Christmas music has been a major part of Voctave’s career since its formation by Jamey Ray in 2015. It’s fitting the 11-person a cappella group’s first Ohio appearance, slated Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Victoria Theatre courtesy of Dayton Live, is a holiday show.
“All of the members of the group have been singing a cappella music for most of their careers,” Ray said. “Luckily, we’ve found places to do it year-round, but Christmas is definitely a time when people want to hear a lot of this music. The very first recordings we ever did as a group were two Christmas pieces. Our very first album and very first concert were both Christmas too so it’s kind of what helped us get started.”
Regular holiday rotation
Voctave’s dedication to Christmas songs has made its music an annual holiday tradition for many families. The group’s 2021 album, “Spirit of the Season: Deluxe Edition,” reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts.
“It’s nice because there are people that have been listening to us for six or seven years and now, we’re finally in their city,” Ray said. “When they come to our show and we start that song they’ve been listening to for the last six or seven years, you hear the audience audibly react to the songs they recognize and are excited to hear, which is nice for us. It’s also super exciting to have people that make us part of their Christmas playlist get to hear it live for the first time.”
Voctave started this holiday tour on November 27.
“That was kind of our break into Christmas, so it was a little bit of a mixture,” Ray said. “It was half of our non-Christmas show and half of our Christmas show. Then, we did our first full Christmas show in South Carolina on December 1 and we’ve been going with all of our Christmas stuff since then, which is great.”
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Big voices, new territory
The group is from Orlando. By design, they’re bigger than most a cappella acts.
“The group we were used to singing with was a very wide range group,” Ray said. “It had very high sopranos and high tenors and very low altos and basses. To fill the gaps in between, you’ve got to have a number of people. As the person who does the writing, it’s nice because I’ve got 11 singers. I’ve got five women and six men so I can have a solo or duet step out and have a whole group behind them. What people really like about our sound is the extremes. In order to have the extremes, we’ve got to fill in the stuff in the middle to make it sound right. That gives me all the range and color, which is very nice.”
The Dayton concert is just one of many upcoming Voctave dates in new markets.
“What’s nice is we’re adding new states and going to different cities so we’re going to have a lot of new audiences,” Ray said. “We’re trying to expand our audience. We’ve got two stops in Missouri we’ve never been to. We’ll be in Washington state and Chicago, (which) we’ve never been to. So, it’s nice to bring the songs we’ve done for a number of years to a completely new audience.”
A little night music
Voctave’s latest album is “Goodnight, My Someone,” a collection of lullabies.
“We get messages from parents that calm their toddlers down by listening to Voctave music,” Ray said. “That’s why we came up with the brand new lullaby album specifically geared toward some of our younger audience that enjoys listening to us as they fall asleep.”
While the vocal group’s repertoire leans toward lullabies, Disney tunes and holiday favorites, Voctave is not a kids act.
“A cappella music is definitely a very niche market,” Ray said. “There are some people that love it and some that don’t but we’re very thankful our music appeals to a wide audience. There are people in their 20s and in their 50s, and up to their 80s and 90s, that really appreciate the music. It’s surprising but rewarding for us to hear how much our music has really touched or moved people, (which) is by far the most rewarding experience of our tours.”
Once this holiday tour ends, the focus of Ray and the other singers turns to 2023 with the promise of new music and more new markets.
“We’ve got spring tour dates coming up,” Ray said. “We’ve got a lot of different cities and new states we’ll be adding in the next six months. We plan to do some more recording. I’m going to be doing a lot of writing so hopefully there will be some new music out within the next six months. Fitting that in between these will be fun. We’ll rest and then run to the studio and keep the cycle going.”
Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at email@example.com.
HOW TO GO
Where: Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St., Dayton
When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
More info: 937-228-3630 or www.daytonlive.org
Artist info: voctave.net
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