Midland University announced on Friday that Deke Sharon, the “father of contemporary a cappella,” will be returning to the institution for the second time as part of the Festival of the Arts A Cappella Day on Feb. 22.

Recognized for his work as the musical director and arranger of the “Pitch Perfect” movies, the NBC series, “The Sing-Off,” and founder of the ICAA, Sharon’s return to Midland manifests his mission to improve the world through vocal music.

“For me, my life’s work is to spread harmony through harmony,” Sharon said. “I truly believe that our nation, and, in many ways, our world is broken. People feel alone; they feel isolated. There are these deep divisions in our country that are getting deeper. I feel like I have the fix. I feel like I have this tool—this incredible thing that people did throughout human history and from prehistoric times, and that is singing together.”

Launched in 2018, the Midland University Performing Arts department intentionally designed A Cappella Day with the purpose of bringing students together to compete in a celebration of song.

Last year, the university awarded $75,000 in vocal scholarships to students interested in pursuing their passion for vocal music in college.

“Bringing exceptional educational experiences to our students is the pride of the performing arts department,” Kyle Thomas, Assistant Director of Performing Arts, said. “Though our institution is small in size, the opportunities we provide to our students are quite the opposite.”

The Festival of the Arts provides Midland students with the ability to showcase their talents, enhance their college experiences, and connect with the industry they aspire to join upon graduation.

Sharon’s visit is made possible by the support of the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment.

Sharon’s return comes on the heals of his first visit to Midland at last year’s Festival of the Arts where he served as a judge for a high school a cappella competiiton, held a public workshop, and led students in a showcase performance to cap off the day.

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