Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Entertaining Vocal Eclipse

About a week and a half ago my local Boy Scout council held a council-wide scouting event in conjunction with the centennial of the BSA (1910-2010). Boy Scout, Varsity, and Venturing units were invited to camp overnight. Cub Scouts and families of anyone involved in the BSA program were invited to come the following morning and spend the day enjoying a broad variety of activities. Thousands attended.

On Friday evening, I was surprised to hear that the a capella group Eclipse would be performing. Our family has a couple of the group’s albums that we quite enjoy. Accordingly, my three older boys and I wandered on over to the event stage at the appointed hour and found ourselves thoroughly delighted by the show.

As soon as the group was announced, the music started. Then one by one, the six members of the group came up the steps and out onto stage, performing as they went. Each was dressed in an official scouting uniform. (Five are Eagle Scouts. They later even announced their BSA unit numbers.) And they were great.

My #2 son is fairly accomplished at beatboxing, so he was enthralled. After the performance, he took an opportunity to chat with Kevin Jones, the group’s vocal ‘percussionist.’

(Disclaimer: I do not personally know any members of Eclipse and stand to gain nothing from this post.)

Each member of Eclipse has a tremendous talent. Their vocal arrangements blend all six voices together into captivating numbers that are enhanced by stage choreography. These guys move around a lot. They’re not just standing in place and singing. Having sung most of my life, I can attest to how difficult it is to maintain vocal clarity and enunciation while moving energetically.

One of my favorite numbers was the group’s rendition of Owner of a Lonely Heart, where tenor Paul Hansen performed the entire main bass vamp line simply by buzzing his lips. (I wonder what his lips felt like by the end of the song.) While the song has never been on my tops list, the innovative arrangement and execution made for great entertainment.

The whole show was pure fun. The youth loved it. My three sons that attended the show with me loved it. I’ve attended a lot of scouting events during my lifetime. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything as superbly entertaining as part of a scouting event. I’d definitely suggest taking an opportunity to see Eclipse perform live. You’ll be glad you did.

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