BY ALAN SCULLEY
FOR THE OBSERVER
AUBURN— The a capella musical group Straight No Chaser will perform at the Woltosz Theatre inside the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center in Auburn on Thursday, Nov. 16.
Holiday music has been a mainstay for Straight No Chaser throughout the group’s decade-and-a-half career, it said. In fact, it was a viral video of “The 12 Days of Christmas” that became an unexpected big break for the group.
Originally formed in 1996 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, the original members had gone their separate ways upon graduation, only to get the surprise of a lifetime after the video, which was posted online as part of a 10th-anniversary reunion of the group, caught on— and caught the attention of Atlantic Records.
Soon, calls were going out to the various singers, and Straight No Chaser, with a record deal in hand, had regrouped for a totally unexpected second chapter.
Thinking Christmas music was the perfect introduction to the group, Craig Kallman, the chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, had the group debut with the 2008 Christmas album, “Holiday Spirits.” It was an immediate hit. Since then, the group has released three more full-length holiday albums, five full-length non-holiday albums, as well as two holiday and four non-Christmas EPs. The second of the holiday EPs is “Stocking Stuffer,” a new eight-song release that includes several original tunes and a cappella interpretations of “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Feliz Navidad/We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
This year’s holiday tour will mark a return to familiar territory for the group, which has made these tours an annual tradition. But this past summer, Straight No Chaser switched things up for fans in a big way, releasing the yacht-rock-themed album “Yacht on the Rocks” and going on a tour during which the singers ditched their usual Rat Pack-styled suits for pastel-colored beach/boating attire.
But now the guys in Straight No Chaser are breaking out the familiar wardrobe again to celebrate the holiday season, while also mixing in some songs from across the group’s non-holiday albums.
“For the fall, we’re going to get back kind of what people expect in the fall, a lot of holiday music, some of those staples that people know and love us for and of course, new music as well,” said singer Seggie Isho. “We want to make sure we’re continuing to move the catalog forward, you know, so we’re not getting stale and singing the same songs. We have the lovely benefit of every song ever written [being] at our disposal. So, it’s pretty easy to put together some new stuff.”