All it took was a YouTube video for Voctave to become the a capella group heard around the world. Voctave is an 11-member group known for its harmonious adaptations of Disney and Broadway hits. Voctave has performed with Grammy, Dove and American Music award recipients, rank multiple times in the top 25 on Billboard Magazine’s charts and have toured worldwide. Chautauqua is the group’s most recent pinpoint on the map, where it will perform at 8:15 p.m. Friday, June 29, in the Amphitheater.
Jamey Ray is the founder of Voctave, but he also sings and arranges each piece. He created the group in 2015 when he selected singers from Voices of Liberty, an a cappella group that performs in Disney’s Epcot, to sing through his first arrangement. As Ray gained more experience, the pieces improved and so did the group’s ratings. Ultimately, it was a recording of Voctave’s “Disney Love” medley with Pentatonix singer Kirstin Maldonado that sent the group to the top of the charts.
“We put that video out, it went viral and from that point on, it just kind exploded each time we posted. These performances have become more and more popular on social media, and that is how Voctave turned into what it is today.”
-Jamey Ray, Founder, Voctave
With that Disney medley, Voctave not only found its spark, but its niche. Between Facebook and YouTube, the Disney-themed performances have accumulated over 100 million views.
“We have people with infants who write us to tell how much even they love our music, but then we also have people in their teens, 20-somethings and up from there who love it, too,” Ray said. “Everyone at every age loves Disney. It is not like that when we do musical theater; that scope is a lot narrower.”
Ray found a balance between Broadway and Disney in Voctave’s 2017 album On the Corner of Broadway and Main Street. The group will perform select songs from that album Friday, June 29 as well as three patriotic pieces that they have never performed live: “The Star Spangled Banner,” a tribute to the armed forces and Donny Osmond’s “Last Full Measure of Devotion.”
Not only is this the first time those pieces will be performed live, it is also the first day the group will sing them together. Due to the schedules and responsibilities of each individual singer, Voctave is unable to hold any rehearsals separate from run-throughs before gigs and recording sessions. Although this is occasionally frustrating for Ray, he said it makes each gathering a cherishable experience.
“I always leave feeling so lucky that not only is everyone in the group crazy talented, but I love being around them, too.”
– Jamey Ray, Founder, Voctave
“They are also some of the funniest people I think I have ever met, so with all of them in the same room, my face ends up hurting by the end of the day,” Ray said.
In addition to providing comic relief, Ray said the group’s talent and dedication to music inspires the sound behind every note.
“I was a fan of all of their voices before this group existed — and I grew up actually watching a couple of them sing — so getting to work with them is kind of like if someone were to say ‘pick your dream cast of people,’ but then I actually got to do it,” Ray said. “I write the black dots, but they bring this all to life.”