Manhattan Beach

Rockapella sings Motown’s greatest hits

Popular a cappella group to perform at Kingsborough

March 25, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn audiences will get the chance to enjoy a great a cappella performance when Rockapella, one of the most famous groups in the world to perfect the art of singing without musical accompaniment, takes the stage at Kingsborough Community College on April 5.

Rockapella will present “Motown & More,” a tribute to all-time favorite Motown songs made famous by the Temptations, the Commodores, the Jackson 5, Martha & The Vandellas and others in the show, which will be presented on Saturday, April 5, at 8 p.m. in the theater at Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, in Manhattan Beach.

Expect to hear a cappella versions of such timeless gems as “Just My Imagination,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and “Use Ta Be My Girl,” to name a few.

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“They will knock your socks off,” Anna Becker, executive director of Onstage at Kingsborough, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “It’s just them on the stage with microphones, but you would swear that they have a band behind them. They do all of the percussion sounds.”

Rockapella is “the best at what they do,” Becker said.

Rockapella began as an a cappella group composed of students from Brown University and has evolved into a group that is in high demand on concert stages around the world. The group has multiple award-winning albums and gives at least 80 concerts a year.

For many years, the group was featured on the PBS television show “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?” Rockapella was also featured in a Folgers coffee commercial

“We’re really looking forward to performing in Brooklyn,” Rockapella member Scott Leonard told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I lived in New York for 10 years and I probably went to Brooklyn only two times. I’m looking forward to performing for a Brooklyn audience.”

The songs to be performed at the April 5 show were carefully chosen, according to Leonard. “We chose Motown as a theme for the concert because people have an emotional connection to Motown music,” Leonard said. “And technically, Rockapella has never sounded better.”

But it was a long road to success, Leonard said. Rockapella started during an a cappella boom that was taking place on college campuses across the U.S. in the late 1980s. Students loved singing without music, but were eager to put their own spin on it instead of singing “Sweet Adeline.” A cappella groups started incorporating rock and roll songs into their performances.

Rockapella was moving up, but members were finding that certain doors were closed. “In the beginning, record companies didn’t want to know us. A cappella was not respected by record companies at that time. We had to find a back door to get in. But we were determined. We worked hard,” he said.

Becker said the group fits in with the vision at Kingsborough of what should be presented in the Onstage at Kingsborough program, which has featured opera, Broadway performers, and ballet to southern Brooklyn audiences.

“We like to present performers who are really masters of the form; people who are the best at what they do. We also want to present works that have great theatrical appeal and Rockapella certainly does. They are a tight-knit group. They connect with the audience in a meaningful way. They are really what we are about,” Becker said.

The goal of Onstage at Kingsborough is to present Brooklyn audiences with great performances at ticket prices that are a fraction of what they would cost in Manhattan, Becker said. “People have called us ‘Lincoln Center at the Beach.’ We believe it benefits the community to be exposed to great artistry.”

Rockapella has “a rabid following,” according to Becker, who said she learned soon after announcing that they would be performing on April 5 just how dedicate their fans are. “We are getting calls from all over from people wanting to come to the show,” she said.

Tickets to “Motown & More” are $30 and $35. The box office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.


For more information, call 718-368-5596 or visit

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