SARAH VEST – STAFF WRITER
This performance has no backing band — just vocals straight, no chaser.
Straight No Chaser is a professional a cappella group that was founded in 1996 at Indiana University. This is the group’s fifth time performing at Chautauqua Institution, having previously taken the Amphitheater stage in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016.
Group member Tyler Trepp, who joined the professional group in August 2009 after being a member of the collegiate SNC, said that “it’s been a long time” since the group last performed.
During quarantine, SNC streamed two live performances while also working on recording their new album Social Christmasing. Their performance at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 30 in the Amp will be their first live performance in over a year, and kicks off “The Open Bar Tour.”
According to Trepp, the group is excited to finally be back in front of a live audience and back together after working remotely for so long. They added a new member, Jasper Smith, shortly before the pandemic hit after another singer, Dave Roberts, stepped back from the spotlight into an exclusively managerial role in order to spend more time with his family. Smith, like Trepp, was in the collegiate SNC before joining the professional group. This will be his first live performance.
“It’s going to be fun; we’re all looking forward to this first show,” Trepp said.
According to Trepp, the group is happy to have their first live performance of 2021 happen at Chautauqua because they always have an “awesome time” and that the crowds are “always great.” Trepp said that personally, he is feeling a combination of emotions and he doesn’t know what he is going to feel after they perform their first song and have a live reaction from an audience. He said it’s definitely going to be different from the “cardboard cutouts” he had at home.
As for their performance, the group has selected a variety of songs from their repertoire. They are including some of their older songs that Chautauquans may be familiar with from previous shows, as well as some songs that they are debuting on the tour.
“(There’s a) little something in there for everybody, whether you’re 8 years old or 80 years old,” Trepp said.
Trepp’s favorite song that to sing from their repertoire, ironically, is called “On the Road Again,” which has been mashed up with the Zac Brown Band song “I Play the Road.” He likes the way that the song is arranged, but also deeply relates to the song’s subject matter.
“The words are pretty pretty powerful when you sit down and think about it, especially now when we’ve been off the road,” Trepp said. “It hits a little bit harder. Its a song that I always liked before, but now it holds a special place in my heart.”