A cappella quartet. Vocal Group. Vocal Band. Whichever name you prefer, we’re four guys making music with just our voices, based in Kamloops, British Columbia. Slow No Tempo is Alexander Bell, Ryan Noakes, Graham Specht, and Simon Walter.
A little history:
Alex and Ryan had previously formed the a cappella quartet SARV in 1999, which disbanded in 2001 when everyone except Alex moved away from Kamloops for one reason or another. Ryan headed off to study music in university, and eventually found himself returning to Kamloops in 2017. Upon his return, he and Alex soon started chatting about forming a new quartet. They immediately turned to their old friend Graham, who had also fairly recently returned to Kamloops following his life adventures after studying music in university. Simon had the perfect timing to mention to Ryan that he’d always wanted to sing in a quartet literally the day after Graham was approached, and thus we were four.
Slow No Tempo was formed in the fall of 2018. We sing a wide variety of music; from rock to sea shanties to jazz to barbershop and everything in between. We perform at concerts, special events, fundraisers, you name it. Every year we pick a local charity for our Singing Valentine fundraiser.
Slow No Tempo is a prime example of what can happen when you fund music education initiatives: We are all products of our school music programs, and 3 of the 4 of us initially met in our youth at the Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music.
Meet The Singers
What is the “A” in SARV up to now you ask? A 10 year veteran of KISSM, and honours graduate of Brocklehurst Secondary School, only because of 6 music electives…, is now a founding member the fantabulous Slow No Tempo! Also a member of Serious Options and an alumni member of Cantabile, Alex has sung or played in every corner of Kamloops in the 41 years he has called it home. He has thumped in Caliente, tooted in Kamloops Community Band tinkled in Thompson Valley Orchestra, and Broken a 5th or two. Other bizarre talents include juggling, MCing, chefing and lawn bowling. Always good for a laugh or a groan, your friendly neighbourhood FedEx guy is ready to entertain the fair people of Gotham… um… Kamloops.
Born and raised in Kamloops, Ryan grew up thinking life was a musical with his parents constantly playing and singing along with records. An accomplished singer, he has been a member of numerous choirs and vocal groups, including the highly successful a cappella quartet SARV that performed around Kamloops to rave reviews in the late 90s and early 2000s. He went away to pursue a music education, earning his BMus from UVic and MMus from UBC, both times majoring in composition. He is now an international award-winning composer. Happily back in Kamloops, he sings with the Cantabile Singers and plays trumpet with the Kamloops Community Band. Ryan also sits on the board of the Chamber Musicians of Kamloops and the BC Choral Federation.
Originally from Kamloops, Graham started music as a kid with piano lessons. Later came secondary band class and choir, the saxophone, music trips, three wonderful music teachers: Brent Thibault, Richard Dickens and Steve Griffith, and of course KISSM! These people helped to steer him toward studying music at UVIC.
During his music degree, Graham had the good fortune to sing and tour the world with the UVIC Chamber Singers and Prima Youth Choir under Dr. Bruce More. There were great times too with gigging Ska and Cuban Salsa bands, church choirs and even a few seasons with the Butchart Gardens Christmas Carolers.
On completing his music degree, Graham lived and taught in South Korea for roughly ten years where he sang with the Sokcho City Choir. On return to Canada in 2014, he worked as an English instructor at TRU, and currently works with Kamloops Immigrant Services, commuting by bicycle.
Simon has called Kamloops home for over 27 years, and works as a lawyer with Cates Ford Epp, Barristers & Solicitors, practicing primarily in the area of Family Law. In his spare time, he performs with local singing groups, including the newly minted Kamloops acapella quartet, Slow No Tempo. He can also be found playing in and refereeing local soccer leagues in warmer months. He stays active in the community through his involvement with the Kamloops Bar Association, the Kamloops Collaborative Family Law Association, and the Kamloops Symphony Society.
Simon is thrilled to add to his nerdy hobbies by singing in harmony with three other dudes on a regular basis.