Acclaimed a cappella ensemble will headline Hancher

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An acclaimed a cappella ensemble will headline Hancher Friday at 7:30 p.m.

By Joshua Balicki
joshua-balicki@uiowa.edu

The a cappella ensemble Straight No Chaser formed at the Indiana University in 1996. More than a decade after its music video of “The 12 Days of Christmas” became a viral sensation, the college group re-formed to sign with Atlantic Records.

Straight No Chaser will perform Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Hancher.

Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman said the ensemble was “brilliant, fresh, and totally compelling” in a Straight No Chaser press release. Kallman was compelled to take a YouTube sensation and make it into a lasting act.

Original member Mike Itkoff told The New York Times that he thought it was a joke at first when Kallman called. It all sank in when Straight No Chaser was flown by Atlantic to New York for the signing.

“Music career was definitely not on my radar; getting the guys back together, not just for someone’s wedding or bachelor party, but to spend the majority of the year together touring and recording is a dream come true,” said original member Randy Stine in a press release. “I pinch myself all the time and hope it continues and becomes a longstanding career.”

The group’s début Christmas album, Holiday Spirits, peaked at No. 1 on both iTunes and Amazon album charts. Straight No Chaser garnered national attention with its performances on major media shows such as “Fox and Friends” and “NBC Today.”

After a series of lineup changes, Straight No Chaser followed up with its sophomore album, Christmas Cheers, in 2009. The album was produced by the a cappella pioneer Deke Sharon. Straight No Chaser showcased renditions of Christmas classics such as “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town,” among other classics.

The group’s third album, With a Twist, and fourth album, Under the Influence, were seen as Straight No Chaser’s departure from Christmas music. With a Twist featured Barry Manilow on “One Voice.” Its most successful album on the charts, Under The Influence featured numerous stars, including Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and Phil Collins.

Straight No Chaser has recently made a holiday comeback with I’ll Have Another … Christmas Album, which débuted last year. The album “collects a cache of Christmas classics both old and new, including beloved carols, holiday favorites … and newly penned original songs,” said the band in a press release.

Straight No Chaser returned to its college town of Bloomington, Indiana, to record the album. Its newest LP, Six Pack: Volume 3, features medleys and mash-ups of pop and rock. “The Speakeasy Tour” showcases the group’s ever-changing sound.

Straight No Chaser attempts to reinvent traditional choral music with the implementation of contemporary pop and timeless humor. The 10 members say they set themselves apart with their “contemporary repertoire and dynamic approach.” Their performance simply transcends genre.

Straight No Chaser

When: Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Hancher

Cost: Sold out as of press time

 

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