Straight No Chaser (SNC) is a professional a cappella group which originated in 1996 at Indiana University. In 2007, a 1998 video of "The 12 Days of Christmas", went viral with over 8 million views and subsequently led to a five-album record deal with Atlantic Records in 2008. The YouTube video has been viewed over 20 million times.
The group formed in 1996 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Dan Ponce, Randy Stine, Charlie Mechling, Steve Morgan, Jerome Collins, Dave Roberts, Walter Chase, Mike Itkoff, and Patrick Hachey became Straight No Chaser. Their name was inspired by the title track of Thelonious Monk's 1967 album, Straight, No Chaser, and is a conscious evocation of the popular American slang phrase often employed in requesting a drink.
SNC’s debut was at a 36-hour dance marathon. The original members performed at Chicago's Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park and Navy Pier, opened for Lou Rawls and even toured the country, playing such venues as Carnegie Hall. The original 10 remained together from 1996 until 1999 when new students were selected to replace the graduating members. Straight No Chaser continued to exist as a collegiate group.
When the original group reformed, both groups continued to exist under the name Straight No Chaser. In April 2012, the collegiate group changed its name to Another Round, taken from the name of an earlier CD that was released by the group.
Original group reunites
In April 2006, a 1998 video recording of "The 12 Days of Christmas" was posted on YouTube. The song was an adaptation of a 1968 comic arrangement of the song by Richard C. Gregory, a faculty member of The Williston Northampton School, for his a cappella group, the Williston Caterwaulers. SNC added their own touches, including songs like "I Have a Little Dreidel" and Toto's "Africa". It has received over 19 million views. After viewing the video himself, Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, called Randy Stine, who posted the video, and asked if the group would consider reuniting to record a new album.
In July 2008, eight original SNC members—Dan Ponce, Randy Stine, Charlie Mechling, Steve Morgan, Jerome Collins, Dave Roberts, Walter Chase, and Mike Itkoff, along with 2000–03 SNC members Mike Luginbill and Ryan Ahlwardt—recorded a Christmas album, Holiday Spirits, in Bloomington, Indiana. After appearances on TNT's Christmas in Washington, Fox's Fox & Friends, and NBC's Today on December 22, 2008, Holiday Spirits became the #1 selling album on both the iTunes and Amazon.com charts.
On August 18, 2009, SNC announced that Michael Itkoff and Steve Morgan had decided to step down from the group to spend more time with their families. SNC replaced them with Seggie Isho, originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and Tyler Trepp, originally from Urbandale, Iowa. Both Isho and Trepp were members of the collegiate SNC group at Indiana University: Isho 2003–05, and Trepp 2003–07. Don Nottingham replaced Dan Ponce in September 2010 when Dan decided to return to television journalism in Chicago. In December 2012, Ryan Ahlwardt left the group and Steve Morgan rejoined the group the following month. In May 2017, Don Nottingham left the group to spend more time with his family.
SNC taped a live concert special in New York City during the summer of 2009 that was aired nationally for several years on PBS stations during their pledge drives as a Christmas special, and again in the spring and summer, excluding the Christmas songs but including six not-seen-before pop songs.
On August 31, 2009, Straight No Chaser released an EP of six songs, titled Six Pack, continuing the band's tradition of album titles that engage the symbolism of bar-tending themes. On November 3, 2009, they released their second Christmas album, Christmas Cheers co-produced with Deke Sharon, and they released their first non-Christmas album, With a Twist, in April 2010. The album includes a song featuring Barry Manilow.
In April 2010 the group performed a TV theme song medley on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
In the summer of 2010 the group performed 40 shows at Harrah's Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Their 2010 fall tour was a 75-city tour of the United States, Canada, and the UK and featured their box-set titled All I Want For Christmas, which featured their two holiday albums and a DVD of their PBS special, Live in New York.
In 2011, Straight No Chaser took a break from their extensive touring to return to Harrah's Casino in Atlantic City for a 52-show summer residency with a show, Back to the Shore: Songs Through the Decades and More.
In October 2011 Straight No Chaser released a follow up to the Six Pack EP with Six Pack Vol. II.
In May 2013 the group released its fourth album on Atlantic Records entitled Under the Influence. The deluxe version of the album is 17 tracks, eight of which feature guest artists Sara Bareilles, Phil Collins, Elton John, Jason Mraz, Dolly Parton, Seal, Rob Thomas, and Stevie Wonder.
In November 2013 the group released a holiday EP, titled Under the Influence: Holiday Edition including "Wonderful Christmastime", a track with Paul McCartney.
In October 2015, the group released the album The New Old Fashioned. A year later, in October 2016, the group released I'll Have Another... Christmas Album.
|Title||Album details||Chart positions|
|With a Twist||29|
|Under the Influence||28|
|The New Old Fashioned||64|
|I'll Have Another...Christmas Album||47|
|Title||Extended play details|
|Six Pack: Volume 2|
|Under the Influence: Holiday Edition|
|Six Pack: Volume 3|