Skip directly to content

Happy 2nd Birthday, Holiday Spirits!

The blog

  • Oct 28, 2010
    Happy 2nd Birthday, Holiday Spirits!

    Two years ago, on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, Straight No Chaser's debut album on Atlantic Records, Holiday Spirits, was released.  We in SNC found ourselves at our respective homes and workplaces, wondering where we were headed, how we were going make ends meet performing, and what putting a group of friends back together to sign a recording contract with one of the most storied labels in the industry truly entailed.  While a small handful of those early questions linger in our minds, now some 730 days since we were officially introduced to the world, I can attest that they are far outweighed by the amazing memories and strong(er) friendships that we've created along the way.

     

    (Rising in pitch) Awwwwww.

     

    Two years ago, I, for one, was weighing how long I could juggle a rewarding and enjoyable career teaching my guitar and voice students back home and a fledgling career as a professional singer that was rapidly thrusting each of us in SNC into uncharted territory.  In other words, none of us had a clue what was going to happen to us once Holiday Spirits was released.  For that matter, Atlantic Records had no idea what was going to happen.  Everyone took a moderate risk on us while we risked everything we had to see what could happen if we gave this all another shot; this time, on a much, much bigger scale than singing 30 minutes at an Alpha Chi Omega Mom's Weekend brunch.

     

    Back to 10/28/08.  SNC was not the line-up you'd see at a show now.  We had Steve, Dan, & Mike (Itkoff) alongside us (all of whom are doing great, by the way...) and had spent several months rehearsing Christmas songs as our work schedules permitted.  This usually meant we would work all week in our respective cities, meet in New York on a Friday, sing Christmas tunes for two days straight, fly home, and repeat the madness weekly for three months.  I recall Steve would rehearse with us for five hours in the morning, go perform in Mama Mia on Broadway, and meet us back at the rehearsal studio until we split for dinner at 8 or so.  To put it simply, all of us were freaking exhausted for most of 2008.  And, mind you, this was before we laid down one note in the studio!  If Marty McFly rolled up to me on the street tomorrow and invited me to take the DeLorean for a spin into the past, that taxing rehearsal period in New York would not be highest on my list (although it would be fun to be a fly on the wall and witness us learning some of those songs for the first time together...).  

    Seriously, typing that paragraph just made my Summer of 2008 twitch come back.

     

    On top of rehearsals and recording, we also had a tour shaping up for December that would end up taking us from coast to coast, up to Canada (eh) in radio stations talking to hosts who were sharing our music with their listeners for the first time, on studio sets for TV shoots, on basketball courts to sing the National Anthem, and packed into more cramped 15-passenger vans and cabs than I care to remember.  None of us knew how to pack efficiently for a tour (some still don't, but I won't mention any names, Charlie), one of us lost our luggage by an airline that rhymes with Mouthwest (I'm over it, really, I am), and let's never forget that each of us had a wife/girlfriend supporting us back home, each of whom had the same questions about everything going on as we did...  

     

    Since that Tuesday two years ago, we have been handed the opportunity to perform hundreds of shows for tens of thousands of people, produce a national PBS special that has reached countless more, collaborate with amazing artists, build a residency show from the ground up, meet fans of all ages (you're the best in the world!), and release three albums, an EP, and a DVD - of which nearly half a million copies combined have been sold.  Seriously, who gets to do this?  

     

    To some extent, we still don't have any idea what's going to happen in the future (who really does, after all?), but the number of question marks above our heads has diminished significantly thanks to the team of professionals we have been blessed to have working alongside us for nearly the past three years.  There are ten of us singing onstage every night, but without the hundreds of people working at our management company, record label, booking agency, etc. - some of whom we haven't even met - not to mention our families back home, we would have zero chance of being able to do what we do for a living.  If you are reading this and you are one of those people, we could never tell you how grateful we are for your daily support and "behind-the-scenes" effort to help our music be heard.  (Keep it up, please.)

     

    Holiday Spirits, Happy 2nd Birthday!  You're so cute with your gold-ish packaging, adorable Copperplate font, and completely outdated diamond group photo in your liner notes that makes Seggie, Tyler, and Don cringe a bit every time they see it in a signing line.  Enjoy your moment in the spotlight today; you've earned it.  Now blow out the candles so I can go to bed already...

     

    From a hotel room in Grand Junction, Colorado,

    Ryan

    43
    Blog category:
Ryan_5's picture
on 28 October 2010 - 3:36am

Two years ago, on Tuesday, October 28, 2008, Straight No Chaser's debut album on Atlantic Records, Holiday Spirits, was released.  We in SNC found ourselves at our respective homes and workplaces, wondering where we were headed, how we were going make ends meet performing, and what putting a group of friends back together to sign a recording contract with one of the most storied labels in the industry truly entailed.  While a small handful of those early questions linger in our minds, now some 730 days since we were officially introduced to the world, I can attest that they are far outweighed by the amazing memories and strong(er) friendships that we've created along the way.

