Straight No Chaser has record-fast sellout at Allentown Symphony Hall; 2nd show added

By John J. Moser
The Morning Call
May 15, 2012

(Edit: The link is no longer active, so the full text appears below.)

Tickets for hit a cappella group Straight No Chaser's Christmastime show at Allentown Symphony Hall sold out in a blink of 41 minutes when they went on sale Friday -- a likely record for the venue and so fast that a second show has been added.

Straight No Chaser, which gained attention more than four years ago with its YouTube performance of "The 12 Days of Christmas," will play a show at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 23 in addition to its previously announced 7:30 p.m. show that day.

Tickets to the early show, at $39.50, $49.50 and $59.50, go on sale at 10 a.m. Tuesday at, 610-432-6715, or the box office at 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.

Those prices represent a small discount from the evening show, which sold out the 1,200-seat theater, said Symphony Hall Marketing Director Lucy Bloise. She said it was the fastest sellout in the 11 years she's been with Symphony Hall, and it's likely a record.

It's the second regional venue at which Straight No Chaser has set a ticket-selling record. In 2009, the group sold out the 1,065 seats at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg in a single weekend -- four months before its show. That record was broken in 2010 by Grateful Dead legacy group Further, which sold out the Sherman in eight minutes.

It will be the first Allentown show for the group -- whose primary frontman and singer, Jerome Collins, is an Allentown native and Allen High School graduate, and whose musical director, Walter Chase, is a Forks Township native.

The Allentown shows will close the group's fall tour, according to an itinerary released by the group's label, Atlantic Records.

It will come soon after the release of a new Straight No Chaser album -- its first since its Top 30 "With a Twist" in 2010. Atlantic Records says Straight No Chaser will go into the studio this summer to record its fourth full-length album, which is set to be released this fall.

The 10-man group became a hit when a member posted a video of it performing "The 12 Days of Christmas" mashed up with Toto's "Africa." It was intended to be a guide to help members of the group prepare for a 10-year reunion. The group was made up of classmates at Indiana University. The video went viral, and Atlantic signed the group.

The only time the group played the Lehigh Valley was in August, when it drew more than 5,000 to a headlining show at the new Sands Steel Stage at Bethlehem's Musikfest.

The group also has played Reading several times, including to a near-sellout crowd of 3,000 at the Sovereign Center's Reading Eagle Theatre on April 27.

The new tour opens Oct. 24 and also includes an Oct. 27 stop at Wilkes-Barre's F.M. Kirby Center for the Arts.

Straight No Chaser's popularity has also resulted in two-show stops in Chicago on Dec. 9, Cleveland on Dec. 16 and at Hershey Theatre on Dec. 22.

Hat Tip: @ShainaEng

UPDATED: See how fast Straight No Chaser sold out Allentown Symphony Hall

By John J. Moser
Lehigh Valley Music Blog
May 14, 2012
The new date comes after the original show sold out the 1,200-seat theater in a blink of 41 minutes, said Lucy Bloise, Symphony Hall's marketing director.

Bloise said that was the fastest sellout in the 11 years she's been with Symphony Hall, and it's likely a record.
Read more:

Compelled to a cappella (Randy)

By Bernard Perusse
Postmedia News
May 14, 2012

Read more:

This article also appeared in the Montreal Gazette under the title "Giving 10 voices to the people; Straight No Chaser's colourful repertoire spans the genres, and its appeal spans the generations." That link is no longer active, but it had an additional bit that I liked after the last paragraph, which this version has deleted. Text appears below.

"We all have in-ear monitors, which helps us to be able to hear ourselves from different parts of the stage. That's what's important to us: to be able to hear ourselves and sing as if we could be singing off mic," he said. "Occasionally, if the crowd's really into it and we come back out for an encore and the room is appropriately sized, we'll do a song without microphones. It breaks down a wall."

And the gesture always proves to others what is obvious to the singers, Stine said. A man in the audience, he said, recently asked him how they sync up all the tracks they sing to. Stine, baffled, asked him what he meant and the man referred to what he called "the drum and bass stuff."

"I said, 'That's just us. There's nothing going on except us singing,' " Stine said. "Sometimes, when there are microphones or any kind of sound production involved in general, people have this disbelief that what we're doing is real or actually sung. They'll say, 'How did you make the drum noise?' Or 'How do you make the bass noise in Billie Jean?' I say, 'I just sing it.' And they say, 'Really? That was you?' And I'm like, 'Yeah.' So sometimes, it's refreshing for us to sing off mic and it allows you to prove yourself to the audience, who might think it was some kind of trick or something."

