JukeVox returns to live performance

Following three years of cancellations and virtual performances due to COVID-19, Virginia Wesleyan University’s top chamber ensemble, Vox Vera, will finally return to live performance on April 9. The choir, conducted by Director of Choral Activities Dr. Bryson Mortensen, will host “JukeVox” at 7 p.m. in the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center to end Spring Alumni Weekend.

This year’s JukeVox will mark its fourth appearance at VWU, but only its second live presentation.

“It makes such a difference for us to be able to perform for a live audience,” Mortensen said. “We get to feel the energy of the audience responding to the songs, and we even get a few opportunities to interact with them.”

The idea of a concert like JukeVox came to Mortensen right before COVID-19 shut everything down, so the event never really got the chance to appear in front of an audience.

“Several years ago, when we had first organized Vox Vera as a small group that would perform a wide variety of contemporary music, I envisioned a concert like this, where it would feel like what you often get from a jukebox in a classic diner when everyone pays a nickel to hear their favorite song,” Mortensen said. 

The group performing at JukeVox, Vox Vera, is made up of a variety of VWU students. Seven of the 12 students are majoring in music. The other five plan to major in fields such as theatre, psychology, computer science and engineering.

With a diverse group of singers, the concert will present a variation of music genres. 

“There will be a song or two by two popular a capella groups, The Real Group and Pentatonix,” Mortensen said. “We’ll also be singing arrangements of songs by The Beatles and Switchfoot, songs from musicals like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Guys and Dolls” and a bunch of jazz favorites by greats like George Gershwin and Frank Loesser.”

Mortensen, along with the rest of Vox Vera, is beyond ready to return to in-person performances and cannot wait to kick it off with JukeVox. 

Prior to the main event, Vox Vera is presenting a short preview concert on the lawn in front of Brock Commons at 6:30 p.m. on April 8. All members of VWU are encouraged to attend both events to listen to some good music and support their fellow Marlins.

Carey Seay