Monday, April 2, 2012

The ABCs of SNC: B is for... Beginning

1996 - While attending Indiana University, Dan Ponce hand picks nine friends from The Singing Hoosiers to sing with him in a small a cappella group "for girls and free food."  In the parking lot before their first performance at a dance marathon, they decide to use the name "Straight No Chaser" after the Thelonius Monk album. Over time their cover of Toto's Africa becomes one of their most popular songs, which they love, but they sing it until they're sick of it.  To change things up a bit, they mix it into the end of their cover of Richard Gregory's fun arrangement of The 12 Days of Christmas, giving it that now famous Straight No Chaser twist.

December 7, 1998 - SNC records a concert, "Straight No Chaser: Live at the Musical Arts Center." 12 Days is one of the highlights. The company that records the concert goes out of business and the guys never actually receive the footage.

Today this is a limited edition collector's item DVD.

The ten original members graduate, leaving behind the legacy of a hugely successful collegiate a cappella group that continues on without them under the name Straight No Chaser. Among those IU students who perform in the legacy group are Ryan Ahlwardt, Mike Luginbill, Don Nottingham, Seggie Isho and Tyler Trepp.

2006 - The SNC 10 year reunion is on the horizon. Original bass Randy Stine tracks down the video company and miraculously recovers the missing concert footage from his college days, converts and edits it, then for fun uploads a bit to a fairly new site called YouTube. For the first 18 months, nothing much happens, then suddenly the 12 Days video goes viral...
SNC Song of the Day: The 12 Days of Christmas (original from 1998)
Video: mikado95 (aka Randy Stine)

New Year's Day 2008 - Randy gets a text message from Atlantic Records CEO, Craig Kallman, inquiring about the 12 Days video and SNC. Dan and Randy subsequently fly out to LA to meet with Mr. Kallman, and then reconvene eight of the original group and Ryan and Mike L. to audition for Atlantic in NYC.

March 29, 2008 - Dan, Randy, Ryan, Mike L. and the rest of SNC - Charlie Mechling, Dave Roberts, Jerome Collins, Michael Itkoff, Steve Morgan and Walter Chase - sign a 5 record deal with Atlantic Records.
Video: SNCmusic

"A Cappella Dreaming: 10 Voices, One Shot"
New York Times October 3, 2008

"A Year of SNC"
2009 - Randy reflects on SNC's first year as a professional group.

Courtesy of Atlantic Records
This is known by the Chasers as the "diamond photo" because that's what
Michael Itkoff (the guy in the very front) calls it.


Unknown said...

I'm a Hoosier, so interesting to read this! I live about 30 minutes from IU!

Thanks for sharing!!

~Ola (a to z visitor)

SNC Quarter Notes said...

They come back and do concerts at their "home base" all the time, and I can't imagine there would be a better place to see them! Thanks for stopping by!


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