Popular Christian vocal group 'Acappella' relocating to OC
Oklahoma Christian University (OC) has reached an agreement with the Acappella Company that will move members of the popular Christian vocal group, Acappella, to the OC campus this fall. The company's headquarters will remain in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
Dr. Mike O'Neal, president of OC, said the goal of the partnership is "to promote the beauty and spiritual merit of a cappella music." The agreement with Acappella provides significant benefits to both parties.
"Many of the talented young people who have been a part of Acappella over the years have had to put their college education on hold because of the group's busy schedule and extensive travel," he said. "We are providing scholarships to the members of the group. Though Acappella will remain independent of the university, their presence on our campus will result in much goodwill toward Oklahoma Christian as they minister throughout the world."
Keith Lancaster, founder of Acappella and CEO of the Acappella Company, said, "Never before has the need to celebrate and strengthen the wonderful heritage of a cappella singing been greater. Along with the international concert ministry, Acappella will be mobilizing to lead worship for youth events as well as training and developing a cappella worship leaders. We are energized by Dr. O'Neal's vision and foresight as he leads Oklahoma Christian to be an ever greater source of strength to equip the local church. Acappella Ministries is honored to be included in this mission."
Lancaster - songwriter, producer and original lead singer - started Acappella in 1982 with a mission to communicate Gospel truths through music. Acappella's fan base steadily grew through the 1980s as the group experienced many lineup changes and constantly experimented with fresh new sounds. The landmark album, Sweet Fellowship (1988), ushered in one of the most significant developments in the group's membership and style. Lancaster stepped out of the group as lead singer to focus on the role of producer and manager. The group continued to evolve after that, developing a unique sound that has been mimicked by countless groups around the world.
Signed to Word Records in 1990 (and later to Epic Records), Acappella's popularity soared with releases such as Rescue, We Have Seen His Glory and Set Me Free. Media exposure included numerous television appearances, while the song "More Precious Than Gold" became the centerpiece of a Sony Camcorder television commercial. Another project, Hymns For All The World, helped to increase the group's exposure internationally as the group's overseas tours increased. The universal reception of Acappella's sound is now popular from Brazil to Japan; from Switzerland to Australia. Acappella's new project, Find Your Way, is the first for the quintet since their last release of three years ago, Radiance.
Five young men - Allen Brantley, Robin Brannon, Zac George, Anthony Lancaster (Keith's son) and Zach Wilson - continue Acappella's work today in concerts all over the world. When Acappella relocates to Oklahoma City in August, Brantley will hand the bass singer baton to Wes McKinzie, who previously toured for seven years with another Acappella Company group, AVB. McKinzie, who is OC's associate director of marketing services, will join Acappella while retaining his current position at Oklahoma Christian.
This official partnership builds on a long history between Oklahoma Christian and Acappella. Thirteen former or current OC students have served with the Acappella Company through the years: Brantley, Rodney Britt, Luke Coles, Will Coleson, Zac George, Michael Forehand, Steve Maxwell, McKinzie, Robert Orr, Max Plaster, Chet Sweet, Denise Sweet and Bret Testerman.
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