Rockapella leads off new On Stage at Kingsborough season

Brooklyn will be rocking out to Rockapella!

On Stage at Kingsborough is starting its 2016-2017 season with a huge bang as the renowned group Rockapella will lead off the series with The HITS Show: A Journey Through the Decades.

The band, which started in the early 1980s and has changed members throughout the decades, has proven its longevity.

After several performances on public television, including a Spike Lee special, appearances in Japan, and a long stint on popular kids’ game show “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego,” the group’s popularity grew, especially with young audiences.

“Anyone in a cappella said that television was the way to go because back then; there was no web to speak of,” said Jeff Thacher of Rockapella. “TV was so important and Rockapella ran with that. We were offered kid’s record deals. It became this kids’ phenom.  The record industry wasn’t game to promote a cappella as it is now, an adult group.”

Thacher, who joined the group in the middle of its five-year run with “Carmen San Diego,” went from doing mouth drums to gradually becoming a full time beat boxer. He is pleased with the progression of both the band and the genre.

“Decades later, Rockapella has become a widely popular act for kids and adults,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine now, but back then the thought of a cappella had a cheesy element to it. It had barbershop stigma and didn’t have the impactful energy that you can get out of it now.”

Other bands like Take 6 also helped spur the movement. “When Rockapella jumped into television, it quickly spread,” Thacher said. “We are fortunate to be able to be a part of those different eras and now, we’ve never sounded better.”

Photo by Ross Leung

The group attributes its lengthy success to trying new things. “We’re always keeping it fresh. We don’t get lazy and don’t rest on our laurels,” Thacher said. “We always keep reinventing ourselves. A lot of bands break up in five years at most. It’s a testament to how we present what we do that we put fun and love into it and hold ourselves to high standards. When someone leaves, we try to take a step forward.”

Thacher and company are excited to return to perform in Brooklyn.  “The root of Rockapella is New York. We started on the streets there,” he said. “We used to perform on street corners on Columbus Avenue and in smaller clubs and private parties,” he said, adding that being a part of On Stage at Kingsborough will be an exciting moment for the entire band. “This is a sweet venue. It’s the most actively growing part of the city. Brooklyn is in its prime.”

The band will cover hit songs from legendary artists such as the Beatles, Elvis, the Beach Boys, Billy Joel, the Rolling Stones, Elton John, the Bee Gees, Earth Wind & Fire, and Michael Jackson.

“We prefer to reinvent cover songs and not just do it verbatim or copy  it,” he said. “We take pride in taking older and newer songs and putting our spin on it.”

Anna Becker, executive director of On Stage at Kingsborough, is excited to have the group lead off the series. “What really delights me about Rockapella opening our season is that they create such a high-energy show,” she said. “They’re an incredibly accomplished vocal group and are great entertainers too. It’s like a big vocal party to start the season on a high note. It’s a great beacon for the rest of our season.”

“Because the show covers the hits from the 50s on up to today, there’s something for everyone,” she added. “Our core audience will be thrilled to re-live their favorite songs through Rockapella’s new renditions, and young folks – even though they may not have experienced it first-hand – love the music of Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys, and so many more classic bands that Rockapella will celebrate.”

Rockapella The HITS Show: A Journey Through the Decades will take place on Saturday, September 24 at 8 p.m.  at 2001 Oriental Boulevard. Tickets start at $32. For more information, visit

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