Friday, November 16, 2012

Gentleman's Rule

By Carla "blameCarla" Rodriguez

Photo from

The comparisons between Straight No Chaser and Gentleman's Rule are going to be inevitable. Both groups are alumnus of IU's Another Round (formerly IU SNC), both groups genesis involve Dan Ponce, and both groups are ten guys (both groups even include a Mechling). But if you ask Will Lockhart and Dan Ponce, that's where the comparisons will stop. Gentleman's Rule has ten very different voices and personalities and the sound, although it will have the same high levels of professionalism and genius as SNC, has morphed them into their own entity very quickly.

So "How did TJ Breen, Corey Frye, Drew Kipfer, Will Lockhart, Brent Mann, Luke Mechling, Andrew Morstein, Holland Nightenhelser, Jasper Smith, and Jesse Townes all get together?" and "How did Dan Ponce become involved?" you ask. Well, let me tell you!

According to Will Lockhart, the group was started last summer, in May of 2011. Half of them were still in IU SNC preparing for the 15th anniversary concert when Will saw a few audition notices for The X Factor and The Sing-Off and decided to send a mass email to singers from IU SNC past and present imploring them to audition with him. TJ Breen, the music director of IU SNC at the time, got a call from a Sing-Off producer personally inviting them to come to Chicago and audition for the show, and so they formed a group of great singers who had all been in IU SNC at one point in time.

"We rehearsed every night for a few weeks, gearing up for the audition," Will explained. "Our original name was TBA because we honestly could not think of a name that was better. Finally, tenor Corey Frye came up with Gentleman's Rule while he was in the shower and it immediately stuck. We auditioned for The Sing-Off and made a great impression on the judges, and honestly thought that we were going to make it on. We signed contracts and everything, but I think the fact that we got together just to be on the show turned the producers off a bit. I think they were looking for more of a back story from us. Something that would bring more ratings to the show.”

Imagine their surprise when they didn’t make the show.  They thought they would never sing together again as a group until, cue a bit later, they were called individually by Dan Ponce asking them to pursue the group full time. After a few small lineup changes, they met with Dan last August.  He played them his arrangement of "The Pachanelly Canon" and told them that he had backing/management/label for them. “Basically," said Will, "he gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity that none of us could turn down. Since three of our members were still in IU SNC at the time, we decided to let them finish strong and then we would dive headfirst into Gentleman's Rule."

Cut to Dan Ponce, who said he was looking for an outlet for his musical creativity. Not only did he create a label to sign Gentleman's Rule to, but he is co-managing and producing them along with Charlie Blum (the father of the bride in the "Pachanelly" video who also manages/produces male vocal quartet Under the Streetlamp). Dan also made his directorial debut on the "Pachanelly" video, which received over 200,000 views in the first six days. The directing experience, he said, was harder than he had expected, but a lot of fun and "(The video) came out exactly as I envisioned it ." Dan, his mom and his dad all have cameos in the video. Of course, Dan also arranged songs for Gentleman's Rule, and co-wrote the original song "I'm Coming Home" along with Mike Luginbill and Jerome Collins of Straight No Chaser.

The "Pachanelly" video was meant to be the opening salvo, the teaser if you will, in the career of Gentleman's Rule, and what an opening shot it was! I Googled the video five days after it was released and came up with 20 pages of reviews, including Mashable,, Fresh Musik, Carbonated TV and many others - some from around the world! Today it sits at 335,041 views.  Their second video “I Wish/Play That Funky Music” was released on September 3rd, and the video for "I'm Coming Home" was released on November 1st. (All videos were produced by Winky Productions.)

Cover image from
Gentleman's Rule released their debut album this week! Act Accordingly, which can be purchased on their site, features songs by a wide range of artists including Stevie Wonder, The Script, Peter Gabriel, Nelly, Bruno Mars, One Republic, B.o.B., Outkast, Gavin DeGraw, and more. I don't know about you all, but I couldn't wait for November 13th (the day before my birthday *hint* )!

There is a 16 date run at the Royal George Theater in Chicago going on now until Nov 25th, and a tour with labelmates Under The Streetlamp to look forward to. Chasers, let’s see them out on the road and welcome them Chaser style to the a cappella fans' world!

(A huge thank you to Dan Ponce and Will Lockhart for all their time and help with this post. I'm sure we will hear more from them very soon!)

Twitter: @GentlemansRule


Post a Comment