ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s music director Joshua Habermann called his good friend from childhood, music producer and singer Deke Sharon, when the chorale thought about creating a professional contemporary a capella ensemble.
“There are many great singers out there, but not that many great a capella singers,” explained Sharon by phone from Los Angeles. “They’re a true rarity. An a capella singer has to have character and charisma but also be able to shift into a team player. Picking eight great a capella singers for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s new group Voasis was like picking a U.S. Olympic basketball team.”
Voasis makes its debut in Santa Fe during six performances at Warehouse 21’s Black Box Theater from Dec. 28 through 31 in a program called “In the Midnight Hour.” The four female and four male singers who comprise the group are among the best singers in Los Angeles, Sharon says.
“I fully expected that when I called these singers only some of them would be interested in being part of this new Santa Fe Desert Chorale ensemble and I would have to put out an open call,” Sharon added. “But all my first choices said yes to me.”
Sharon’s singers have done studio work, appeared in major films and television shows and gone on tour with some of the world’s best known musicians. They include Greg Jasperse, whose voice can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks including “Star Trek,” “Oz, The Great and Powerful” and “Epic,” and Laura Dickinson, who has done extensive work for the Disney Channel and is the singing voice of Tori Spelling’s “Pirate Princess.” “I wanted versatile, mature singers, and that’s what I got,” Sharon said.
Sharon knows the voice inside and out. An accomplished singer who has shared the stage with music legends such as Ray Charles, James Brown and Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sharon is also one of the producers of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” and the Hollywood musical comedy “Pitch Perfect.”
“I’ve put together a program for Voasis of pop and standard favorites, from Frank Sinatra songs to contemporary tunes,” he said. “When I started throwing arrangements at the singers, many of them asked me if we could make the arrangements harder. They asked me to give them more. The concert is going to be like vocal pyrotechnics.”
Sharon, who has arranged more than 2,000 songs for a capella ensembles, created many of the arrangements for “In the Midnight Hour.” Some of the songs were number-one hits in their day, while other tunes are more obscure. Voasis performs “Working Day and Night” by Michael Jackson and “Some Nights” by recent Grammy winner Fun. along with Dizzie Gillespie classics.