After 19 years, Groove for Thought had called it quits. The a capella septet performed a series of farewell concerts last December.
A year later, they are reuniting for one more concert — tonight at Meadowdale High School’s Black Box Theater. The show will feature Erin Bentlage, an award-winning singer from Los Angeles.
Groove for Thought, which has headlined at the annual DeMiero Jazz Festival in Edmonds, enjoyed some fame after performing on the NBC reality show “The Sing-Off.”
“For the past few years, we’ve been hosting jazz festivals with the Edmonds School District,” said Jeff Horenstein, who sings bass in the group. “We thought this would be a good excuse to have a reunion.”
Groove for Thought, which has released four studio albums, is known for its modern harmonies, rhythmic inventions and jazzy versions of contemporary, R&B and folk songs. Backed by piano, bass, drums and percussion, they’ll sing everything from R&B to jazz standards.
“One of the things we like to do is take songs people know and try to create new ideas around that,” Horenstein said. “A lot of it has to do with changing up the feel of a song. Sometimes the chords don’t go where you think they’re going to go, if you know the song. That keeps it fresh.”
Horenstein, 40, of Mukilteo, is one of Groove for Thought’s founding members and the choir director at Meadowdale High School. He formed the group with several other music teachers and singers out of a love for music.
“When we started, we were just some friends singing a capella songs in our living rooms,” he said.
But that wasn’t for long. Groove for Thought won the Harmony Sweepstakes National Championship in 2005 — an annual showcase of a capella groups — and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Jazz Song in 2006.
In 2010, Groove for Thought was one of 10 ensembles chosen to compete on “The Sing-Off.” Though they were eliminated in the third round, the exposure led to extensive tours around North America and Europe.
Groove for Thought changed its lineup through the years; Kelly Kunz, who sings tenor and baritone, is the only other founding member still performing. Other members are Amanda Taylor (lead soprano), Stephanie Long (second soprano), Andrea Siedlecki (alto), Chris Denton (tenor) and Brennan Baglio (baritone).
Featured singer Bentlage, a vocalist and composer, will share the stage with Groove for Thought tonight. Bentlage, while a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston, received the Downbeat Magazine student award for Outstanding Jazz Vocalist in 2014.
Bentlage, 28, is in a quartet called säje with Groove for Thought member Amanda Taylor and Seattle singers Sara Gazarek and Johnaye Kendrick. She said she’s wanted to perform with Groove For Thought ever since she saw them perform at Berklee.
“With them, the writing behind the music is brilliant,” Bentlage said. “That just makes everything else easier to float on top of. You can tell they’ve been working together for a long time.”
She’ll sing original music from her yet-to-be-named debut album and a new arrangement of the old folk song “Where Have All The Flowers Gone,” by Pete Seeger.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
“An Evening with Erin Bentlage and Groove for Thought” is at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 at Meadowdale High School Black Box Theater, 6002 168th St. SW, Lynnwood. Tickets are $20 at the door or via Eventbrite. More at www.grooveforthought.com.