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Straight No Chaser Biography

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Genres: Pop, Seasonal

Straight No Chaser (SNC) is the name of two related but separate a cappella men's singing groups. The Indiana University amateur college group now known as "Indiana University's Straight No Chaser" is composed of 10 to 12 undergraduate men whose lineup changes every year. The professional group, known simply as Straight No Chaser, is composed of former members, mostly original members, of the college group.

In 2006, a 1998 video of "The 12 Days of Christmas," went viral and subsequently led to a five-album record deal with Atlantic Records in 2008. The YouTube video has been viewed by more than 11 million people.

The collegiate group was formed in 1996 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Together the 10 students -- Dan Ponce (the founder), Randy Stine, Charlie Mechling, Steve Morgan, Jerome Collins, Dave Roberts, Walter Chase, Mike Itkoff, Patrick Hachey, and Kevin Caroll, 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 the requesting of a drink.

SNC’s debut was at a 36-hour dance marathon. The original 10 remained together from 1996 until 1999 when new students were selected to replace the graduating members. As of 2010, approximately 60 students have been members of Straight No Chaser.

In July 2008, eight of the original 1996-1999 SNC members — Dan Ponce, Randy Stine, Charlie Mechling, Steve Morgan, Jerome Collins, Dave Roberts, Walter Chase, and Mike Itkoff — along with 2000-2003 SNC members Mike Luginbill and Ryan Ahlwardt — recorded a Christmas album, “Holiday Spirits,” in Bloomington, Indiana.

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 bartending 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.