Skip to main content

Jazz festival to feature Accent concert

A cappella singing group Accent performs on stage.

The South Dakota State University/Brookings Optimist Jazz Festival will host internationally acclaimed a cappella singing group Accent in a concert set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center. 

In the increasingly popular world of a cappella singing groups, Accent has carved out its own niche. Inspired by the wizardly jazz harmonies of Take 6 and, before them, The Hi-Lo’s, the six singers of Accent, all of them accomplished in their own right, are taking their love of close-harmony jazz singing — the denser and more intricate the better — as far as it can go. 

The improbable meeting of musicians from five different countries — Jean-Baptiste (“JB”) Craipeau (France), Simon Åkesson (Sweden), Danny Fong (Canada), Andrew Kesler (Canada), James Rose (England) and Evan Sanders (U.S.) — could have happened only in the age of social media. After becoming long-distance fans of each other’s multitracked videos on YouTube, they joined forces in 2011. 

Since then, they have released five albums, performed at the London A Cappella Festival, played dates all across Europe, North America and Asia, and were recently featured in two sold-out Christmas shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall. 

Tickets to the Accent concert are $10 for adults and free to students. For purchase, visit the SDSU Online Ticket Office or call the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center box office at 605-688-6045. 

The 19th annual SDSU/Brookings Optimist Jazz Festival will feature 40 instrumental and vocal ensembles registered from school across the region. 

Along with Accent, the guest artist for this year’s event will be Camille Thurman, a New York-based saxophonist and vocalist. Thurman will perform a concert at noon April 11 with the SDSU Jazz I ensemble, and Accent will present a vocal jazz masterclass for students. 

All festival events, except for the ticketed Accent concert, are free and open to the public.