Walton Art Center Debuts Program for Aspiring A Cappella Vocalists

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, February 26, 2018 –Walton Arts Center is now accepting applications for the new VoiceJam Varsity Singers, a week-long learning and performance opportunity for up to 25 high school or college-aged vocalists who are interested in a cappella.

Varsity Singers, an addition to the VoiceJam A Cappella Festival lineup, will give local, aspiring student vocalists the opportunity to rehearse with and learn from a cappella industry professionals.

Applicants must be in grades 9-12 or enrolled in an undergraduate higher education program and able to read music. Selected vocalists must commit to attending rehearsals and the showcase performance during the week of April 2-5. Applications will be accepted through Friday, March 16. Vocalists chosen for the program will be notified by Monday, March 26.

Varsity Singers will workshop and rehearse a selected song over the course of three rehearsals April 2-4 with VoiceJam instructor, Michael Martinez. The Varsity Singers will perform the arrangement on Thursday, April 5 at a free community concert with Narin, Vocal Asia’s 2017 Asian Cup Competition winner.

Application and audition instructions are available online on the Varsity Singers Application. Contact Meghan Foehl, Walton Arts Center’s engagement coordinator, at 479.571.2766 or mfoehl@waltonartscenter.org for more information.

Michael Martinez is currently the choral director at RJ Reynolds High School in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Martinez has been a judge for Varsity Vocals for three seasons. His choirs have received superior ratings at NCMEA Music Performance Adjudication since he began teaching in 2010. His former group, Tonal Spectrum, placed fourth in the 2015 ICHSA Championship in New York. Since then, Tonal Spectrum has opened for Deke Sharon's group, Vocalocity, and released their first album, Tonal Spectrum 2015, which was nominated for two CARA awards. Martinez sells arrangements for a cappella and offers coaching sessions for groups competing in ICHSA/ICCA. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Music Education. He was a member and treasurer of the a cappella group, The UNCG Spartones (2007-09). He also co-founded and directed The AcaFelons, the first a cappella group at Gardner-Webb University (2011-12).

VoiceJam A Cappella Festival is not your grandmother’s a cappella. This is current music and old music made current by extreme vocal range, control and vocal percussion. Whether you want to compete, learn or listen, VoiceJam has something for everyone. The annual festival, produced by Walton Arts Center, features regional and international contemporary a cappella ensembles. Hosted by Deke Sharon, dubbed by Entertainment Weekly as "the father of contemporary a cappella," VoiceJam features an array of events including a competition, full-day of workshops, a professional showcase concert, unexpected aca-concerts around the community, concerts for NWA schools and other aca-surprises.

Tickets and can be purchased in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org. 

Walton Arts Center is Arkansas’ largest and busiest performing arts presenter. Each year more than 195,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend more than 400 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, weddings and more. Approximately 45,000 students and teachers participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and almost 200 volunteers donate 21,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 45% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit www.waltonartscenter.org.