Hello! Stephen Ross here, and I’ve been a singer and arranger in Face Vocal Band since the summer of 2004. Funny enough, I am the second newest member of the band.
Maybe most of you know this by now, but I am actually an immigrant from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada! While I’ve been in Colorado since the 4th grade (1990) and have since become an American citizen (legally, I think), I am still super proud to be a Canuck!
After graduating with a degree in music education from the University of Colorado in 2003, I started my career as the choir director at Skyline High School in Longmont that fall. Early in the summer of 2004 after a fulfilling but exhausting school year, I received a phone call from Mark Megibow (while at the dog park), who mentioned that they have an a cappella group, and a friend of mine from college, Ryan Driver, was leaving and recommended me as a good fit to replace him (he eventually came back). I was eager to sing again, so I went in to audition for Mark, Forest, Cody, Ben, and Joseph who ultimately offered me a spot in the group! That said, I was transparent with the guys in that this was a temporary gig for me, as I knew in my heart of hearts that it would be impossible to continue in the fall once school started up in the fall. Fast forward to present day… apparently, I forgot to quit.
I sing counter-tenor (high falsetto) and baritone in the group, as well as fill in on bass when Forest solos and on vocal percussion with Mark solos. I’m the music director, in that I plan and coordinate our rehearsals, create the set lists, and try to keep a pulse on what new music we have coming in to the group. I also do many of our arrangements, as well as some graphic design and video production for promotion or social media.
There are so many lovely parts of singing in Face, from the incredible opportunities to perform in amazing venues and places, to the creative aspects of having a vision for a song, or a set, or a project, and then getting to see that through to the end… it’s really amazing that I get to do this as a profession! That said, my favorite part is all of the communal aspects of the group. I love the interpersonal relationship we have created between the five of us, even extending to all of the amazing folks behind the scenes, as well as the connection we make with our audiences while in the shared space of a live performance. Making people happy, or at least emotionally connected with our performance, gives me a great deal of satisfaction and joy.
Again, there have been so many phenomenal moments in Face, but singing the Star Spangled Banner at a handful of Denver Bronco games just takes the cake. Being on the field with 50,000 people looking and listening to you sing with the players on the sidelines and the cameras fixed on you — it’s just such a rush! After thousands of performances over a lifetime of singing, I don’t really get nervous anymore. But boy do the butterflies start flapping away at Mile High Stadium! Plus, the buffet in the box where we get to enjoy the game is OUT OF THIS WORLD.
I think it’s a good sign in my life that an emotion that I feel with great frequency is gratitude. I am so thankful for the support of my family, from the other Face guys, and from everyone who has ever come out to a show and supported my quest to bring people together through music. Being in Face is such a rare win-win scenario in this life, where the enjoyment of the audience is immediately reciprocated by the performer, and that sentiment of mutual appreciation just keeps bouncing back and forth at lighting speed over the course of a show. It’s incredibly satisfying, and I don’t take a moment of it for granted!