General Admission. To hear Heartland Sings & The Real Group, get your tickets online here or by calling the IPFW Box Office at (260) 481-6555. To see what else Heartland Sings does, check out their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.