Straight No Chaser is back living their best life
The nationally touring acapella group comes to The Weidner Center on Oct. 27
By Erin Hunsader
What do you get when you put a bunch of college guys together in a room who can’t stop singing? You get the harmonious blend of acapella group Straight No Chaser.
The ensemble, known for their smooth vocal harmonies and perfect pitches, is back on the road and coming to Green Bay.
Member Tyler Trepp (Tulsa, OK) said this is Straight No Chaser’s first time singing in the frozen tundra, and there are a few things (and people) they’re looking forward to while here.
“We start rehearsals for our big fall tour which I know that Green Bay is a part of and we’re excited to come,” Trepp said. “I think it is our first time ever performing in Green Bay. I want to just go ahead and invite Aaron Rodgers to the show, That’d be great.”
Football aside, Trepp said the group can’t wait to get back to their fans after the last 18 months of discord, with not being able to perform due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The group has been harmonizing together since 1996. He recalls how they got their start as a group of friends singing together in college.
“We started as a college group back in 1996 at Indiana University in Bloomington,” Trepp said.
“We were sort of a singing fraternity.”
Trepp said the original members performed on campus for fun and never had intentions of singing professionally until a random event in 2007 that catapulted them into the spotlight.
“In 2007, one of the original members put a video of our original group from 1996 and 1998 on (the then) newly created Youtube,” Trepp said, “and in one month it got like a million views and ended up with 7-million views for that year.”
While Trepp admitted that doesn’t seem like a lot of views now, back then when Youtube was just getting started, it was a big deal. And it only took a view from one of those people to change the singing fraternity’s lives forever.
“One of those views was the wife of the CEO of Atlantic Records Craig Kallman,” Trepp said, “he called one of our guys (Randy) and said ‘you guys are great, I want to give you guys a record deal.’”
This was after the singers had graduated and gone their separate ways. So, Randy tried to get the band back together to share the good news.
“In 2008 the group kind of reformed and was under Atlantic records. Some were original members and some were not,” Trepp said. “I came in 2009 when one of the other members couldn’t go on tour so I started then.”
Trepp was 24-years-old when he joined the tour and said it was a dream come true, something he thinks about to this day when he tells people what he does for a living.
“It’s been really cool that we get to call this our job,” Trepp said.
Trepp said one of the proudest factors the acapella group has is their strong relationship with their fans.
We’re really proud we can continue to do this for so long and that the fans keep coming to the show,” Trepp said. “We have really loyal fans, we call them ‘chasers’, they’re just great.”
Despite the strong support of their fanbase, the past year and a half has been a punch in the gut.
“It was really heart wrenching because that’s what we love to do,” Trepp said. “It’s our job and we couldn’t do it and it was sort of one of those things where you thought something like this could never happen.”
Trepp said they tried to lean on positivity to get through difficult times. The group recorded material from home, including a Christmas album, and a handful of live-streamed concerts.
We did two sets of live stream shows,” Trepp said, “one in December and one in May (of 2020), for a bunch of cardboard cutouts that stayed pretty quiet mostly.”
Trepp said the group made the best of a bad situation and a cadence of positive things has happened since they started touring again.
“It was a year where we had to think on our feet for a little bit,” Trepp said. “We knew what we couldn’t do so we focused on what we could do, and it was tough and challenging but I think we came out at the other end better and this last 6 months has been very positive.”
Straight No Chaser channeled that positivity and aptly named their debut comeback tour “Back in the High Life” a mentality all of their members abide by.
“We’re back to the high life of what we do,” Trepp said. “(We’re) living this awesome life of getting to sing and perform and do what we love and it was taken away from us in 2020 and we’re just ready to get back into it and share our music and our songs for the audiences and the fans who have missed us.”
More information about the Oct. 27 event can be found at www.weindercenter.com.
Erin Hunsader is an Arts and Entertainment Reporter for Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected].