Home > “Rockapella” An Interview with Scott Leonard, a Founding Member (at Proctors, Oct. 30)
“Rockapella” An Interview with Scott Leonard, a Founding Member (at Proctors, Oct. 30)

Short Description of “Rockapella” An Interview with Scott Leonard, a Founding Member (at Proctors, Oct. 30)

"Rockapella" is coming to Proctors October 30th. Intrigued by this International Motown sensation that uses voices as instruments, we caught up with founding member Scott Leonard.


Where:Proctors, State Street, Schenectady (http://proctors.org)


When: October 30th


We have all seen some great street shows in NYC. The crowds form on the sidewalk, we throw some money in the basket and say, “Wow, those guys should be on t.v.!”


This was Rockapella back in 1989. Yes, for all I know, I may have stumbled upon them myself. You probably know them, too, but never knew it. “The best part of waking up, is Folgers in a cup.” Who old enough doesn't remember that jingle!




Enter, Rockapella, a five man group that has grown from the streets of New York to becoming an International Motown sensation. Besides great voices and fantastic harmony, they have a schtick second to none: They are completely instrument free, recreating all the instruments they need with their voices.


What is it like playing on the streets of New York?


“A lot of fun,” says Scott Leonard of Rockapella. “We actually played on 56th and Columbus Circle, because that was where the music executives would come out of their offices. We wanted to get noticed, and we did. First, Japan caught onto us—they never saw a band with no instruments! We make all our noises with our mouths. They thought there was a 20-piece band behind the curtain but there wasn't!



“Thereafter, PBS caught onto Rockapella with the show 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego'. We were also picked up by the Comedy Club. One key aspect of street playing transcends people throwing money into the basket. They also throw business cards into the basket to do parties!”


This all lead, of course, to an appearance with Jay Leno on the Tonight Show.


“We always had to find our way to the music companies through the back door,” Leonard continues. You have to think differently, do something different than anyone else. For us, the beginning came with the Folger's commercial. It was a very popular jingle that took off immediately.”


“Did you have an idol growing up?”, I asked.


Without hesitation, Leonard responds, “Stevie Wonder.” And a favorite song? “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” Yes, the genre here is Motown, that music that touches our heart and soul like no other, and you will hear it like you have never before.


The songs are not identical to the originals, however. “We like our own approach so it's not just the same thing as the original. Our approach, our accumulation of talent, and our arrangement allows something fresh and unique. We have group sing, bass, melody and drums—but remember it's just our voices! You can't tell there is no band. In fact, we even show the audience how to make the noises themselves!”


This is a 100% family-friendly show, and they are at Proctors (proctors.org) October 30th. This sounds like a guaranteed good time to hear some of the best in Motown. “The audience always has a blast,” Leonard says.


--Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend.com


Contact Information

Address: State Street Schenectady

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