Sunday Afternoon
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Sunday Afternoon

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Pop A Capella


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Cedar Rapids Hoopla"

Sunday Afternoon brings unique sound home with CD release concert

by Deborah Neyens / Correspondent :: UPDATED: 15 November 2013 | 4:24 pm :: in Music :: No Comments some ways, Sunday Afternoon’s experience has been the opposite of what one might expect for a local music group trying to establish a following.

While many groups start with a strong local fan base before seeking to broaden their reach, Sunday Afternoon already has gained recognition at a national level.

“Now we’re trying to make a name for ourselves here,” said Stephen Banks, one of the founding members of the award-winning contemporary a cappella group from Cedar Rapids.

The challenge, Banks said, is that while a cappella – vocal music that is unaccompanied by instruments – is gaining in popularity across the United States, there is not yet much of an a cappella scene in Iowa. Sunday Afternoon hopes to change that beginning with the release of its first EP on November 16.

The details:

Sunday Afternoon CD Release Concert
Cannon Studios, Cedar Rapids
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013; doors open at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15
For more info:
Sunday Afternoon got its start in 2008 as a 12-member, all-male a cappella group comprised of students from Kirkwood’s jazz and concert choirs. In October 2011, after various members had graduated from college and moved on to other things, the remaining members decided to change things up. They added two female singers and became a four-person mixed vocal group. That’s when things got really exciting.

“We submitted our application to the Harmony Sweepstakes in December 2011 and were accepted in February,” Banks recalled. “In March [2012], we performed in Skokie, Illinois, and took third place. We really honed in on our sound.”

That sound is courtesy of soprano Sheila Wagner, alto Alicia Strong, tenor Matthew Bryant, and Banks, who sings bass. With such a diverse mix of vocalists, Sunday Afternoon is able to incorporate a wide array of music genres into its performances.

“We sing everything from pop to R&B to rock and even a little country,” Banks said. “We have something everyone can listen to.”

Sunday Afternoon was one of eight Midwestern groups invited to perform at the Harmony Sweepstakes again in 2013, where Wagner and Strong received outstanding soloist awards. This past summer, the group was one of six contemporary a cappella groups from around the country selected to perform at the VoCALNation music festival in Philadelphia.

Banks said Sunday Afternoon’s new EP, its first, will demonstrate the group’s diversity. The group worked with celebrity arranger Ben Bram, who has served as a coach for NBC’s “The Sing-Off” a cappella competition, on an arrangement of pop artist Demi Lovato’s hit single, “Heart Attack.” The other four songs include “Ain’t Nobody,” originally performed by Chaka Khan, and songs made popular by country group Lady Antebellum and R&B artists Aaliyah and Chrisette Michele.

“We’re not giving away all the songs because we want people to be surprised,” Banks said. “We’ve worked hard and now we’re ready to show everyone what we’ve worked out.”

Sunday Afternoon will celebrate the EP release with a special performance on November 16 at Cannon Studios in Cedar Rapids. The group hopes to follow the EP with a full-length album within the next year-and-a-half. -

"City Revealed"

Sunday Afternoon: A Capella Group to Release Album

By Andrea Thomson Viner

The smooth, harmonic sound of the a cappella group Sunday Afternoon is reminiscent of a perfect Sunday afternoon—energetic yet relaxing, familiar yet unique to each person’s experience, with a family-friendly vibe.

And that’s what the group strives for in their performances, but that’s not how they got their name. After a lengthy brainstorming session, the group agreed on Sunday Afternoon because that’s when they used to rehearse. “We also thought it was unique,” says founding member, business manager, and bass singer Stephen Banks. Other members of the group include soprano Sheila Wagner, alto Alicia Strong, and Matt Bryant, vocal percussionist, tenor, and music director.

The award-winning group performs in a variety of venues and events, from state fairs and wine tastings, to ball parks and national music festivals. Sunday Afternoon has nabbed a spot as One of the Eight Best A Cappella Groups in the Midwest the past two years from the Harmony Sweepstakes Music Festival. In 2012, the group placed third at the festival. This year, both of the group’s female singers won solo awards. CASA, the Contemporary A Capella Society, named Sunday Afternoon One of the Six Best Contemporary A Cappella Groups in the U.S. The group traveled to Philadelphia in July to perform at CASA’s VoCAL Nation music festival. They were the only group outside of the Washington D.C./Philadelphia area to perform.

While the group has gained national acclaim, they haven’t forgotten their roots. Banks graduated from Cedar Rapids Jefferson High School, where he sang in the show choir and the Meistersingers, and the group met at Kirkwood Community College, where they all performed with the jazz ensembles RSVP and Jazz Transit. Three members of Sunday Afternoon—Banks, Strong, and Wagner—also star in the Theatre Cedar Rapids production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Sunday Afternoon’s biggest performance to date—their EP Release Party on November 16 at 7:00 p.m.—won’t just focus on the group. “We’re trying to incorporate all of our friends’ talents,” says Banks. “We want to get the community involved in our concert as much as possible.”
Sunday Afternoon will perform three of the five songs on the EP (which stands for “extended play”—longer than a single album but shorter than a full-length album, or LP), entitled Turn Up (album cover pictured) as well as some new covers they’ve been rehearsing. They’ve also tabbed Jill Noah, who recently performed at the Iowa Women’s Music Festival, as an opening act. 10-year-old Tyresea Rodgers will show off her gospel pipes as well. Sunday Afternoon will also provide ceramic gift baskets created by Frank Ditri.

The EP will, of course, showcase Sunday Afternoon’s unique sound and diverse blend of voices. With their combined jazz background, as well as one member who grew up singing gospel music and another who belts out Broadway tunes, the group produces an eclectic sound. They each enjoy listening to different styles of music as well. This range allows them to cover songs from artists as varied as Demi Lovato, Chaka Kahn, and Lady Antebellum (just a few of the artists whose songs Sunday Afternoon will perform on the upcoming EP). Sunday Afternoon puts its own twist on these songs. “Over the last two years we’ve honed in on our sound and created some unique arrangements,” Banks says. Bryant, the group’s Music Director, arranged all of the songs in house, though he did work with notable producer and arranger Ben Bram on some tracks, and co-founding member of the group/sound technician, Chad Weber, mixed all of the tracks. The EP will be available for purchase on the group’s website,, and on iTunes.

As far as what the future holds for Sunday Afternoon, Banks says they’re working on some original music, in addition to the new arrangements of covers they’ve been rehearsing for the November 16 concert. The group is also in talks with a producer, and they hope to release an LP in the next couple of years. Fans can look forward to Sunday Afternoon for years to come. -


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The smooth, harmonic sounds of a cappella group Sunday Afternoon is reminiscent of a perfect Sunday Afternoon-energetic yet relaxing, familiar yet unique to each persons experience, with a family friendly vibe.

The award winning group has been wowing audiences across the U.S for years performing at a variety of venues and events, from state fairs and wine tastings, to ball parks and national music festivals. Sunday Afternoon has nabbed a spot as one of the 8 best A cappella groups in the Midwest the past two years from the national Harmony Sweepstakes music festival. While the group has gained national acclaim, they havent forgotten their roots being heavily involved with JDRF, The Boys and Girls Club and many other organizations in their home town of Cedar Rapids, IA.

Sunday Afternoon incorporates various musical genres into each performance, providing each audience member the chance to leave their performances completely satisfied.

Band Members