PROVO — McKay Crockett, a four-year member of BYU's Vocal Point a cappella group, says the opportunity to be on "The Sing Off" has given the group a chance to spread a positive message about the LDS Church.
"There's a lot of press right now about Mormons. This was a good opportunity to show people Mormons are normal people, people who can have fun," Crockett said. "Faith and fun can mix. We believe in having fun and we get to show that."
The all-male singing sensation from BYU is one of 16 groups chosen to compete on NBC's "The Sing Off," premiering its third season Monday at 7 p.m.
Crockett says the preparation required takes what is usually a six- to eight-hour rehearsal week into a rigourous 24/7 grind.
The men in the group are also full-time students so it's demanding to participate in something like the television show. But Crockett says it's worth the sacrifice.
Vocal Point members sent in an audition tape in the spring of 2011, were accepted and started taping for the show in Los Angeles in the early summer.
Monday, the nine-man a cappella group has the chance to show what it can do musically before a national television audience and win a $100,000 prize, plus a Sony recording contract.
Crockett said he can't reveal the songs they chose to perform but he can say there is a definite Vocal Point fingerprint on every number.
Vocal Point, directed by James Stevens, currently includes Crockett, Jake Hunsaker, Keith Evens, Tanner Nilsson, Tyler Sterling, Ben Murphy, Ross Welch, Tyler Christensen and Robert Seely. They will strut their stuff before judges Ben Folds, Shawn Stockman and Sara Bareilles, who will send several groups home each week.
In the final round on Nov. 28, the final three groups will be presented and subject to voting from the viewing public. Phone votes will choose the winner.
Vocal Point was started in 1991 by Bob Ahlander and Dave Boyce and recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
Vocal Point has twice won the regional semifinals for the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. The group was named the collegiate champion in 2006.
The singers have performed the national anthem at many Utah Jazz games and other venues, and they consistently sell out concerts in the de Jong Concert Hall on the Provo campus.
In 2006, also under the direction of Stevens, the performing group took home three Pearl Awards from the Faith Centered Music Association for Best Sacred Recorded Song of the Year, Best Group Recording Artist of the Year and Best Performing Artist of the Year.
Their approach to music involves taking a song, retooling it and delivering a fresh "voices-only" rendition.
For more of the group's history, see: http://www.byuvocalpoint.com/.
Because of the group's involvement in "The Sing Off," the fall audition date for new members has been postponed.
"It's been an amazing opportunity," Crockett said. "It's been a dream come true. Our goal is always to make people feel joy and happiness, and our hard work and dedication really paid off well."
BYU's Noteworthy women's a cappella group was part of "The Sing Off" season-one competition — one of eight groups to perform before an audience of 6.9 million viewers.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 30 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.