A cappella groups sing all over St. Louis

"Aviously" someone who appreciates the #basslove. ;o)

By Kristin McGuire
The University News
November 30, 2012
Between songs, the men entertained the audience with funny bits. Charlie Mechling, one of the impressive basses in the group, gave a hilarious monologue about what it’s like to go to the movies. The group followed with a song consisting entirely of epic movie theme songs.
Read more: http://unewsonline.com/2012/11/30/a-cappella-groups-sing-all-over-st-louis/

Yes please!!!

A cappella group Straight No Chaser plays Gallo Center (Charlie)

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By Lisa Millegan Renner
Modesto Bee
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

It started as a singing group at Indiana University and turned into a national sensation. Straight No Chaser, a 10-voice a cappella male singing group, has sold more than 500,000 albums, been seen by 35 million YouTube viewers and attracted more than 200,000 Facebook friends.

The group comes to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on Monday toperform a mix of holiday favorites and other music.

Charlie Mechling, one of the group's original members, said fans (known as Chasers) like the ensemble's back-to-basics approach to music.

"In a lot of ways, people get tired of how overproduced some music is and some artists are," he said in a phone interview. "Overproduction takes away some of the heart and soul of music. What we do is refreshing to a lot of people. We don't get on stage every night and put on a perfect show, but we do our show in our way and we invite the audience to enjoy it and experience all aspects of it."

When the group formed in 1996, the singers never thought it would become a career. They enjoyed performing when they were college students and went their separate ways after most of them graduated in 1999. But in 2006, a YouTube video of an old performance of the group's creative rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" went viral and the singers decided to get back together. They signed a five-record deal with Atlantic Records and have been performing ever since.

Straight No Chaser hit a wave of popularity for choral music. Not long after the group signed its record deal, Fox TV launched its musical series "Glee" about a high school choir group, and NBC began airing "The Sing-Off," a singing competition featuring a cappella groups. "Pitch Perfect," a movie about an all-female college a cappella group, came out this year.

"Everyone is helping to spread a cappella music," Mechling said.

Meanwhile, an all-male a cappella group continues at Indiana University, but it has changed its name to Another Round, to avoid confusion with the professional group.

Mechling said Straight No Chaser has thrived because the singers work well together — not that they always agree on everything.

"It's like a family," he said. "Sometimes we get along and sometimes we go off by ourselves. We're like brothers. Nothing lasts too long."

So far, the group has released three albums — 2008's "Holiday Spirits," 2009's "Christmas Cheers" and 2010's "With a Twist." Another nonholiday album is due out in February. Mechling said audience members who haven't attended the group's shows before will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the live show.

"We have fun with the audience and break the fourth wall as much as we can," he said. "We're 10 guys who love music and goof around for two hours."

Straight No Chaser opens up another 'Six Pack'

Vocal group puts its unique a cappella spin on pop songs
By Alan Sculley
The Columbian
November 23, 2012
...Straight No Chaser is giving its audience more of what has attracted fans to the group in the first place. And why not? This 10-member all-vocal ensemble has become one of music’s more unusual success stories.
Read more: http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/nov/23/straight-no-chaser-downs-another-six-pack/

Straight No Chaser-SNC Live Tour Review

By José “Chach” Snook
November 23, 2012
SNC has a great knack for choosing soloists for their songs and Jerome Collins and Mike Luginbill truly shined as leads. That’s not to discount the rest of the group as each was given a chance to shine throughout the evening, including basses Charlie Mechling and Randy Stine when they were “allowed to actually sing lyrics and not just Da Dum, Doo, Dum.” Also, the clear music director of the group, in my eyes at least, was Walter Chase, complete with pitch pipe and count-offs. As I recall, Walter does quite a bit of the incredible arranging for the group.
Read more: https://www.casa.org/SNCtucsonreview

The Origins of National Underrated Basses Week

By Sara D. (@wtrfallprincess)
November 21, 2012

Last week the Chasers celebrated the Third Annual National Underrated Basses Week, or #NUBW, a holiday created in appreciation of our two favorite basses - Charlie Mechling and Randy Stine! While NUBW began as a project that I headed up and organized, these days it's run by the Chasers as a group, with someone different each year taking on the challenge of combining the ideas and posting the daily themes and so on. Today I thought I would answer the question: Just how does something like NUBW get started anyway? Ah, I'm so glad you asked! ;o)

Inspiration is a funny thing, isn’t it? You never know where you might find that spark, or to where it may eventually lead. NUBW was first a tweet that led to an imaginary song, then it became one day of celebration, and then it grew to a whole week.

