25 Days of Christmas Music: “The Spirit of the Season” – Voctave

A stunning Christmas album from Voctave is perfect for those looking to hear that Disney Choir of old for Christmas 2016. Voctave is an a cappella group of singers from the Central Florida area.  Members of the group have performed all over the world with multiple artists and in countless venues. Voctave was formed in 2015 and has been recording and performing all over the country.  The group has recorded with artists including Kirstin Maldonado of Pentatonix and former Avalon member (who’s album will be reviewed later in the list) Jody McBrayer.

I first came across to Voctave while trawling Youtube for good vocal covers of Disney songs with my wife and sister and was blown away when I first heard them (I claim that I found them but Mrs. George disagrees). Since finding them I have subscribed to hear everything they put out.

In researching for each of these albums I have learnt so much about each performer and on this occasion I come across exactly what it is that makes me love these guys so much.  It was quoted in an interview in august 2016 that

‘the vocalists in Voctave harken back to the early sounds of Disney movie choirs, something timeless and classic’

For me that is exactly what it is, it’s a childhood thing for me.  Performing regularly at Disney’s ‘Epcot’ as ‘Voices of Liberty’, this group is quintessentially Disney.

As mentioned in a previous review on this site earlier this month, A cappella music is on the rise and I am very happy about a return to popularity for music that has what I would describe as ‘substance’ (smart melody, harmony, rhythmic complexity etc.) and all the things I teach my students good music should have. With so many great groups and solo artists finding their own niche in A cappella by doing cross over styles, adding beatbox, overlaying all parts themselves, what I really enjoy about Voctave is that they are a group of diverse individuals, all very talented in their own right and capable of solo prowess, joining together with a common goal of achieving great musical outcomes as a cohesive group.

The harmonies are often widely spread across the vocal tessitura but always blend so sonorously, the movement and flow of the vocal lines in the group are ‘as one’ and the intonation is almost unbelievably perfect.  The music is fun and the natural talent of all the members is stunning.  With soaring sopranos and full resonate bass, the extremes are done to perfection but for me in groups like this it is the middle parts that really make or break the sound and the alto/tenor combinations in all of these songs really do work around some tight harmonies to weave a gorgeous web of musicality.

The arrangements by James Ray (Tenor/arranger) provide such a sunning platform for these world class musicians to work their magic (Disney Magic if that is your thing). With such skill and true musicianship this group are in my mind the top of the tree when it comes to unadulterated group vocal harmonies.

This Christmas album ‘The Spirit of the Season’ offers so many great songs, perfectly arranged for Voctave and a real pleasure to listen too. Although ‘Mary Did You Know’ seems to be the most commercially successful from the album it is songs like ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas feat. Jody McBrayer’ (but I will get to his album soon) and their combination of two of Mrs. George’s favourites ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ and ‘First Noel’ that really hit the Christmas place for me.

A must have for those who want some perfect harmonies this Christmas.

My Must Hear: ‘Carol of the Bells of Notre Dame’ – Voctave

To purchase this album: Australian iTunes

For more of Voctave visit: http://www.voctave.com/

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