Vocal Point, Brigham Young University's nine-man a cappella ensemble, finished its run Monday night on the third season of the NBC vocal competition "The Sing-Off." The group made it to the final five, concluding with "Every Little Step," by Bobby Brown, and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg," by The Temptations."
The ensemble includes sophomore business major Jake Hunsaker, who was born in Ogden and raised in West Weber. The other current members of the 20-year-old collegiate group are Keith Evans, of Orem; Tanner Nilsson and McKay Crockett, both from Sandy; Ben Murphy, of Sydney, Australia; Michael Christensen, of Eagle River, Alaska; Robert Seely, of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Ross Welch, of Cody, Wyo.; and Tyler Sterling, of Renton, Wash.
"We felt we had a great showing on this last night, especially on our Bobby Brown song," said Hunsaker, calling from home in Provo. "You just never know why exactly the judges make the decisions they do, but we respect them. And the competition was so tight. The talent level was incredible this season."
Hunsaker, who sings high tenor for the group, joined in 2010. He and his twin brother, Joseph, were the last of 11 children born to Tom and Louann Hunsaker. All of the children took piano lessons and sang with family, including yearly performances of an educational anti-drug program they wrote and performed for area schools.
As a high school junior at Fremont, Hunsaker joined the school choir, where he also learned to sing solo. Vocal Point is his first a cappella group.
The BYU-sponsored group has long competed in collegiate contests, but has never performed on a television competition before "The Sing-Off."
Last year, after the group placed first runner-up in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella finals, with Hunsaker taking first prize as outstanding soloist, producers for "The Sing-Off" approached them to come on the show.
Filming for this season began July 20 in Los Angeles. The last three weeks overlapped with the start of the university's fall semester, so arrangements were made for the university to tape courses for the members and then overnight them to Los Angeles. Members were also flown to Provo once a week to complete tests and lab work.
As active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vocal Point was also granted Sundays off as a day of rest and worship. Otherwise, for nearly two months, the members worked 14- to 16-hour days, readying their pieces and studying.
Prior to the start of filming, on July 6, Hunsaker married Sanita Ley, a fellow BYU student.
Hunsaker laughed. "She has been really supportive and wonderful through it all, but I really don't think girls dream of this kind of wedding -- being stressed to the max and then having their husband leave right after they get married."
Hunsaker's parents were on an LDS mission in Detroit when their son's group was cast on the show. They had only seen a few Vocal Point rehearsals, and never watched a full episode of "The Sing-Off" until Oct. 24, shortly after their return.
"It has been fun to watch, and such a great experience for them," said Louann Hunsaker. "Their big objective in life is to bring people happiness through their music. And we think they really acheived that objective."
Jake Hunsaker said, "We are just so grateful for the time we had on the show. And we love that we got to stay on as long as we did, making it to the top five. We loved meeting all the other groups, and got excited each week to see what they could do."
Hunsaker said that he will most definitely keep singing. "But you probably won't see me dance like that, ever again." He laughed. "That was all new to me and was my challenge, especially this last week."