Free community events precede a cappella show at Norton Center

Published 6:07 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019


News release

Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar, an a cappella group whose music is sung all over the world, is belting their way onto the Newlin Hall stage on Feb. 6. Thanks to their viral videos and millions of loyal YouTube followers, they are one of the brightest new groups on the gospel scene today. Their current tour,The ZAMAR Experience, brings communities together through fresh adaptations of contemporary gospel, pop and musical theater hits.

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“We live in a world where a cappella groups are becoming increasingly popular,” said Steve Hoffman, Norton Center executive director, “So, we invited an incredible vocal ensemble at the top of their game to not only perform at the Norton Center, but to also share the stage with our community.” Hoffman continued, “I love that this group has a huge YouTube following and is as comfortable singing contemporary gospel music as they are songs from the hit Broadway show, Hamilton. When they intermix samplings of nineties pop music and other surprises, the performance is, truly inspirational. The fact that this program occurs during Black History Month makes it even more relevant.”

In fall 2012, the group released its debut album, “Limitless,” which featured 14 tracks of ballads and anthems. Trey M. McLaughlin, the founder and director of The Sounds of Zamar, continuously pursues his own passion for writing and arranging music, teaching piano and conducting classes in vocal technique. Besides being a member of the professional music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and being the former director of G.E.N.E.S.I.S., the Columbus State University Gospel Choir, McLaughlin is also a sought-after clinician, both nationally and internationally.

In 2014, Mr. McLaughlin had the honor of conducting a master class and performing at the L’Opéra de Massy in Massy, France. Then, in October 2015, Trey conducted a 300-voice choir in Krakow, Poland, as the guest clinician of the annual 7x Festival.

In addition to the Feb. 6 evening concert, there will be several free opportunities for the public to engage one-on-one with Trey McLaughlin and members of The Sounds of Zamar.

• Creative conversation — Feb. 5 11:20 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at  Newlin Hall for free. McLaughlin will lead a conversation titled, “From Hymnals to Hip-Hop.” The program will explore traditional and contemporary forms of African- and African-American-based music, how these styles help to define a unique culture and how they become a shared universal experience.

• Community choir clinic — Feb. 5, 7-8:30 p.m. at  Newlin Hall for free. A special community choir clinic is planned for members of the public — all ages and all singing abilities — to join as McLaughlin and the vocal ensemble lead participants in learning two songs. Those attending the clinic will be invited to sing with the group during the Wednesday evening performance. Participants must purchase a ticket to the Feb. 6 concert in order to sing during the performance. Call the box office at 877-HIT-SHOW for more information and to register for the community choir clinic.

• Pre-performance discussion — Feb. 6, 6:15-7:15 p.m. at the Norton Center foyer for free. A pre-performance discussion titled, “Music, Spirituality and Storytelling,” with Trey McLaughlin and other panelists will focus on the use of songs as a form of self-expression and building community.

This project is funded in part by support from the Centre College Office of Diversity and by a grant from South Arts, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and The Kentucky Arts Council. Support for Creative Conversations is provided by a gift from Dr. Jeff Johnson, Class of 1995, and Ken Michael.


Trey McLaughlin & The Sounds of Zamar will be in concert at Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 PM in Newlin Hall. Tickets start at $15 and are available at or by calling the box office at 877-HIT-SHOW.