Straight No Chaser to bring a cappella to Augusta

While Straight No Chaser will sing a lot of holiday-related songs at their Bell Auditorium concert, they also have recorded an array of other music. JIMMY FONTAINE/SPECIAL

The decade-old video uploaded to YouTube was a Christmas memory from their college days at Indiana University.

 

It showed the group, Straight No Chaser, singing an a cappella and modified version of The 12 Days of Christmas.

“It was a memory for us, and it sat there for a whole year,” said Steve Morgan, a member of that original group who still tours with it today. Straight No Chaser will bring its a cappella sound and its Speakeasy tour to Bell Auditorium at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12.

But something happened in 2007. Facebook was still rather young, but people started posting and sharing the video.

Morgan said people even shared it with him.

“They’d say ‘you’re going to love this.’ And I would say ‘see the guy that looks like me. That is me,’ ” he said.

The video went viral, and it wasn’t long before Straight No Chaser was back together and performing concerts across the country. In the past decade, they’ve recorded several CDs including six Christmas ones and several “six packs” with six songs.

That first version of The 12 Days of Christmas included a mash-up of several other holiday songs such Deck The Halls, Santa Claus is Coming To Town, Carol of the Bells, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Dreidl Song, finishing up with Toto’s Africa.

“The arrangement had been around since the late 1960s. It had been part of the a cappella canon, but we took it. In Indiana, we were known for Africa so when we tagged it on, it was an Easter egg for those who knew us,” he said.

Morgan said they try to shake up their lineup of holiday songs and even play with the arrangements to keep them fresh.

While they do sing a lot of holiday-related songs and are likely to sing a few at the November date, the group has recorded an array of other music including Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Like a Prayer and a mash-up of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean and Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison.

Morgan said many of the original members had embarked on music-related careers after college. Morgan had performed with shows such as Mamma Mia! on Broadway, but the video’s going viral sparked their professional career together.

Not long after Straight No Chaser’s video went viral, there was a renewed interest in a cappella music with movies such as the Pitch Perfect trilogy, which debuted in 2012 and has the third movie in the series set for a December release, and television shows such as The Sing Off, which aired from 2009-2014.

Morgan said it was a beautiful twist of fate, and they are excited to be coming to Augusta. Tickets range from $29.50 to $54.50 and are available at augustaentertainmentcomplex.com.

 

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