Country a capella group ‘Home Free’ to Perform at Pabst

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Photo by Photo courtesy of LeAnn Mueller

Although the song playlist for Home Free’s performance at the Pabst Theater is a secret, Chris Rupp, founder, musical director, and baritone singer for the country a capella group made up of five men, said that he hopes a large audience will attend.

The concert will start at 7:30 tonight, and tickets are around $30.

Rupp always knew he wanted to pursue music. Once he found out about a capella groups such as Glad and Rockapella, he became interested in the style and put together what would eventually become Home Free 15 years ago.

“The extreme challenge and uniqueness of making full music using just the human voice has been an incredible and enriching experience,” Rupp said.

Elizabeth Just, a sophomore in the College of Education, said that she is not a fan of country music, yet she has been interested in Home Free since she saw them on “The Sing-Off,” a former NBC television show, which Home Free won in season four.

“I am just fascinated by all a capella. It amazes me that people can make those sounds, whether it be different instruments, beatboxing, etcetera,” Just said.

Rupp said it was an amazing experience to help others discover the world of a capella and let the genre become mainstream, while entertaining audiences of millions in the process.

“We toured (at the Pabst Theater) with the national “Sing-Off” Tour right after our season, but it’s awesome to be able to come back and do it just ourselves,” Rupp said. “It’s a beautiful theater and should be a fantastic night.”

Rupp hopes that the audience forgets about the world for the night while Home Free performs.

“There will be plenty of laughs, plenty of wow moments, maybe even a few emotional ones, and at the end of the night you should walk away with a huge smile on your face,” Rupp said.

There are always a few new jokes and scenarios that unfold with the band’s performance. However, Rupp said the core of its show is the same at every stop along the tour.

Pentatonix is a prime example of a successful pop a capella group. Working country songs into an a capella repertoire is something new, and Home Free has had to figure out how to fuse the two styles over the years.

“On one hand we don’t have any models to look to for help, but on the other hand we’re blazing our own trail here, meaning we can hardly do it wrong,” Rupp said.

Rupp said he is hopeful that future groups will look to them for inspiration on how to combine country and a cappella successfully.

Nicole Carlin, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said she first heard of the group last year when a Facebook video post showed Home Free’s cover of “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

“I liked it enough to search some of their other songs and ended up really enjoying their overall sound,” Carlin said.

Carlin is a fan of a capella as well as country. She has added some of Home Free’s songs to her Spotify playlists.

“We’ve been wanting to come back to Milwaukee and the Pabst for several years now, and this time it finally worked out in both our routing and the Pabst’s schedule,” Rupp said. “(I) hope everyone can make it out to see us.”