June 13th, 2010, Sarah (@vocevivacest) mentioned on Twitter that she was so disappointed because she couldn’t watch the Tony Awards that night. To cheer her up, I teased her that we could have our own #FakeTonyAwards on Twitter, and I randomly started awarding Fake Tonys for mashed-up musical titles.

For example, the first Fake Tony of the evening went to Dmitry Kovalenko (@ifromukraine) for his portrayal of a baseball-loving Ukrainian farmer in Hot Sweet Potato: The Musical. Shaina (@shainae12) won best female vocals for her role in You’re a Good Chorus Line, Charlie Mechling! And Rosa (@RosaMHerrera) won the second Fake Tony Award of her career for Annie, Who Greased the Floor In My Little Shop?

Christine (@lovedeacapella) jumped in and tweeted that she was really looking forward to the new musical Tenor Training Wheels featuring the haunting melody, “Basses Anonymous.” Randy and Charlie have a joke about being in Basses Anonymous, because when they're singing on stage they feel like no one ever notices them since they don't have solos, and they don't sing real words and so on (remember that this was in 2010, before "Chicken Fried" and before "Grinch" and such). The "Tenor Training Wheels" are what Charlie calls Tyler and Walt when the three of them are singing the trio in "Hi-De-Ho." Charlie used to intro that song by saying that they didn't trust him, a bass, to "sing those, um, *snap* *snap* words" so they had to help him out.

Anyway, I LOVED Christine's idea, so I stopped for a few minutes just to see if I could think of any “lyrics” for the “song” for her. I amazed myself by actually coming up with two lines. I tweeted those in reply, we had a good laugh and I honestly thought that was the end of it...

Almost exactly a month later, I randomly woke up with more lyrics running through my mind. I was very surprised, at first I didn't even remember what song they were from. I laughed when I realized my subconscious had apparently continued working on the lyrics and I jotted them down. On the drive in to work that morning I heard a few more lines. By noon, I had figured out the rest and I was excited at having such a fun homage of sorts to the bass banter. Just for fun, I shared it with the SNC Twitterbugs (our group name for the Chasers who are on Twitter) and they encouraged me to send it to the guys, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Too shy. :o) I told the 'tbugs thank you for liking it and thinking that I should, and then joked that maybe someday I would give it to the guys in a card for National Underrated Basses Day, an imaginary holiday title I never thought would be real. At this point, I still had yet to get to my first SNC concert, so I guess in the back of my mind I thought it would certainly BE a holiday when I finally got to meet them. Once again, I thought that was the end of it...

Then one September day, Charlie finally got a Twitter. :oD That meant I could send the song to both of the guys at once, quietly, and it wouldn’t show up to anyone except for them, Ryan, and the ‘tbugs. I was still feeling shy, but I gradually grew more comfortable with that idea. A little bit planned and a little bit spontaneous, on Oct 14th I took a deep breath and finally hit send to launch the first ever National Underrated Basses Day. I posted the song lyrics in a TwitLonger and explained that we were celebrating the two of them for the day in appreciation of their talents and contributions to the group.

It was a fun day with quite a few tweets from other Chasers who caught on to what I was doing, but when it was over I got feedback from the Chasers who had missed it. The consensus was that NUBD was too spontaneous and too short! haha I was asked if I would do it again so that everyone could join in celebrating and appreciating the basses. Honestly, I didn't want to repeat myself exactly so soon after the first one, I thought that would be kind of silly (because celebrating an imaginary holiday is serious business! lol). And I was pretty sure that it would be difficult to find a single day that would fit everyone's schedule. So I suggested we try to expand it to a week and see what kinds of ideas we could come up with as a group.

Everyone helped with the brainstorming, and we made a list of topics and themes for every day of the week.  I coordinated everything and TinaC. (@xtinacrouch) was my most excellent vice-president throughout; I couldn't have done it without her help.  Jillian (@jillian_ashton) commissioned an awesome official NUBW logo for us designed by Augustine "Auggy" Kim, which we were all able to use as FB and Twitter icons. Carla (@marcaich) added the idea for an edible arrangement. We all pitched in and she took care of sending them this crowning touch, something that the SNC guys now associate with their respective holidays.  I have to say that the teamwork and collective creativity of the Chasers are truly astonishing when we're focused together on a goal!

