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Take 6 founder reflects on groups 30-year career

mcneir | 12/14/2011, 7:30 a.m.

A cappella sextet returns to Miami for holiday performance

Miami is preparing for the return of Take 6 the talented a cappella group of six men that have now doing their thing for 30 years. And while their roster has changed over the years, one thing that has remained the same is the superb vocal showmanship that the group brings to the stage in every performance. In 1980 on the campus of Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, then freshman Claude V. McKnight III [thats right, hes the brother of Brian McKnight], formed a quartet known as the Gentlemens Estate Club. Mark Kibble heard the brothers rehearsing in one of the best places for a cappella sounds the restroom. The group would add and lose members, change their name to Alliance and perform on campus and in local churches until 1987 when they signed with Warner Brothers and became Take 6. One year later they released their first album and took the industry by storm garnering two Grammy Awards and landing in the top ten on Billboard and contemporary Christian charts. Thirty years later they are seasoned veterans and considered one of it not the best a cappella groups around. They have embraced the rich tradition of doo-wop and gospel groups of the 1950s and have led the way in the wave of jazz and pop vocal groups that emerged in the 1990s. But what can we expect on Sunday? McKnight explains. The repertoire will consist of a Christmas segment of seven to nine songs songs from all three of our holiday CDs as well as selections from our regular set-list to round out the performance, he said. Mark Kibble is our primary arranger; hes incredibly gifted in harmonies and never lets us down when it comes to creativity and newness. Dr. Cedric Dent [who once sang with the group] has been arranging for us for many years and is right up there with Mark as far as working that Take 6 sound. Take 6 has shared the stage with some of the best in music from Ella Fitzgerald and Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder. McKnight says the best things about the groups incredible career has been getting to meet and befriend people of different walks, ethnicities and faiths. We have always felt that we have been truly blessed individually and collectively and we enjoy giving back. Weve done things for music schools and the United Way, among others. We all need help from time to time and we feel compelled to help. Take 6 will round out the Free Gospel Sunday concert series for 2011 at the Adrienne Arsht Center downtown. A Soulful Christmas starts at 4 p.m. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com