Story by Breanna Sill, Staff writer
The art of acapella singing is a form of expression that is so highly thought of on some college campuses, like Yale University, that it has designated locations on campus designed to heighten the listening experience. However, what some students may not be aware of is Murray State has its own acapella group called Protege.
Protege was founded by Jared Frazier, junior from Paducah, Kentucky, three years ago.
He decided to start his own acapella group when he came to college after having been a part of the group at his high school called Prime Rib.
Through his high school, Frazier was able to travel to other high schools and universities like University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky to perform with some of the largest university level acapella groups in the country, The Acousticats and the Red Tops.
After spending four years performing acapella in high school, when Fraizer came to Murray State he was disappointed to learn that there was no acapella group on campus at the moment.
“I get here on campus and there was another acapella group that was here before but they had a big graduating class so they left,” he said. “I was in choir and I made some good friends and I have a pretty good ear, so the people I sat beside said ‘We should start an acapella group.’”
That day, Frazier recruited four of his friends to join his group.
On the spot the group decided to sing a song in the hallway of the building they were in and the response to their music was big.
“Before we knew it, we had like four people coming into the hallway like ‘You guys sound so great. Can you do a performance for us in two weeks?’” he said. “It was amazing.”
The other members of the group include Randy Box, senior from North Little Rock, Arkansas, Malcolm Jones, senior from Louisville, Kentucky, Kenneth Percell, sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, Jarmon Robinson, sophomore from Belleville, Illinois, and William Simmons, senior from Clarksville, Tennessee.
The group has performed for audiences across the country. They have even traveled to St. Louis to open for gospel musician Ricky Dillard which, for Frazier, was a dream come true.
“The craziest thing is, we only had four days to put together three songs,” Frazier said. “We put together three full songs in four days. It took practice, practice, practice.”
Gospel isn’t the only genre of music the group performs. Protege mixes up their set lists with a combination of R&B, pop, gospel and coming soon, a new Latin spin. Frazier said his main influence and favorite songs to cover are by the band Boys II Men.
“When I bring the guys some music, they will be like ‘Another Boys II Men song?” he said.
While the name Protege was not the group’s original name, the group feels it is the most fitting to represent who they are.
“We looked up the definition of the word ‘protege’ and it’s like ‘the up-and-coming, when someone is beneath you and they’re your protege’ so we stuck with it,” he said.
One of Frazier’s favorite performances of the year so far, was performing behind his brother, Justin Frazier, as he performed during this year’s Mr. MSU pageant.
Right now, the group is preparing for its biggest performance of the year on Nov. 7 in Bardstown, Tennessee. After that, the group will begin to prepare their Christmas routines.