The first NUBW took place the week of November 1st-7th, 2010.  And so it was at last, after almost five months in the making and through the help of another Chaser who delivered them for me, that I finally did send the basses some cards for National Underrated Basses Week! I included an explanation of how the whole thing got started and a copy of the lyrics for their (hopeful) amusement.

Occasionally people have asked me if there’s a melody to the “song.” There really isn’t. I did notice later that “I’m just an anonymous bass” happens to have 8 syllables, so maybe it’s a descending scale to their lowest possible note (A1-flat, for you trivia buffs out there). Otherwise, I feel like it has a kind of tongue-in-cheek Eeyore “thanks for noticin’ me” quality to it. I also think it’s fun that it begins with “Basses Anonymous” and ends with “Anonymous Basses.” That's just how it worked out. It's kinda nice when that happens.

Before the week was even over, I was already getting questions about the rest of the SNC guys – specifically, when were the weeks for the baritones and the tenors going to be??? Before I agreed to anything more, I wanted to make sure this project would even work well, that the guys would be okay with it, and I also wanted to be sure that the tone of the celebration stayed respectful of the guys as well as appreciative. I’m proud to say it succeeded in all regards, so after a bit of a break we started preparations for the next holiday. But that’s a story for another post. ;o)

“Basses Anonymous”

(Randy & Charlie)
“Basses Anonymous” / That’s him and me
Does anyone know that we’re here?
We keep a steady beat / we average six feet!
Yet somehow we both disappear

I’m the guy at the end of the row
But still no one sees me / No one knows / my name
I stand here and oom pah pah
I’m just an anonymous bass

The tenors get all the girls / the ones with the bouncy curls
I’m heard but not seen / though I’m part of the team
I’m just an anonymous bass

(Randy & Charlie)
We never sing actual words
They think we don’t notice *pause* / but we do
Our dream is to sing the mel-o-dy
and let them sing shoo wah mmmm bah oooo

(Randy & Charlie)
At least we have each other
My colleague, my friend, my brother
Our voices may tickle / but you won’t know our faces
‘cause we’re only Anonymous Basses!

Second life for a capella ensemble (Dave)

By Dan Taylor
The Press Democrat
November 20, 2012
Q: Was that a difficult decision to make?
A: You know, people kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to leave my stable day job. During 2007 and 2008, a bank job in New York was anything but stable.
Read more: http://707.pressdemocrat.com/2012-11-20/featured/second-life-for-a-capella-ensemble?all=1

REVIEW: Straight No Chaser stirs up cheering Paramount crowd

By Diana Nollen
November 15, 2012
 Nobody mashes up melodies like Straight No Chaser.
Nobody mashes up melodies like Straight No Chaser. - See more at: http://hooplanow.com/2012/11/15/review-straight-no-chaser/#sthash.BfHLxnnl.dpuf
Nobody mashes up melodies like Straight No Chaser. - See more at: http://hooplanow.com/2012/11/15/review-straight-no-chaser/#sthash.BfHLxnnl.dpuf
Nobody mashes up melodies like Straight No Chaser. - See more at: http://hooplanow.com/2012/11/15/review-straight-no-chaser/#sthash.BfHLxnnl.dpuf
Read more: http://hooplanow.com/2012/11/15/review-straight-no-chaser/

Hat Tip: @lynnholle

Straight No Chaser is just taking it all in (Charlie)

By Sean McDevitt
Evansville Courier
November 4, 2012
Straight No Chaser, as it has ably demonstrated over several releases, applies complex arrangements and tight harmonies to classic, familiar songs, sans instrumentation, resulting in something that's simultaneously contemporary and timeless.
Read more: http://www.courierpress.com/news/2012/nov/04/straight-no-chaser-is-just-taking-it-all-in/

Hat Tip: @lynnholle

Straight, with no chaser

Band Member Don Nottingham reflects on the start of a cappella group Straight No Chaser’s career
eGC3 Media
By Harley Torres
November 1, 2012
“If you have a passion in life then never let that talent, gift or whatever it is fade”
Read more: http://www.egc3media.com/silhouette/straight-with-no-chaser-1.2942353#.UeXXr21hM2G