“Touring hasn’t changed since COVID-19. It stopped,” said Voctave producer Jamey Ray. “We have not had a live performance since Feb. 2.” The a cappella group’s first concert together since the novel coronavirus outbreak will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium at BJU.
BJU regrets that at this time, Concert, Opera & Drama Series performances are only open to students.
The 11-member group was formed in 2015 and gained fame for its YouTube videos that were posted in 2016. Voctave continues to gain popularity on social media, and its videos have over 150 million views.
Yet the group was not originally founded with YouTube in mind. Ray had gathered former members of Walt Disney World’s Voices of Liberty ensemble to record an album and on a whim filmed the “Disney Fly Medley” video that would launch Voctave into internet fame. He uploaded the video to YouTube, and the views started climbing.
Now, four years later, Voctave has produced eight albums in addition to online videos. With several songs and albums hitting No. 1 on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon, the group has also ranked in the top 25 on Billboard Magazine’s charts.
However, like many artists, Voctave ceased performing when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S.
“We have not done virtual concerts for the same reason we could not do live concerts,” said Ray. “For a long time, the group did not feel ready to be in a room singing together. Eleven people with big voices singing a lot of music create a lot of aerosol. Without a space large enough, it just wasn’t an option for a while.”
However, the group did produce their latest album while most of the nation was under stay-at-home orders. The Corner of Main St. & Broadway, Vol. 2 features songs from Disney movies and show tune favorites. Highlights include “Prince of Egypt Medley,” “Disney Heroes and Villains Medley” (fun fact: the villains are sung by the basses, and the heroes are sung by the tenors) and “You Will Be Found” featuring a virtual fan choir.
“When we put together our song list for the recent album, we were just picking songs we liked. The list was finished before COVID hit,” said Ray. “Coincidentally, it ended up being a list of songs that we think are important for the world to hear right now. …
“We all saw the world turn to the arts when this began. Ironically, it is perhaps what has been affected the most by this situation, but people look to the arts for inspiration through difficult times. We hope that our music will do just that.”