A monochromatic sensation landed in Bethesda on Thursday night at The Music Center at Strathmore. The Internationally known-Israeli based group, THE VOCA PEOPLE, wowed the audience with their fast paced a cappella show.
THE VOCA PEOPLE were on a journey back to their planet, VOCA, and crashed on planet Earth. They needed the “energy” of the audience to boost their machine back to life. However, the audience would give them “energy” (applause) if they sang, and by the end of the show a standing ovation that demanded an encore was certainly enough energy to send them back to VOCA.
The show was a non-stop riot. All eight cast members were so into their world that the audience had no choice but to join in on the fun. The gang was led by Beat On (Mark Martin) and Scratcher (Tiago Grade). These Abbott and Costello-type pair seemed to narrate the show, as Scratcher was the only one who could speak English, everyone else only spoke in “VOCA” or song.
Early on the audience learned that “life is music, and music is life” it was as simple as that. The life of music for the evening began with the group giving everyone the history of American music which spanned over several decades like Abba, Michael Jackson, the Macarena, and of course a little Britney Spears.
The rest of the evening was non-stop laughter, mainly because in between their different medleys there was a lot of audience participation, which quickly grew into how many audience members can singled out, dragged on stage and sung and run back to their seats with a beat red face crying of laughter.
The Strathmore stage is rather accommodating for the actors to come into the audience, wide isles, and stairs on either side of the stage allowed the VOCA PEOPLE to spend just about as much time in the house as they did on stage. It was truly charming and kept the audience very involved. Although the music was a cappella it seemed like a jazz concert at times because at any moment it was very appropriate to hoot and holler, clap, or just get up and dance along. The show was described by Composer-Arranger-Music Director Shia Fishman as,”entertaining for anyone from 6-106,” which is no exaggeration. Every recognizable song sung resonated with different audience members.
Other medleys of the evening included movie soundtracks and Queen, which featured the other members of the group: Soprano (Michal Reshef), Mezzo-soprano (Sapir Breier), Alto (Adi Kozlovsky), Tenor (Omer Shish), Baritone (Chris Dilley), Tubas (Bryant Charles Vance), who all dazzled the audience.
A memorable moment was the sort of “Guys vs. Girls” medleys when the two sides battled it out with some of those classic catchy love songs like “My Girl” and “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (a man after midnight).”
The costumes of the VOCA PEOPLE seemed a little distant at first; it was not easy to distinguish between them. They were solid white from head to toe except for their painted bright red lips. The actors wore white skin tight hoods, gloves, and were in white painted faces, and they each took on such different personalities and came into the audience so frequently, that the audience conneced to them individually.
The Marriott Concert Stage at The Music Center at Strathmore was rather a unique space for this show. The venue has four tiers to it, and when the THE VOCA PEOPLE left the stage, it created a completely different experience for those who were on the orchestra level compared to those on the top tier. The top tier was almost forced to stand to see the VOCA PEOPLE in the house.
There is no doubt that THE VOCA PEOPLE is an international sensation for a reason. It was a truly entertaining evening and unfortunately they were only in town for one night. I’m hoping they will return soon!
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
THE VOCA PEOPLE website.