It’s been 30 years since Keith Lancaster formed the harmonizing quartet known as Acappella.
Lancaster, 55, is preparing to take the Christian recording group’s fans down memory lane with an Acappella 30th Anniversary Concert set for 8 p.m. Oct. 7 at Oklahoma Christian University, 2501 E Memorial Road.
The free event will be in the Hardeman Auditorium. It is part of the university’s annual Lectureship .
In a recent telephone interview, Lancaster talked about founding the group:
Q: What made you decide you wanted to form a group?
A: I’ve always been fascinated with harmony and hearing voices blended together so I wanted to start a group.
Q: How did you get started?
A: Going to certain big events and conventions, I would go and find people who also liked singing. It’s a challenge to find the right people because sometimes the schedule can be hectic, and there’s a lot of work involved. A lot of people see the glamour on stage, and they don’t realize all the work involved.
Q: What kind of challenges did you face?
A: It was really a fun challenge to see what we could do without a bass guitar, without other instruments. To get the trademark sound, we really work to get those harmonies to be stellar. That starts from the audition process. I can really relate to “The Voice” (reality TV show) because you are just hearing someone’s voice. Being an a cappella group, that’s all you have is the voices. And it’s not just about the solo voices; it’s about the blend of voices. There were some difficulties and challenges getting started, and there were plenty of reasons to quit, but things kept happening around the corner.
Q: What made you stick with it?
A: Primarily, the feedback from the audiences. We started to realize the kind of impact music can have on people’s lives. They liked the sound and the harmonies. We would do all the preparations for the tours, and once we got on stage, we would see people’s reactions. It motivated us.
Q: You come from a Church of Christ background. I know most Church of Christ churches do not use musical instruments during worship services. Did coming from that background help you?
A: That was my church heritage — an a cappella heritage. I was surrounded by it all the time, so you recognize all the harmonies.
Q: How did you find that first group?
A: I grew up in Tennessee, and I would travel to different events. I found 75 percent of the first Acappella at the Tulsa Fairgrounds.
Q: What is Acappella like now?
A: We have a group that has a fabulous sound, and they really do our whole a cappella sound proud. They’re bringing that to a whole new generation. My son, Anthony Lancaster, who is a student at OC, is part of the current group.
Q: What can you tell about the upcoming concert?
A: It will include the current Acappella group and people who have been part of the group over the years. We call them “Acappella Classic.” We have guys coming in from places like Texas, California and Tennessee. It’s going to be a great time.