On-Air Highlights

Straight No Chaser -- Songs of the Decades

Written by witf | Nov 19, 2012 7:42 AM

On the heels of two successful PBS specials and sold-out tour dates all over the country, the 10-man a cappella sensation Straight No Chaser returns to public television with an all-new special, STRAIGHT NO CHASER — SONGS OF THE DECADES: HOLIDAY EDITION, part of special programming airing on witf on November 26 at 9:30 p.m., December 3 at 8 p.m., and December 4 at 1 a.m.

If the phrase “male a cappella group” conjures up an image of students in blue blazers, ties and khakis singing traditional college songs on ivied campuses … think again. The members of Straight No Chaser (SNC) — Randy Stine, Jerome Collins, Michael Luginbill, David Roberts, Charlie Mechling, Walter Chase, Don Nottingham, Ryan Ahlwardt, Seggie Isho and Tyler Trepp — are neither straitlaced nor straight-faced, but neither are they vaudeville-style kitsch. As original member Stine comments, “We take the music very seriously; we just don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

STRAIGHT NO CHASER — SONGS OF THE DECADES: HOLIDAY EDITION, filmed live during the group’s sold-out engagement at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, NJ, is a follow-up to SNC’s hit program, LIVE IN NEW YORK, which premiered on PBS to great success in 2009. The material in this new special is a journey through the decades of the pop songbook, including nods to everyone from Little Anthony and the Imperials (“Tears on My Pillow”), Elvis Presley (“Heartbreak Hotel,” Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock”), Buddy Holly (“That’ll Be the Day”), The Four Seasons (“Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry”), Stevie Wonder (“Superstition”), the BeeGees (“Stayin’ Alive”), Michael Jackson (“Billie Jean”), Madonna (“Like a Prayer,” backed by a sensational gospel choir) and Boyz II Men (“End of the Road,” which includes a surprise appearance by a very special guest) to a moving rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You” … all featuring SNC’s trademark harmonies and unique wit and charm. The evening is full of innovative musical mashups, clever costuming touches, sharp choreography and unexpected pleasures. For this holiday edition, the guys also add some popular Yuletide favorites, including a side-splitting arrangement of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and their trademark “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Asked about returning to PBS with a new special, SNC’s Charlie Mechling said, “As you can imagine, getting 10 guys to agree on anything is an adventure, but getting the opportunity to work again with PBS and creating this new special is something each one of us is thrilled about.”

Straight No Chaser has built a reputation as an unforgettable live act. During 2011 alone, the group will have performed for more than 500,000 fans in 175 shows throughout the world. They’ve come a long way since their initial YouTube video, a nearly decade-old performance of their unique arrangement of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” became a viral sensation in 2006, catching the attention of Craig Kallman, Chairman/CEO of Atlantic Records. Since then, they have been recording, touring, and performing nonstop — virtually reinventing the idea of a cappella on the modern pop landscape.

During the show, we'll be offering special Straight No Chaser themed thank you gifts for your donation to witf. For your gift of $65, you'll receive the "Songs of the Decades: Holiday Edition" DVD. For your gift of $75, you'll receive the "With a Twist Deluxe Edition" CD/DVD. For your gift of $125, you'll receive a combo of the two plus the "Christmas Cheer" CD. For your gift of $125, you'll receive two tickets to see the band at Hershey Theatre on December 22 at either 4 or 8 p.m.

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