By Kaylia Metcalfe
Straight No Chaser (SNC) is the 10-member a cappella group that has been making headlines and changing the way mainstream pop culture views a cappella music. Since forming as students at Indiana University in 1996, the group has done amazing things including signing a major-label deal with Atlantic Records, embarking on nationwide multicity tours, having their story optioned by DreamWorks for an upcoming feature film and becoming a global sensation that has helped usher the instrument-free musical style into mainstream consciousness.
SNC’s attention to detail and strict quality control has led to an enviable career as the group sets itself apart from other a cappella acts with its contemporary repertoire and dynamic approach. “We just wanted to do music that we liked,” member Charlie Mechling says. “We didn’t want to do the standards that eight other groups were doing with the same arrangement that was being passed around. We wanted to do stuff that we heard on the radio, our own way, and then throw in choreography to make it a really good show. We wanted to have broader appeal.”
Their broad appeal is apparent to anyone who has seen their now viral video of the group’s humorous version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” on YouTube. Uploaded in celebration of SNC’s 10th anniversary reunion show at Indiana University, the clip has been viewed more than 16 million times, while SNC’s cumulative YouTube views clock in at nearly 50 million.
The group, which currently includes Walter Chase, Jerome Collins, Seggie Isho, Michael Luginbill, Steve Morgan, Don Nottingham, David Roberts, Tyler Trepp, Charlie Mechling and Randy Stine, signed to Atlantic Records in 2008 and have released two Top 10 holiday albums (2008’s Holiday Spirits and 2009’s Christmas Cheers), two EP’s (2009’s Six Pack and 2011’s Six Pack Volume 2), and 2010’s full-length With a Twist.
They have built a reputation as an unforgettable live act, earning the support of diehard fans, who call themselves “Chasers” and turn up at every SNC show. From their successful residencies at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, to traveling nonstop around the globe, to sold-out shows as one of Pollstar’s Top 50 touring acts, to television specials and performances, SNC truly shines on stage.
Their current tour includes Fresno, and the show will feature holiday music and selections from their latest album, Under the Influence. SNC will perform at the Saroyan Theatre (700 M St.), on Dec. 29. Tickets are available for purchase from the venue, and Gay Central Valley is doing a free drawing for tickets as well. Details can be found at www.gaycentravalleyblog.com.
Kaylia Metcalfe is a writer, blogger and activist in Fresno. She is a cofounder of Skeptics Without a Cause and serves on the Gay Central Valley Board of Directors. Her short story collection “Links” is available at www.amazon.com. Contact her at email@example.com.