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Voice Activated – Monmouth U Hosts a ‘Doo Wop Explosion’ of Acappella Mastery

The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University  has announced that tickets are on sale for a February 20 ” Doo Wop Explosion ” that assembles some of the finest vocal talent in New York, North Jersey and Philadelphia, on the stage of the refurbished Pollak Theatre .

Part of the 2016 Winter-Spring Performing Arts Series, the Saturday evening concert event offers a unique opportunity to hear the region’s most masterful practitioners of acappella soul; delivered without instrumental accompaniment, and enhanced by a performance space that boasts nearly 700 new seats, new carpeting, and a newly enlarged stage area.

An exploration of the state of the art of acappella, the 7 p.m. program is co-produced and emceed by Charles and Pam Horner  of Classic Urban Harmony – the music scholars and collectors who curated last year’s acclaimed  “Springwood Harmony” exhibit of early Asbury Park music memorabilia inside the Pollak Gallery. The Horners return to the Monmouth campus with a living, breathing jubilee that picks up from the legacy of the great R&B, gospel and rock ‘n roll vocal groups of yesteryear – a celebration of the human voice in all its versatile glory. 

Most of all, the February 20 “Explosion” revels in the pure passion and undeniable appeal of Doo Wop, the harmony-based pop music that emerged from the African American communities of postwar America, and was soon embraced and enjoyed by young audiences of all races. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime collection of six premier groups (plus special guests) that includes Jersey City’s Choice , whose grounding in 35 years of musicmaking experience hasn’t kept them from becoming viral social media sensations, whose recent video posting attracted more than 6 million views.

Formed on the streets of Brooklyn (and fine-tuned in the subway tunnels of NYC), The Tee Tones have brought their sounds to nationwide audiences on Good Morning America  and ABC World News Tonight. Philly’s own Quiet Storm  have attracted a coterie of fervent fans (known as “Storm Chasers”) who follow them from gig to gig – while Joe Cleary and the Balladeers  bring their complex harmonies to the Pollak stage in one of only a handful of yearly appearances. The Vic Donna Group  are known for their tight intricate harmonies of obscure R&B and Doo Wop collectors sides and original material – and Piscataway’s own Re-Member Then  have the distinction of twice winning the Acappella Showdown competitions at the Meadowlands.

Re-Member Then will also be singing backup for very special guest star Larry Chance , the longtime front man of Bronx-based hitmakers The Earls (“Life Is But a Dream,” and of course “Remember Then”). Joining Quiet Storm via video will be De’Sean Dooley , grandson of Sonny Till, the late and legendary leader of the group that started it all: The Orioles (“Crying in the Chapel”).