 

(Rising in pitch) Awwwwww.

 

Two years ago, I, for one, was weighing how long I could juggle a rewarding and enjoyable career teaching my guitar and voice students back home and a fledgling career as a professional singer that was rapidly thrusting each of us in SNC into uncharted territory.  In other words, none of us had a clue what was going to happen to us once Holiday Spirits was released.  For that matter, Atlantic Records had no idea what was going to happen.  Everyone took a moderate risk on us while we risked everything we had to see what could happen if we gave this all another shot; this time, on a much, much bigger scale than singing 30 minutes at an Alpha Chi Omega Mom's Weekend brunch.

 

Back to 10/28/08.  SNC was not the line-up you'd see at a show now.  We had Steve, Dan, & Mike (Itkoff) alongside us (all of whom are doing great, by the way...) and had spent several months rehearsing Christmas songs as our work schedules permitted.  This usually meant we would work all week in our respective cities, meet in New York on a Friday, sing Christmas tunes for two days straight, fly home, and repeat the madness weekly for three months.  I recall Steve would rehearse with us for five hours in the morning, go perform in Mama Mia on Broadway, and meet us back at the rehearsal studio until we split for dinner at 8 or so.  To put it simply, all of us were freaking exhausted for most of 2008.  And, mind you, this was before we laid down one note in the studio!  If Marty McFly rolled up to me on the street tomorrow and invited me to take the DeLorean for a spin into the past, that taxing rehearsal period in New York would not be highest on my list (although it would be fun to be a fly on the wall and witness us learning some of those songs for the first time together...).  

Seriously, typing that paragraph just made my Summer of 2008 twitch come back.

 

On top of rehearsals and recording, we also had a tour shaping up for December that would end up taking us from coast to coast, up to Canada (eh) in radio stations talking to hosts who were sharing our music with their listeners for the first time, on studio sets for TV shoots, on basketball courts to sing the National Anthem, and packed into more cramped 15-passenger vans and cabs than I care to remember.  None of us knew how to pack efficiently for a tour (some still don't, but I won't mention any names, Charlie), one of us lost our luggage by an airline that rhymes with Mouthwest (I'm over it, really, I am), and let's never forget that each of us had a wife/girlfriend supporting us back home, each of whom had the same questions about everything going on as we did...  

 

Since that Tuesday two years ago, we have been handed the opportunity to perform hundreds of shows for tens of thousands of people, produce a national PBS special that has reached countless more, collaborate with amazing artists, build a residency show from the ground up, meet fans of all ages (you're the best in the world!), and release three albums, an EP, and a DVD - of which nearly half a million copies combined have been sold.  Seriously, who gets to do this?  

 

To some extent, we still don't have any idea what's going to happen in the future (who really does, after all?), but the number of question marks above our heads has diminished significantly thanks to the team of professionals we have been blessed to have working alongside us for nearly the past three years.  There are ten of us singing onstage every night, but without the hundreds of people working at our management company, record label, booking agency, etc. - some of whom we haven't even met - not to mention our families back home, we would have zero chance of being able to do what we do for a living.  If you are reading this and you are one of those people, we could never tell you how grateful we are for your daily support and "behind-the-scenes" effort to help our music be heard.  (Keep it up, please.)

 

Holiday Spirits, Happy 2nd Birthday!  You're so cute with your gold-ish packaging, adorable Copperplate font, and completely outdated diamond group photo in your liner notes that makes Seggie, Tyler, and Don cringe a bit every time they see it in a signing line.  Enjoy your moment in the spotlight today; you've earned it.  Now blow out the candles so I can go to bed already...

 

From a hotel room in Grand Junction, Colorado,

Ryan

Comments

S. Brandon's picture

Welcome, Joella! You will be blown away be a live concert. :-)
Joella's picture

What an awesome story!! I just discovered you guys about 20 minutes ago...I LOVE your music! SO much talent! I'm hoping to be able to make it to the Florida concert next month. My prayers are with you guys for safe travels and that you have the most amazing tour! :)
jamejimme's picture

it is really interesting one, nice to know about the SNC story, me and my younger sister love this band, your music is amazing and make fresh our mind, i enjoyed your journey during reading, God bless you always and best of luck for your future, great job and keep it up. thanks for sharing this Ryan. remote pc access software
Judy d's picture

Thanks, Ryan for your wonderful telling of part of the SNC story As many others have said, I am also grateful to the special people in your lives who love and support you; without them, you couldn't give so much of yourselves on stage and afterwards. Recently, I lost a member of my family. I had to keep going but I wasn't sure how. I took great comfort in the beauty and joy of your music, listening and singing along at work, home, and on my commute. It really helped...see, you do good things you don't even know about!!! (a side effect has been that my voice has gotten better which my choir directors like :) You are genuine people with a genuine talent -- thanks for taking all of us Chasers along on the ride. You rock!! God bless!!
Susan7103's picture

