You’ve seen them on TV; now see them live and in person.
The Cat’s Pajamas Vocal Band brings their a cappella show to North Central College in Naperville for an 8 p.m. show Feb. 1.
The powerhouse vocal group formed in 2005 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their first performance was for an Oreo Cookie jingle competition, where they finished among the top 10 finalists in the country.
From there, the group entertained Norwegian Cruise Lines passengers for 40 weeks a year from 2007 to 2009. In 2011, The Cat’s Pajamas went national when it performed on the NBC show “The Sing Off,” and later, FOX’s “Next Great American Band” and NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” where it finished in the top 30 groups.
The band performs at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, Mo., 10 months a year in addition to performing at fine arts centers, casinos, high schools and colleges around the country.
“It’s a high-energy, a cappella show,” said founding member Brian Skinner. “We like to call ourselves a vocal band, being more band without a band. We create all the instruments … with a microphone and our mouths.
“We do all different types of songs, all different styles, all different genres,” he said. “We do stuff everybody’s going to know — ’50s, ’60s and ’70s is the bulk of what we do. We pick songs the majority of any audience is going to recognize.”
The most common thing he hears after a show is: “How do you guys keep up that energy for 90 minutes?”
The act includes lots of choreography, beat boxing, jumping around and constant motion, he said. New additions are constantly being added to the set list as well.
“Just last year we added some Michael Buble, for instance,” he said. “That’s a great artist who transcends generations. Everybody likes him. He does some old covers and some newer stuff. It works well. We’re always changing the show and adding new songs and new choreography.”
The band consists of Skinner on beat-bass, high tenor Donovan Germain, lead tenor Joshua David Evans, baritone Liam Ryan and low tenor Michael Samsky.
“It’s a high-energy a cappella show. You won’t see what you’re hearing,” said Ryan.
“We like to interact with the crowd and make sure the audience is having fun along with us,” Skinner said.
One of the most rewarding parts of the band is their involvement in the Music In Schools fundraising program. Each year they perform at about 25 schools nationwide to get students excited about singing and beat-boxing and a cappella. They’ve raised more than $70,000 for arts programs around the country in the last seven years.
Coming up, the band will be in Branson, Mo., for most of the year; during the summer months they will perform at a resort in Atlantic City.