Professional Showcase

Saturday, July 20, 2013 8:00pm

First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia
2125 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Groove for Thought
Groove for Thought

The seven singers of Groove For Thought have been blowing audiences away for over ten years. Performing classic tunes in a jazz style unlike anything you’ve ever heard, the group combines the swinging style of The Manhattan Transfer with the smooth sounds of Take 6. Groove for Thought is proud to announce the release of their latest full length album Inspired. “On this album we wanted to pay tribute to the artists and songs that have inspired us over the years,” explains founding member James Niles. “From Sting to Stevie Wonder, we love a lot of different types of music and for this project we wanted to put our own spin on some of our favorites.”

Together since 2000, Groove for Thought began as a group of friends that got together weekly in their living rooms to sing a style of music that went above and beyond what was possible in their college jazz choirs. “Their arrangements are stunning representations of the possibilities of vocal harmonies,” according to a review from the Contemporary A Cappella Society. Written primarily by founding member Kelly Kunz, these creative explorations of jazz and classic pop tunes are the backbone of Groove’s unique sound.

Many of the members of Groove are experienced music teachers, and all members have ties to the rich jazz education tradition of the Pacific Northwest. The award-winning ensembles at Central Washington University, Pierce College, Edmonds Community College, and Mount Hood Community College proved to be an excellent training ground for what would become “hands down the best [vocal] jazz group in the United States,” according to Deke Sharon, a pioneer of the contemporary a cappella style. In addition to electrifying performances, the members of Groove for Thought are active as clinicians and adjudicators andare available to present workshops on a wide variety of musical subjects.

Groove for Thought has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, sharing their unique brand of music with school, concert, nightclub, and festival audiences alike. First reaching a national audience at the 2007 American Choral Director’s Conference in Miami, Florida, Groove for Thought continues to perform both in the United States and abroad. Groove for Thought received the honor of performing at the 2008 Polyfolia World Choral Music Symposium in St. Lo, France, and the 2009 Europa Cantat Festival in Uterecht, Netherlands. The Mittelrhein Musik Momente in Boppard and Rockenhausen, Germany and MusicFest Vancouver in British Columbia hosted Groove for Thought in 2009 as well. In a 2010 appearance on The Choir with Aled Jones on BBC 3 Radio, Jones commented, “Unbelievable singing…I almost feel like I need to lie down after listening.” In 2011, Groove For Thought had the exciting opportunity to open several shows for Jay Leno at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

Awards and accolades have been coming Groove’s way since they first began performing in public. Most notably, they are winners of the 2005 National Harmony Sweepstakes Competition, and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards for “Best Jazz Song” in 2006 and 2012 and “Best Holiday Song” in 2011. Additionally, Groove was selected “Favorite Jazz Group” in the 2011 A Cappella Community Awards.

In 2010, Groove for Thought was selected as one of ten vocal groups from around the United States to appear on the second season of NBC’s highly rated vocal competition show The Sing-Off. As judges on the show, Boyz II Men founder Shawn Stockman commented, “Y’all are so cool it hurts,” while Singer/Songwriter Ben Folds noted that Groove had, “style, soul, personality, and killer tone. . . a truly classy music performance.” In addition to appearing on four of the show’s five episodes, Groove is featured on The Sing-Off: Harmonies For The Holidays and The Sing-Off: The Best Of Season 2, both available on Epic Records. Groove is also proud of their 2006 debut album Groove for Thought and hopes to continue to Inspire audiences around the world with their fun and uplifting music.