Vox Humana

Quartet of friends make music together

Submitted Photo Minot State University students, from the left, Kaylee Capp, J’Kobe Wallace, Nathan Bowles and Maddy Sem formed the Vox Humana Quartet about two years ago.

They make beautiful music together.

J’Kobe Wallace, Nathan Bowles, Kaylee Capp and Maddy Sem comprise the Vox Humana Quartet. The four Minot State University students organized the group about two years ago.

“We all go to school together at Minot State and we’ve known each other for a long time,” said Wallace. “Actually, we all knew of each other in high school.”

“It wasn’t until two years ago that we were singing and we realized we can fulfill a certain voice part,” said Wallace. Wallace sings bass, Bowles, tenor, Capp, alto, and Sem, soprano.” We started singing some of our choir repertoire and then we started singing hymns,” Wallace said.

They noticed they had a really unified sound. “From there we just decided we should do more of this. It helps that we’re all really good friends and it’s easy to make music with your friends. That’s where it started off,” Wallace said.

Submitted Photo Vox Humana is a vocal quartet comprised of Minot State University students, from the left, Nathan Bowles, Maddy Sem, Kaylee Capp and J’Kobe Wallace. Here they are shown on the steps of MSU’s Old Main.

The name of the group came from Bowles who noted the “vox humana” setting on a Yamaha keyboard. “It’s an organ stop traditionally and it’s supposed to sound like the human voice,” he said.

Bowles said the group performs many hymns from various hymn books and also choral repertoire. “We kind of stick to the classical end of the a capella group format,” he said.

They also have a couple pop arrangements for voice – “Dancing Queen” and “Just the Way You Look Tonight” that they sometimes sing.

“We like to dip our toes in the jazz world,” Bowles said. But they can do almost any type of music. “As long as it has four parts,” he said.

The group first started performing at performance labs at MSU. “Then we started tagging on to choir concerts and getting our name out there,” said Capp.

She said they decided to go out into the community to perform, singing at churches and fundraisers. They have performed at a number of special events or occasions in Minot and the area, including with the Minot Symphony Orchestra for its 2018 Christmas concert.

What’s next for the quartet?

“J’Kobe and Nathan will be student teaching in the fall and Kaylee has about one year left,” Sem said. She said the quartet will probably be on a hiatus – at least for the weekdays – during the fall semester when Wallace and Bowles are student teaching but they haven’t made any firm plans yet for the quartet during that time.

Wallace, of Minot and a senior at MSU, will graduate with a degree in music education. He’s president of the National Association For Music Education on campus and has served on the Music Student Advisory Council among his music organizations. He plays trombone in the MSU Concert Band. He plans to teach music.

Bowles, of Minot and a senior at MSU, will be student teaching choir at Minot High School in the fall. He’s a former member of NAFME. He performed with the Minot Symphony Orchestra in March as the winner of the orchestra’s annual MSU Senior Honors Concerto Competition. After graduating he hopes to go on to graduate school, focusing on conducting or performance.

Capp, of Max, is a senior in music education. She’s publicist for NAFME and is on the Music Student Advisory Council. She and Wallace are student directors with the Western Plains Children’s Choir. She plays trumpet in concert band and jazz band. Her goal is to teach music.

Sem, of Minot, a junior at MSU, will graduate next year with degrees in music and accounting. She is treasurer of NAFME and also served on the Music Student Advisory Council. She plays saxophone in MSU Concert Band and jazz band. She plans to become a certified public accountant.

Last semester all four of them played in the MSU Jazz Band. All of the quartet members also have had roles with the Western Plains Opera Company.

In May, members of the quartet who also are members of the MSU Concert Choir are going on a concert tour in Norway, including a stop in Skien, Minot’s sister city, for Norwegian Independence Day on May 17. In case an opportunity arises for them to sing as a quartet, they have prepared a few pieces relating to the Norwegian culture.

After they return, the quartet plans to sing at a number of events during the next months.

All of the friends agree they enjoy singing together.

For more about the Vox Humana Quartet including videos of performances visit their Facebook page.

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to msasser@minotdailynews.com.)