Take 6, the a cappella vocal group that’s won more awards than any other in history, will perform one show Saturday evening at Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre.
With 10 Grammy Awards, 10 Dove awards, a Soul Train award and more, the group is celebrating its 25th anniversary as the quintessential vocal sextet, dubbed the “baddest vocal cats on the planet” by Quincy Jones. Saturday’s concert at VLA combines the singers’ spiritual roots, jazz rhythms, R&B stylings and pop influences for what’s been called the “Take 6 phenomenon.”
The longevity and success of the group may lie in simple values: faith, friendship, respect and love of music. Starting at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala., in 1980, the singers signed with Reprise/Warner Bros. in 1987, adopting the name Take 6.
Their self-titled debut CD won over jazz and pop critics, earned two 1988 Grammy awards, made the Top Ten on Billboard jazz and Christian charts — and they’ve never slowed down.
“It’s wonderful, Christian-based entertainment,” said Donna Connell, a member of the VLA executive board. “Take 6 sings some contemporary songs, too. And they throw in all this stuff — they make percussion sounds with their mouth — it’s just a wonderful show.”
Connell said the nonprofit’s goal to “bring in different types of events for the community — concert events — to attract a younger audience,” was at the heart of her efforts to book Take 6 at the theater. “We want the new generation. Fort Hood and all the military folks are what we need to add to our core audience.”
Artists including Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, k.d. lang and CeCe Winans have collaborated with the sextet, which is based in Nashville, Tenn. Their gospel chops come naturally: all original members were raised in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The current tour combines church gigs, concert halls and college dates across North America.
Take 6 was recently inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame, and charter member Claude McKnight was vive les arts theatreelated. “It’s an incredible honor, and one that you never really think about until it happens.”
The singing sextet’s big upcoming project is a twofer: the re-release of the Take 6 debut album as a special 25-year tribute CD, and a duets recording with guest artists.