Hat Tip: @ShainaEng

Straight No Chaser Announces Fall 2012 Tour

Always the pioneers! They've already been testing out the hashtag during this recent tour; check out #SNClive on Twitter to connect with other Chasers!

By Sarah Marie Pittman
May 8, 2012
“This group started because of a viral video on YouTube,” Randy Stine said. “From day one we have encouraged fans to upload photos and videos from our shows, even expanding venue photo policies to ensure that this was possible. We are excited to really drive home the idea of building a fan community around content by naming our tour #SNClive.”
Read more:

Hat Tip: @RandyStine

YouTube sensation Straight No Chaser to perform sold-out show at The Phil

By Charles Runnells
May 3, 2012
These days, Roberts holds down the middle notes and also handles the band’s finances. Roberts hasn’t seen the inside of a bank in seven years – unless you count depositing checks from the band’s exploding career.
Read more:

Hat Tip: @ChaserNation1

(Edit: The link is now inactive, so the text is below.)

Dave Roberts sat in his 16th-floor Manhattan bank office, crunching numbers instead of belting them out onstage.

That was seven years ago, and Roberts had given up the dream of a singing career. He only occasionally picked up a guitar or sang at karaoke bars.

“I was in a daily grind,” recalls Roberts, 35, of Chicago. “It was just cubicle to cubicle.”

That was about to change, though. All thanks to a runaway YouTube video.

Unknown to Roberts and the other nine guys in the defunct vocal group Straight No Chaser, a 1998 concert video had taken on a life of its own online.

Before they knew it, their performance of “The 12 Days of Christmas” racked up 1 million views on YouTube. Now it’s reached almost 15 million.

Suddenly, the dream was alive again.

“One of the guys posted the video,” Roberts says, “but there was no way we could be prepared for what happened. I was just blown away.”

The 10 Indiana University buddies quickly regrouped, recorded hit albums and now play 150 to 170 concerts a year all around the world.

Straight No Chaser comes to The Phil on Wednesday. The show is sold out.

The a cappella group performs a mix of pop songs from “Tainted Love” to “Wonderwall” to “Let’s Get It On” – often mixed together in unexpected ways.

Humor and the element of surprise are a big part of their shows – suddenly segueing, for example, from “The 12 Days of Christmas” to Toto’s “Africa.”

“We call that the ‘Straight No Chaser twist,’” Roberts says. “We’re always taking a different angle or coming up with some kind of surprise. That’s part of what makes it fun.”

Their 3 1/3-minute, career-making video captures a 1998 holiday concert in Indiana. Wearing their signature tuxedoes, the 10 singers weave in and out of popular Christmas songs, fight over who gets to sing the chorus, and even bust out with a little Toto.

Roberts admits he doesn’t get much of a spotlight in the video. But, then again, he’s used to that.

“Tenors get all the high notes and all the glory,” he says and laughs. “And I’m not cool enough to be in the basses. Nobody cares about the baritones.”

These days, Roberts holds down the middle notes and also handles the band’s finances. Roberts hasn’t seen the inside of a bank in seven years – unless you count depositing checks from the band’s exploding career.

Roberts still can’t quite believe he’s a professional musician. Back in 1998, Straight No Chaser wasn’t even famous in Indiana – let alone the world.

“I’m a full-time entertainer now,” Roberts says. “And it’s all because of that video.We had no idea that, 15 years later, something would come of that concert.

“It’s been quite a ride, and I’m still enjoying it.”

Straight No Chaser brings a capella with a twist to Savannah

By Justin Paprocki
The Island Packet & The Beaufort Gazette
May 2, 2012
...three years ago, he got the call he never really expected to come and jumped at the offer to rejoin Straight No Chaser.

"I was so surprised and honored," (Tyler) said. "You get to travel and sing. That's about as good as it gets."
Read more:

YouTube sensations bring harmony to Savannah

By Linda Sickler
Savannah Morning News
May 1, 2012
(Don) “When I was in high school, I was always involved with choirs and musicals and things like that. I was always very involved with music and I played guitar. I went to law school after college, but I was also in a band.”
Read more: