Take 6 plays IMU

BY EVAN CLARK | MARCH 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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A lot has changed since the gospel a cappella group Take 6 first got together more than 30 years ago.

But after releasing 15 studio albums, winning 10 Grammys, and collaborating with such artists as Stevie Wonder, Queen Latifah, and Quincy Jones, the band members are on the road doing what they believe they were born to do.

Second tenor of the group Joel Kibble is passionate when describing Take 6.

“We definitely account that to the reason we we’re called to be together, which was the fact that we have a strong faith as far as Jesus is concerned,” he said. “He’s called us to spread that love through song, and I’m thankful that we’ve been able to not only sing together but live together as brothers and respect each other.”

Take 6 will spread the love with a performance at 7:30 p.m. today in the IMU Main Lounge.

Admission is $35 for the general public, $10 for students.

The group formed in 1980, when singer Claude McKnight put the group together while attending Oakwood College in Huntsville, Ala. When the lineup was set, the group rehearsed relentlessly, sacrificing every weekend in order to perfect the vocals and blend harmonies. Kibble said all in the group had different upbringings, and their musical influences influenced the others.

“All of our influences are different with every other person in the group,” he said. “Some of us grew up in families of teachers, others grew up with pastors, so it was basically whatever we were allowed to listen to or snuck behind our parent’s backs.”

The band was signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1987, and its careers took off with the success of its platinum-selling début self-titled album. After hitting it big, the group took time to adjust to the chaotic schedule of touring. But after receiving some wise advice from music legend Quincy Jones, Kibble and the group realized that performing was what they were truly meant to do.

“We had been on the road for six weeks, and up until that point, we had never been on the road that long before and felt like we were being dragged beyond our limits,” Kibble said. “Quincy sat us down and told us he would go on the road for years at a time and not be able to come back. His experience gave us a whole new perspective, and those kind of stories helped us understand that we haven’t been out as long as these other guys, so we need to pay our dues.”

Though gospel a cappella music isn’t as mainstream as it used to be, Take 6 has never looked back, and the band releases critically acclaimed albums today.

UI junior and choir member Andrew Martin recognizes what it takes to maintain the ability to vocalize together for so long, and he is amazed that Take 6 is still going strong.

“You can tell that these guys have practiced a lot over the years, because the way they harmonize their voices is incredible,” he said. “They’re like a team, and every member knows his role regarding his vocals. It’s good to see that it’s still performing after all these years.”

While Take 6 is thankful for having such a long and successful career, Kibble said that as it has gotten older, the group tours less and less, allowing each member to take on new tracks in creativity as well as responsibility.

“I think not having to tour as much has helped us take on other things outside Take 6 to satisfy our creative energy in music,” he said. “For me, my family is now my main priority, and there has to be a balance with family and career. I can put food on the table, but if I’m not actually there, I’m a failure as far as I’m concerned. But we’ve been able to make it work so far, and I’m thankful that I’m able to do what I love for a living.”

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