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Pulse performing arts series presents musical group Rockapella as part of SU Family Weekend

October 16, 2008

SU News Services
(315) 443-3784

SU News Services

Syracuse University's Pulse performing arts series, presented by the Division of Student Affairs, will present certifiably unique pop a cappella musical group Rockapella as part of SU Family Weekend on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 2 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center.

Tickets are required and cost $5 for students with valid SU I.D. (limit one per SU student); $15 for SU faculty, staff, alumni and registered family members; and $20 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the Schine Student Center Box Office; for more information, call (315) 443-4517. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Parents Office Special Needs Fund, which supports students and families in time of crisis. Free parking for the concert is available in the Waverly, Marion, Lehman and Harrison lots.

"The parallels between Rockapella and our own Family Weekend are a natural fit," says Thomas V. Wolfe, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. "Just as these star performers bring fans of all ages and backgrounds together in enjoyment of their art, Family Weekend unites our students and all who support them in celebration of Syracuse University's rich opportunities and helps us extend these opportunities even further to students who most need them."

Often imitated but never duplicated, Rockapella has been seen and heard on television over many years, including in numerous national commercials, talk shows and for five seasons as regular on-camera comic relief, soundtrack and theme-song crooners on the award-winning PBS program "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?" The original quartet, a group of Brown University alumni, was formed for the sheer love of performing.

Rockapella reached its first milestone as featured performers on the PBS television special "Do It A Cappella," hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee. Created to showcase the supreme capability and virtuosity of the human voice, the program was a perfect platform for the group's talent and energy. When their appearance hit the airwaves, the doo-wop stereotype of vocal group pop music was crushed and PBS requested that Rockapella write and record the theme music for "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" and serve as house band. Later, HBO cast Rockapella, alongside Hollywood stars Whoopi Goldberg and Denzel Washington, in the hit family series "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child." Since then, the group has appeared on NBC's "The Tonight Show" and "Today," the "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" and CBS' "Early Show," among other programs. Responding to popular demand, Rockapella took its original songs, arrangements and signature harmonies into the studio, recording several albums.

Pulling pure talent together is key to the group's unique sound. Scott Leonard (high tenor) creates the arrangements, sounds and songs, and can be found both behind the console and in the producer's chair as he writes, produces and records. Kevin Wright (tenor) came to Rockapella from the stages of New York's Broadway theaters and brings a silky voice, charm and charisma to Rockapella's incomparable harmony. George Baldi (bass), who came to Rockapella after performing in various groups around the world, has a massive voice that provides Rockapella's harmonic foundation. John K. Brown's (tenor) talent shines as brightly as his fluid voice, which tops the group's plate of sound like warm butter. The drum and percussion heard in the Rockapella sound are performed by Jeff Thacher (vocal percussionist), whose role in Rockapella completes their arsenal of "human music."

The five men-whose sound has become an infectious blend of soul, rock, R&B and jazz-are the undisputed kings of contemporary a cappella music. To date, Rockapella continues to offer proof of its boundless ability to inspire and attract devoted fans, both new and old. For more information, visit

Pulse provides SU undergraduates and, in turn, the Central New York community, with out- of-classroom opportunities to attend and participate in programs, performances, exhibitions and events in the performing and visual arts. It is a model program recognized for quality, diversity, innovation and collaboration that celebrates and expands the cultural climate of SU by programming the best offerings of local arts organizations, paired with performances by internationally renowned visiting artists. The performing arts series seeks to raise the caliber of SU's cultural programming while increasing the number of participating students. For more information, visit

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