Straight No Chaser, the former IU a cappella music group that became popular due to its versions of traditional Christmas songs, is coming home for the holidays this year.
Jerome Collins, a tenor in the group, said one thing IU taught him was he needed to be himself on stage and have fun performing. He said IU played a large role in the formation of the group and the group members’ relationships with each other now.
“I’ve learned just to be a crazy nut on stage like these guys are because that’s what we were,” Collins said. “We were friends that made our own little singing fraternity.”
The group, known for energetic performances and an unorthodox approach to a cappella music, according to its website, will be performing at 8 p.m. Wednesday night in the IU Auditorium.
“That is what made Straight No Chaser what we were,” Collins said. “We weren’t what you thought of as a cappella. We wanted to do songs that we liked and listened to on the radio.”
The original 10 members split up for a time after graduation to pursue careers outside of music, according to its website.
The group eventually got back together and reached new levels of fame when footage from its 1998 performance of “12 Days of Christmas” went viral on YouTube group has since been known for its holiday music and albums, but it has branched out with a few non-seasonal compilations.
Collins said the group’s ultimate goal is to give audiences a different kind of a cappella performance.
The band, which formed in 1996, still accepts IU students into its campus group of the same name and allows them to perform alongside veterans and newcomers alike.
The performance in Bloomington is part of the band’s “I’ll Have Another” tour that will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Six of the founding members will return to Bloomington on Wednesday to perform, but some of the original members have stepped away to pursue careers unrelated to music or spend more time with family.
Collins said the group has always talked about having a reunion tour like this in order to keep up with former members, but he has been shocked at how much Bloomington shares their passion for a cappella.
“Nothing like coming to our home,” Collins said. “We said we were going to come back in 20 years to see how this group was going. Never thought we’d be coming back to a sold-out auditorium.”
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