Everyday thousands of people post videos to YouTube hoping that the right person will see it and vault them into instant stardom.
About seven years ago, one of the ten members of the a capella group, “Straight No Chaser” posted a video of them singing their humorous version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The video went viral, and chalked up millions of views, including one by Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman.
Saturday, they appeared at a sold-out Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News, delighting the audience with their unique sound and genuinely funny banter and choreography. For 90 minutes, these men created a sound so rich, so amazing, that the crowd immediately jumped to their feet for a standing ovation and were rewarded with two extra songs.
This group is a throwback in sound and appearance. They look classy, sound great and seem authentically happy to be entertaining people. They invite the audience to take photos, videos and they even stay around following the performance to sign autographs. They seem like legitimately nice guys, and what’s more they are extraordinarily talented.
Whether crooning a medley of Franki Valli songs, or their cover of “Let it Go,” they meld perfectly, producing a sound that makes you think there are musicians playing under them. But it’s just them—an incredible blend of human voice and human spirit that gave this performance tangible excitement. I can’t say enough good things.
All the men have solos, some more than others, like Jerome Collins who’s voice of velvet wrapped around several tunes, with my favorite, the final curtain call of “To Make You Feel My Love,” which in a word was breathtaking.
But there aren’t any real stars in Straight No Chaser. They aren’t one-upping each other. The all sing and interact, generously sharing with each other and the audience. You are introduced to them all, and you get a tiny glimpse into their personalities. One of the high points of Saturday’s performance was when Steve Morgan shared that he had once worked at Busch Gardens. The crowd erupted with laughter and support as he recreated some of his Festhaus moves and shared stories of wearing lederhosen.
If you ever have the chance to see this group—if you are in a city where they are playing, buy a ticket. I am sure you will be glad you did. You can’t help but smile. It is well worth the price to hear and see what can be accomplished through the vocal instrument and the magic that can happen with an audience eager to listen.