By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor
BIG SKY – On Jan. 17, Take 6 will bring its award-winning vocal sound to the stage at Big Sky’s Warren Miller Performing Arts Center. With 10 Grammys, 10 Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, and a 2014 induction in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Take 6 is the most decorated a cappella group in history.
The group performed with Stevie Wonder at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo. and sang to more than 200,000 people during a 1991 Billy Graham rally in New York’s Central Park. Last year, Take 6 celebrated their 25th anniversary with a world tour that took them to Asia, Australia, South America, and throughout Europe and the U.S. They’ll kick off 2015’s touring schedule in WMPAC’s 280-seat theater.
“Take 6 are really icons and by far our biggest act [to date],” said WMPAC Artistic Director John Zirkle. “Anyone in the room will be amazed how six voices can come together like this. In our second season we have realized the dream of bringing in world class acts.”
Zirkle saw the group on a list of artists represented by the Agency of the Performing Arts last February, and called APA immediately.
“I’ve had an artistic crush on them since college,” Zirkle said. “I was in an a cappella group and we tried to do one of their arrangements, and failed miserably … They have outrageous range [and] sustained, complex harmonies.”
Take 6 achieves this excellence by relying on their well-trained ears to sing in harmony and by training their voices like professional athletes train their bodies, according to founder Claude McKnight.
“I think for anybody who sings a cappella, it’s important to make sure your ears are in tune with everybody else, not just your voice,” McKnight said in a phone interview.
“Our voices are our instruments,” he added. “However the body feels is how the voice feels, so you need to be in good shape … it’s just like lifting weights in the sense that you train and work [your voice] out during rehearsal so you know what you have every night.”
This will be Take 6’s first performance in Montana, though McKnight was in the state over the holidays, visiting his daughter who lives in Billings.
McKnight said concert-goers at the WMPAC show can expect a few of the group’s classics, including “Oh, Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “Spread Love,” and “Windmills of Your Mind.”
“Our niche is diverse programming,” Zirkle said, noting Take 6 fits into the “play” role of WMPAC’s “move, speak, play” artistic business model.
“I’m thrilled it’s going to work out,” he said. “It’s been a dream to see these guys live.”
At press time, Jan. 7, there were seven seats left for the Take 6 show. Visit warrenmillerpac.org to purchase tickets and to see a full schedule of events. WMPAC is able to bring Take 6 to Big Sky with the support of Bozeman Deaconess Health Services.