Such pleasant young men

Ball In the House induce swoons with their croons at the Ordway.

Katie Wilber

Halfway through the first song, the audience realized backup bands and orchestras are overrated.

Ball in the House, a six-man Boston-based a capella group, brought its distinctive pop and R&B style to the Ordway and left with a fan club of teenyboppers, college kids and the parents who chauffeured them to the concert.

The group has performed in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore and everywhere in-between; they’ve opened for Jewel, The Calling, Cher, Jessica Simpson and The Temptations. Heard those new Cool Whip commercials? The guys sing that, too.

Impulse, a Minneapolis-based a capella group, opened the show; University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Fifth Element followed later. The Susan B. Anthony middle school choir and the University’s Seven Days got the opportunity to sing backup vocals for Ball in the House.

It’s about 1,400 miles from Boston to St. Paul, which gave the members of Ball in the House a chance to learn another Christmas song for their Ordway show. They could have used a few hundred more miles, though, because there was some confusion over what songs were to be sung. OK, so it was organized chaos, but “12 1/2 Days of Christmas” incorporated everybody’s favorite holiday songs into a great big marvelous medley.

Jon J., who took time out of singing to learn complex vocal percussion sounds back in the late 1990s, left the audience dumbfounded with a solo performance early in the second act; he was a drum, cymbals, a bass guitar and a dozen other instruments all at once.

A version of “Karma Chameleon” led to a remix of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” and they threw in “Rockin’ Robin” and The Beach Boys’ “Little St. Nick” to change things up a bit. Only the group knew what direction the songs were headed in, leaving the audience on the edge of anticipation the entire show.

Minus Jon J., the group put down the microphones and performed a pure, heart-wrenching ballad called “Don’t Love Me.” Untarnished by microphones and amps, their voices were able to carry the gorgeous harmonies throughout the theater. The balance among the voices was perfect; the melody was easily distinguishable and no one harmony part overpowered the rest.

With more talent than an “American Idol” audition and as much soul as Luther Vandross, Ball in the House reminds its audiences of the joy of pure vocal music without the ties of instruments. And it’s a glorious thing.