BYU Vocal Point pays tribute in CNN performance to COVID-19 victims

Beatboxer Alex Brown started listening to a cappella music as a 3-year-old. In high school, he thought about eventually auditioning for Brigham Young University’s all-male a cappella group, Vocal Point.

To claim one of the group's coveted nine spots, Brown he started working on his beatboxing craft. “I make drum sounds with my mouth," explained Brown, a BYU sophomore from Cottonwood Heights, Utah.

He began rehearsing with the group only two days after returning from serving in the Indianapolis Indiana Mission.

“One of the coolest parts about being in Vocal Point is seeing the kind of reach we have outside the Church,” he said. “It reinforces to me the idea that ... if you are willing to sacrifice your time to help other people and to strengthen your talents, the Lord will use you in whatever way He sees best.”

CNN virtual performance

Vocal Point's reach outside the Church recently manifested itself in a virtual CNN musical tribute of the hymn “Be Thou My Vision." Their May 31 tribute to those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 generated over 187,000 Facebook views.

Said Jonathan Meyers, one of Vocal Point's baritones: "There are a lot of people that heard our music on CNN and other programs that likely will never see a Vocal Point show. … So the opportunity to share that on such a global scale was really cool for me."

“I have been so excited and so pleased that people have embraced what we do,” said Vocal Point’s director, McKay Crockett. Vocal Point members have long been advocates of living fun, exciting lives while still clinging to values and God, he said. 

From discouragement to success

A few years ago, Vocal Point signed a record deal with Universal Music Group (UMG), one of the largest music distributors in the world. But it wasn't a good fit, according to Crockett.

He said the deal hindered the group’s ability to fulfill its mission: “Enlighten the hearts and minds of those within the sound of our voice unto the filling of their souls with joy.”

BYU Vocal Point director McKay Crockett with his wife, Alyssa Crockett, and their two children. | Courtesy McKay Crockett

“I don’t know why it didn’t work out and why it was so frustrating,” said Crockett, who just celebrated eight years as Vocal Point’s director. “But I do know that Heavenly Father cares about what Vocal Point does.”

In the middle of BYU’s fall semester 2019, after they officially terminated their relationship with UMG, Vocal Point made plans for a Spring 2020 album, knowing the volunteer students had little time to accomplish the necessary work.

They started recording songs at the end of December 2019 and finished recording just weeks before the COVID-19 quarantine set in. They released the new album on May 22, 2020.

“The fact that we put together an entire album in just a few months is lightning speed compared to what we’re normally able to do with our student volunteers,” said Crockett. “I know for a fact that this wouldn’t have happened without some extra help.”

Being part of 'something bigger than just us'

Meyers testified of Heavenly Father's involvement in His children's lives: "He is so anxious to bless His children in any way that He can, even if it’s just through a YouTube video."

“As members of Vocal Point, we’re always trying to reach out and share our music with as many people as possible,” said Meyers, who just finished his first year in Vocal Point. “Especially with this recent pandemic, it’s been really important for us to share our music that is most uplifting and inspiring.”

“Being a part of Vocal Point has really driven home to me that I, and we — as collective members of the Church — are part of something so much bigger than just us," concluded Meyers.

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