MAMARONECK, N.Y. - Before "boy bands" there were acapella groups, said Scott Leonard, songwriter for Rockapella, who will play two shows at the Emelin Theater Saturday.
Scott and the boys have ridden, and at times spawned the trends with shows like "Glee" and movies like "Pitch Perfect."
"We spawned these boy bands," he said. "Then it went away. Then 'Glee' came up."
Their voices give shape to some of the more popular commercial jingles for companies like Taco Bell, Budweiser and Foldgers Coffee. "The best part of waking up," is Rockapella's voices stuck in your head. Then there is the five years and seven seasons they were the house band for the PBS show "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego."
"Rockapella started on the streets of New York City, 76th and Columbus, putting the hat out," Leonard told The Mamaroneck Daily Voice. "People started throwing money in the hat and we would get Chinese food with the quarters."
The group started as a "comedy act with a schtick" in the late 1980s. It then began lending its harmonies to parties, bar mitzvahs and comedy clubs.
"Somehow PBS got wind of us," Leonard said.
At the time, Scott said acapella was still an ivy league phenomena. Now, you see them at colleges across the nation.
Rockapella has released more than 20 records, including originals written by Leonard and their most recent, "Motown and More." Their live show now has a Motown theme.
"We do this original take on music," Leonard said. "If you do music that people know and love and have a connection to, they respond. Motown is similar. People love that. If you put that Rockapella spin on it, it's a good match."
The Emelin audience can expect all the funk, groove, staging and choreography of the Jackson 5 and The Temptations with the acapella band's signature touch.
"We've played Emelin several times. It's such an intimate setting," Leonard said.
They have also played Madison Square Garden with Billy Joel, the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and ridden in the Macy's Day Parade in Manhattan alongside - you guessed it - 'N Sync.
One lucky Daily Voice reader won two tickets to the show by correctly answering a Rockapella trivia questions for our Facebook contest.
Rockapella plays the Emelin at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $47 for both shows and can be purchased online.
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