AcoUstiKats finds their voice in variety


The Acoustikats sing the National Anthem at Memorial Coliseum on Friday, January 8, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Lydia Emeric | Staff 

Rebecca Watters

For students involved in the UK men’s chorus, under the direction of music professor Jefferson Johnson, broader opportunity exists: any male student who sings in the men’s choir can join UK’s AcoUstiKats, an all-male a capella group.

AcoUstiKats currently consists of 16 students, who auditioned to be members of the a capella group. Auditions are typically held in the fall of each school year. Depending on the openings in the spring semester, they may have auditions then as well.

The group performs and competes all over the state, and occasionally even travels outside of Kentucky.

“We do the majority of our performances throughout the semester along with school,” music education junior Dewey Jones said. “We have performed across the commonwealth and beyond from St. Louis to Central Tennessee. We typically perform about three to four times a month.”

Recently, the group performed for the first time in the International Championship of Collegiate A cappella (ICCA) and were awarded second place.  Aside from competing, the group enjoys performing for a variety of audiences.

“What’s awesome about this group is our versatility. For the most part we don’t compete, we just perform, which also includes Monday serenades for all the sororities on campus,” Jones said.

According to Jones, the main purpose of the group is to travel around Lexington and the surrounding area and to share the group’s talent and love of music and a capella.

“We travel the commonwealth performing for audiences of schools to the governor,” he said.

In the past, the group has performed for events such as the Governor Matt Bevin’s Prayer Breakfast in February and UK Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari’s birthday party.

As for style, the group sings many different genres of music. Typically their performances consist of a variety of songs ranging from mash-ups to singles. Past songs include “Back At One” by Brian McKnight, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, and “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.

“We sing so many different genres of music and we have way too much fun in rehearsal doing it,” music education junior Steven Olson said.

Each December, the group also composes a holiday arrangement, which is performed at the College of Fine Arts’ Annual Collage in the Singletary Center. The performance is a ticketed event and is open to the public.

For arts administration and integrated strategic communications junior Jacob Powell, meeting the governor was a highlight.

“It’s allowed me to develop a bond with 16 awesome guys for two and a half years. It also allows me to perform and meet so many great people including both previous governors, and yes, I have gotten pictures with both of them,” he said.

For others, their favorite part is being surrounded by a group of young men who are just as passionate about music as they are.

“I enjoy making actually making the music. I love it when we get an idea in rehearsal and all the guys get super excited about it,” Jones said.