The New York Polyphony will be returning to John Brown University on Saturday, Feb. 6 for a vocal performance in the Berry Performing Arts Center.
The New York Polyphony is a men’s a cappella quartet that has toured in Germany, the Netherlands, New York and the United Kingdom. The group has been nominated for two Grammys, both in Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
The Polyphony mostly performs classical works but is committed to bridging the gap between the past and present.
“Central to the group’s mission is commissioning works that explore the boundaries between ancient and modern music, bringing a unique sound and style to their performances,” according to a press release.
This is not the first time the Polyphony has performed at the University. They performed four years ago in the Berry Performing Arts Center, before they had become a Grammy-nominated group. Event director Jan Lauderdale recounted the story, “We had hired someone from their agency, which gave us the contact. Their star was on the rise at that point. We managed to get them at the right time.”
The New York Polyphony has received glowing reports from news outlets since appearing on the music scene in 2006. “The singing was never less than beautiful and sensitive to the rise and fall of phrases and crunches of harmony,” music critic Scott Cantrell said in the Dallas Morning News. Of their album released in 2013, music critic David Vernier of Classics Today said, “So far, the four men of New York Polyphony have maintained a standard of world-class performance and engaging programming.”
Luke Merrick, junior music major, is excited about the Polyphony’s presence on campus. “When I think ‘Polyphony’ I think about a lot of different sounds and voices going on at the same time, which is really interesting in an a cappella group,” Merrick said.
When asked about what students have to look forward to, Lauderdale did not hesitate to say, “The music. The music is the main thing. Their blend is incredible, you know. You hear them and the sound will just blow you away.”
The Polyphony’s schedule is packed. They will be in Siloam Springs just long enough to rehearse, perform and sign CDs. Then they will leave Saturday night to go to Omaha, Nebraska for a performance at 3 p.m.
Though their schedule is hectic, Lauderdale insisted they are personable.
“Last time they came they were able stay overnight and do a master class with the Cathedral choir. They can’t do that this time. A big part of that is that they were only able to come on Saturday and, of course, we don’t have classes on the weekend,” she said.
“They’re very entertaining; they’re each very personable guys. They’ll talk in between and explain what they’re getting ready to sing and what you need to listen for.”
The New York Polyphony is composed of Steven Caldicott Wilson as tenor, Geoffrey Williams as countertenor, Christopher Dylan Herbert as baritone and Craig Phillips as bass.
Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for students, and free for University students. They can be purchased online at www.jbu.edu/tickets or by calling the Berry Performing Arts Center at 479-524-7382. Reservations are recommended.