FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The annual VoiceJam A Cappella Festival is returning to the Walton Arts Center next month and in addition to bringing a new local acapella group, there will be opportunities to learn more about the art form.

Members of the first “WACappella ensemble” were announced Wednesday. The 14 local singers and one vocal percussionist will perform while the judges deliberate during the competition on Saturday, April 15.

Local participants are Jennifer Bray, Edward Mountz and Allison Earhart from Bentonville; Alex Fry and Elizabeth Rogers from Bella Vista;  Dekarius Dawson, De’Von Smith, Diane Higgins, Henry Aggus and Kate Jackson from Fayetteville; Erick Amaya from Fort Smith; Reagan Wray from Rogers; and Kendal Strong and Alex Franco from Springdale.

“We are so excited to showcase these local singers and vocal percussionist in WACappella,” said Sara Broom Jones, learning programs and festivals specialist. “There is a lot of talent in NWA, and it’s great to be able to give our adult-age performers the opportunity to shine. It is important to me to create a platform that provides a creative outlet, space to foster new friendships, and a big stage to sing in the spotlight!” 

For those interested in learning more about the craft, acapella workshops will be held throughout the weekend and are taught by Grammy-winning artists. Arkansas teachers may receive up to seven professional development hours for attending these sessions, according to the WAC.

The schedule is as follows:

9 a.m. 

  • Getting’ In the Groove with Ed Chung and David Lane from Duwendé 
  • Rehearsal Techniques with Rob Dietz 

10 a.m.  

  • BodyMusic with Gabriel Hahn 
  • Singing with Soul with Jeffrey Murdock 

11 a.m. 

  • All for One: Ensemble Arranging with Abbey Janes and Tomás Cruz from Duwendé 
  • Music of the Bunun with Christine Liu 


  • Let It Out: Personality and Performance Practices with Aaron Boykin and Derrick Leonárd from Duwendé 
  • Optimize your Arrangements with Rob Dietz 

2 p.m.  

  • Advanced Vocal Drumming with Rob Dietz 

3 p.m.  

  • A Cappella 101 with Rob Dietz 

A workshop pass can be purchased for $10.

The festival kicks off at 8 pm, Friday, April 14, with professional headliner Duwendé, an award-winning ensemble known for their upbeat, electrifying bass-and-beatbox-driven funk/pop style. Tickets are $10. 

The VoiceJam competition is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 15, bringing six groups from across the country together to vie for the title of VoiceJam Champion. A judges panel will select the champion and will also recognize best choreography, vocal percussion, arrangement and soloist. Audience members will reportedly get to vote on their favorite group for the audience-choice award.

Tickets to the VoiceJam Competition are $27 plus fees. A ticket combo can also be purchased for $29 plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased now in-person at the Walton Arts Center Box Office weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., by calling 479-443-5600 weekdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. or by visiting waltonartscenter.org.