M-PACT takes the stage on Saturday at Doudna

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

The world-recognized vocal jazz group M-PACT will take the stage at the Doudna Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Based out of Los Angeles, California, M-PACT has performed around the world alongside talents such as Sheryl Crow, Boyz II Men, Natasha Bedingfield, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bobby McFerrin, the Woody Herman Orchestra and the Maynard Ferguson Big Band.

Prior to the performance on Saturday, M-PACT will be giving a teaser performance at the Coles County Clash football game at 7 p.m. Friday.

This event will mark the second time M-PACT has performed at Eastern.

Students from Charleston High School were in the audience at M-PACT’s first performance at Eastern, and the students were so inspired by the group’s performance that the students created their own a cappella group called Maximum Forte, which will be opening for M-PACT at the performance.

Jeff Smith, a beatboxer and vocalist as well as artistic director and business manager for the group, said he was really excited to hear that Maximum Forte had formed.

“So looking forward to hearing them and hanging out with them,” Smith said.

M-PACT will be performing several songs from their new EP Wonderful World including a new arrangement of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.”

The performance will also likely include new twists on songs from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, jazz standards like “My Funny Valentine” and “My Favorite Things” and even songs by newer artists such as Jon Bellion, Emily King and Alessia Cara.

“One of the things that I think sets M-PACT from other a cappella groups is the fact that we like to take familiar songs and put a new and unusual twist on the performance of those songs,” Smith said.

Something for attendees to look forward to according to Smith is M-PACT’s improvisation during the performance.

“The show that we do Saturday night will be completely different from any show that we’ve done before because there are certain things that are spontaneously performed live on stage,” Smith said. “It’s a fun experience for us because we get to sort of share in the experience with the audience.”

Dan Crews, the director of programing for the college of liberal arts and sciences, said the performance is a great opportunity for people in the area to hear a group like M-PACT perform live.

“It’s kind of amazing that six people can do the things that they do and they’re only doing it with their voice,” Crews said. “There’s no instrumentation at all.”

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].