Straight No Chaser changes name


Straight No Chaser sings at the end of Yell Like Hell on Oct. 18, 2010, at Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union. IDS File Photo Buy Photos

“It was originally chosen because the group is a capella with no instruments behind the voices,” said Tyler Trepp, a member of the traveling Atlantic Records’ Straight No Chaser group. “Of course, we were also in college at the time, so that had something to do with the name choice as well.”

The original name came from an old jazz tune that the group sang back in 1996, Trepp said.

Senior TJ Breen, an arts management major, is the music director for the IU Straight No Chaser. With two groups sharing one name, Breen said trying to make both groups work under Straight No Chaser has been difficult.

“The Atlantic Records Straight No Chaser is one of the top touring groups in the country, and then we are one of the best undergraduate groups in the country, so both of us are doing a lot of shows,” Breen said.  “It just became evident that it was too hard to clarify the difference between the two groups, and that became a big problem for us.”

After the original members graduated from IU in 1999, they made the decision to keep an IU a capella group by having try-outs every fall and spring to recruit new members.

“Not a lot of other singing groups have another core, legacy group to mentor the singers and be there for whatever they need,” Trepp said.

Every member of the Atlantic Records touring group was once a member of the undergraduate group at IU. It comprises five members from the original group and five members who participated from 2005 to 2007. In an average year, they travel around the country performing more than 150 shows.

“We all had jobs before the YouTube video brought us back together, but now we sing together full time,” Trepp said.

When a video of the original members singing “12 Days of Christmas” went viral on YouTube in 2008, Atlantic Records contacted the group and offered them a five-album contract.

“We all had jobs before the YouTube video brought us back together, but now we sing together full time,” Trepp said.

With the older members newly resurrected, the undergraduate group at IU was still going strong, working under the same name.

After Saturday, however, IU’s undergraduate Straight No Chaser will be renamed Another Round . The name comes from an album that was produced in the early years of the undergraduate group.

“Because we’re changing our name, it’s still really important to all of us to maintain the legacy,” Breen said. “Just because the name changes and the numbers shift, every member of their group will still carry the traditions.”

Breen said the name change is to help distinguish the groups, not separate them in any way.

“It’s really important for us to have the legacy group because with new members cycling through, the undergraduate group will have a constant support base that always knows who is coming in,” Breen said. “The legacy group is going to be here to coach the younger guys, teach them how things are supposed to go, and show what this group’s about.”

Freshman Jonny Trubshaw is an informatics major and current undergraduate Straight No Chaser member. He said joining the group has been the best decision he has made at IU so far.

“I was walking to class one day and saw chalk on the sidewalk advertising the auditions. I had sang throughout high school and thought I would give it a shot,” Trubshaw said.

He said all of the members support the name change, although there was a little apprehension at first.

“At the beginning, when we were still discussing it, there was a little hesitation because the name is a big part of the group’s identity,” Trubshaw said. “But the more we thought about it, we realized that it’s a really good opportunity to distinguish ourselves from the touring group and remove the confusion.”

The name change will also help ease some of the restrictions the undergraduate group faces. Trubshaw said they couldn’t sell their music on iTunes and sometimes would have trouble signing up for musical competitions.

“This Saturday is essentially the last concert for IU’s Straight No Chaser, and the first concert for Another Round,” Breen said. “It’s an exciting new beginning.”

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