The internationally acclaimed all-vocal rock band from Boulder, Colorado FACE, is kicking off the holiday season with a unique family-friendly brand of all-vocal rock at The Lincoln Center on Black Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. FACE blends modern tunes with an eclectic mix of harmonies, beatbox, and vocal audacity. Embracing fun and joy within their performance.
Face consists of four singers – tenors Ryan Driver and Cody Qualls, baritone/countertenor Stephen Ross, bass Forest Kelly – and “vocal drummer” Mark Megibow.
The band formed over 17 years ago when four a cappella singers from CU Boulder and a drummer from Kansas united around their one common interest, singing in an a cappella group.
Drummer Mark Megibow explains how it emerged, “We have kind of similar backgrounds in that we all were involved with music and some way shape or form. FACE is all of our second music career. We all agreed this group could be cool if we took it in a different direction than traditional barbershop quartets and mainstream a cappella groups. We wanted it to be more like a true rock band and less like a glee club.” FACE makes a whole entirely different sound than expected from a vocal band. They coined the term phrase to the All Vocal Rock Band.
Mark has a unique role as an all-vocal drummer, which blends his love for percussion and singing into one. “I love to sing, but my background is in percussion. I’ve always been a drummer since I was very young. When we decided we wanted this band would rock out, I’m like well rock bands have drummers. So I’ll be the drummer, right?”
Their early gigs were at the Boulder Farmers Market busking on Pearl Street Mall for tips. They were lucky if they got enough money to get a snack. From the very beginning, whenever they played, they attracted a crowd that clung to the harmonies and remastered version of choral discourse. They traveled to Monday night a cappella shows in Denver and opened for some of the more prominent groups in the region. People were noticing. People were listening. People were talking. They built their band’s following grassroots style. They used email lists and communicated directly with fans to spread the word. Pretty soon, they had a regular crowd. The attention landed them a spot in 2009 on NBC’s, The Sing-Off. They were on Season 1 of the reality show.
Mark describes the experience, “We were the first group to get cut from The Sing-Off, which we take as a badge of honor because no one can ever take that away from us. Coming into The Sing-Off, we had done about 400 shows in the first nine years. After that, we did double our shows each year until one day; we realized we wanted to commit our lives to music. We all quit our regular 9-5 careers and dove into full-time music.” The genre was in the mainstream. There was a rise in a cappella groups stemming from the TV show Glee, The Sing-Off and the Pitch Perfect movies. That only helped them grow.
FACE did all the behind the scenes stuff from booking to marketing and even social media.
“We’re all professionals. We all care a lot about getting better, and we all care about the audience. It was about three years ago, maybe four that we started doing over a hundred shows a year, and at that point, we realized we’d got gotten so busy we had to make some changes. We hired a professional manager. We started traveling internationally. Our first time we went to Europe was in 2015. We’ve been to Sweden in particular about every 18 months. It’s become a great destination for us. We were just in Australia earlier this year, and we play coast to coast, so it’s become just this amazing thing.” They are an international band, but they are still playing local and devoted to their Colorado roots.
They crowdfunded many projects, and their fans are the reason they get to travel and make more music. They are always giving back. FACE devotes as much time to support music education as they do produce their own works.
Mark says the fans are what fuel them, “Something extraordinary happens on our stage, and it’s hard to explain. Our fans say we’re a lot more than just entertainment. Our shows a lot of fun, and everybody walks out with a smile on their face. But even more, than that, people are uplifted, and people are inspired. We have people tell us that they are going to pick up that paintbrush again, pick up the camera again, or pick it up that book idea that they had. It has really become more of a message, you know, the story of just some guys who are passionate about what they do. They did just because they love it, but now they’re making a difference. What if I chose to do that? What if I decide to follow my passion what kind of difference can I make in this world? You know, and it’s become pretty remarkable. We’ve got our particular talent, and everybody does. But why it what does that burn inside everybody? Why does everyone have that burn? I’ve come to believe that it’s not for themselves. I’ve been called to do this. I don’t know why but if someone’s got a burn inside of them, it may be the reason. They are here. They shouldn’t ignore it.”
Education Outreach is essential to the band. They remember coming up from school music programs and how important it was to have a creative outlet growing up. Every school year, they visit between 12 and 15 schools across the country. They work with kids during the day in choir class and culminate in an evening fundraising concert. They do one big fundraising concert every year. In the summer of 2017, they got the opportunity to headline Red Rocks, a real dream for the Colorado Born band. $5 of every ticket sold went to a fund-supplying grant to music education programs in Colorado schools. The grants are available through the Colorado State Department of Education in this 2017-18 school year. So far, the band has raised over $30,000.
They had two online competitions – a choir challenge and a local band challenge to find more local artists to join them on stage. The choirs were all selected from audition videos to ultimately build a mass choir of over 200 singers from 14 different local choirs that sang with Face for a few songs.
FACE has a Patron page to fund marketing and outreach and developing higher quality music videos. They will collaborate with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver in the spring, and they are working with the Royal Caribbean cruise line for a Caribbean cruise that leaves out of Florida in January.
The Black Friday show at the Lincoln Center will be a fun way to kick off the holiday season. FACE plans to play all their holiday tune arrangements along with traditional tunes and classic Christmas songs.
The show will be at 7 pm on November 23rd. Tickets are available at lctix.com.