VoiceJam Festival Celebrates All Things A Cappella

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, March 19, 2018Walton Arts Center is the place for all things a cappella during the annual VoiceJam Festival April 5-7, 2018. VoiceJam gives fans the opportunity to compete, learn about a cappella or just listen.

Now in its fourth year, VoiceJam is produced by Walton Arts Center in partnership with Vocal Asia, an Asian a cappella competition founded by Clare Chen in 2010. Chen wanted to create a premier a cappella festival in the U.S. and connect it to the broader world of a cappella, so she approached Walton Arts Center with the idea.

“Watching these groups from different countries interact together with music as their language is invaluable, especially in today’s world where there are so many walls that can separate us,” said Peter Lane, Walton Arts Center president and CEO. “It just reminds us that the arts are able to transcend cultural differences.”

In keeping with that goal of connecting people through a cappella, Vocal Asia champions perform at VoiceJam Festival, and VoiceJam champions perform at Vocal Asia in August.

This year VoiceJam kicks off with a free concert featuring Narin, 2017 Vocal Asia champion, on Thursday, April 5 at 7 pm in Starr Theater. Narin also will perform during the VoiceJam Competition.

VoicePlay, season four competitor on NBC’s “The Sing-Off”, is the headliner concert on Friday, April 6 at 7:30 pm. The members of VoicePlay have taken the timeless sound of vocal music and turned it completely on its head. 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. Tickets range from $15 to $30.

A cappella workshops lead by a cappella experts and guest judges, Dr. Stephen Caldwell, Dr. Erin Hackel, Mel Daneke, Michael Martinez and Trist Curless, are Saturday, April 7 from 9 am–5 pm. The workshops focus on various aspects of the art form and industry of contemporary a cappella. Registration is $25 plus fees and includes access to all workshops. Arkansas Department of Education credit is available for choral directors who register in advance.

The festival finale is the VoiceJam Competition on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 pm. Tickets range from $15 to $30 plus fees. Hosted by Deke Sharon, the father of modern a cappella music, this competition pits eight groups from across the country in a head-to-head aca-battle for the title of VoiceJam Champion and the chance to perform at Vocal Asia in Taiwan this summer. Audience members will also get to vote for the fan favorite.


  • The Originals – Carnegie Mellon University
  • VORTEX – University of Texas at Arlington
  • Mind the Gap – University of Oregon
  • The Harmelodics – Northern Illinois University
  • Impromptu – Indianapolis, Ind. (community group)
  • The Amateurs – Washington University in St. Louis
  • The Texas Songhorns – University of Texas at Austin
  • Ars Nova – Miami Valley School (High School, Dayton, Ohio)

Tickets to all events can be purchased in person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office, online at waltonartscenter.org or by calling 479.443.5600.

To learn more about VoiceJam Festival, visit 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.