Semi-Toned, A Capella from England, Wows the Crowd


That was the unanimous acclamation echoing down the hall of the Tucker Arts Center after a performance by Semi-Toned, a 12-man a cappella group from the University of Exeter in England.

With gorgeous harmonies, popping vocal percussion, and slick choreography that had them moving across the Johnson Theater stage in precision formations, the performers left no question about why they are an international phenomenon. They have won both the Voice Festival UK and the BBC2 competition, The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain, and they are renowned for their five-star shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The performances for Middle and Upper School students were designated as the Lyons performance, an annual arts event that honors Mr. and Mrs. Tom and Joan Lyons. Before introducing Semi-Toned, Mr. Manning spoke about the instrumental role that the couple  played in the construction of the Tucker Arts Center and their longstanding dedication to the school.

In addition, the performance is part of a partnership between Norfolk Academy and the Virginia Arts Festival. Semi-Toned will do a public performance in the Johnson Theater as part of the Arts Festival this evening (April 17) at 7:30. 

The performance ranged across genres, including a haunting version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” a medley of songs from The Village People, a mournful, quiet rendition of Randy Newman’s “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2, and a stirring performance of the National Anthem, a tribute to the United States, as this visit marks their third tour “across the pond.”

To learn more about Semi-Toned, visit their website. Their new EP, Strike Three, is available from an array of streaming services.