What a journey, and there should be several more years to come -- I'm hoping Decades!!! Keep these notes flowing, Ryan -- it's a remarkable story!
Penny Brannon's picture

Wow, it's so hard to believe it's been that long. Happy 2nd Birthday, Holiday Spirits. It couldn't have been done without you guys or the countless number of behind the scenes people. I was so thrilled we could pre-order. A few of us have been here shortly after this site was up. It's is so wonderful to see how many people have found SNC. You guys deserve all the attention. It's been a wonderful 2 years; and here's to many more!
Tina C. dappleddakota's picture

It's so fun being able to read what was going on at the time of the Holiday Spirits release... I can say that I was highly annoying a Border's employee over the phone about finding Holiday Spirits somewhere in the store and putting it on hold for me behind the checkout counter on October 28. :P For some reason they kept thinking Straight No Chaser was the name of the album, not the artist. ;) I then rushed to the store a couple hours later to purchase said CD. And put it on repeat. A lot. ^____^ I must say thank you for all that exhausting time and effort put into your first CD and all subsequent CDs... I've been able to purchase all of them the days they were released! I so appreciate all you guys do!
NancyeR's picture

I have to admit that I enjoy sharing my birthday with Holiday Spirits! even if I did not realize it at the time. I am so glad to see how well things are going for all of you. I look forward to where the group heads in the future. And I cannot wait for the next time I can see you all live.
Jennifer B's picture

Happy Birthday, Holiday Spirits! Thanks for another "fun to read" blog, Ryan! Always entertaining, informative, and appreciative. Here's to many more albums and their future birthdays! Jennifer
Michelle Z.'s picture

I am not one to write a whole lot on random websites, but having recently discovered SNC and in figuring out what you guys are all about, this site has become one that I feel comfortable in writing on. Plus, I feel that this warrants a huge Congratulations!!! Being a musician myself, I can only imagine what this must feel like. It has been a long time since I have enjoyed a group of musicians that seem so down to earth and personable. I appreciate all that you and your families are doing to bring all different genres of music forward through a cappella and the time that you give up with each other to do so. Please accept my warmest and best wishes for continued success and happiness in the future for both you and your families and here's to many more years to come ( as many as you would like!!!) Oh, and although it's not my favorite holiday....Happy Halloween!!! Michelle
Jillian's picture

Ryan, As a new "Chaser" all I can really say to this that hasn't already been said is a huge Thank You. I know I wasn't *around* for your initial release of Holiday Spirits, but I still appreciate all of the sacrifices that you all have made to make your dreams come true. SNC's music is really one of a kind, and I can't wait to see what else comes for your future. Best of luck and again, Thank You for bringing such great music to all of us. Jillian
S. Brandon's picture

What is there left to say, coming in a whole day after this was posted? So many of these folks have already said what I would want to say, and probably more coherently. Thank for you for the "birthday" reminder, and I hope you all do something fun to celebrate your firstborn today. Aside from loving the music, I remember seeing Holiday Spirits climb the sales charts on both Amazon and iTunes and watching with glee (no TV reference intended) when the CD hit #1 on each site. As exciting as I found that, I imagine you all were even more thrilled. You deserved every bit of that success, and it is so cool to watch (mostly online) as SNC gets better and better. As so many others have said, we continue to be both entertained and honored by the way you share yourselves with us. Please, the next time you all are home, or have your wives/significant others visit you -- give them a *big* hug from US, and tell them thank you. Thanks also to all of the behind-the-scenes men and women who help make the tours and recordings happen. [You don't have to try to hug all of them, as 1) they may be hard to find, and b) we would hate to see you wind up with some kind of harassment lawsuit over a mis-understood hug. Ryan, you in particular can't afford another incident on top of the only-in-a-towel-in-the-wrong-room event.] ;-) Our gratitude continues, not only for the current ten gentelmen, but to Mike I., Steve, and of course Dan. Thanks for the memories...and we look forward to the future of Straight No Chaser.
DottieK's picture

Thank you for sharing this with us Ryan! Thanks to the SNC guys for all their hard work & sacrifices. We (the fans) really appreciate it. Thank you so much SNC families for sharing these great men with the world!
NorwegianGoddess's picture

Thanks for a great show tonight. I was the one whoo-hooing on the left. Also many thanks for taking the time to meet with us and autograph our CD's, T-shirts etc. I'm sure that the gal you sang Happy Birthday to will always treasure the moment. Have a safe and happy tour. Sharon Anable, D.C.
Annie L's picture

Ryan, Another wonderful post-thanks for everything you do, including taking time out to share your thoughts and thanks with everyone. I love reading your posts, and cannot (at this moment!) find any better way to say what previous Chasers have written here - above all, expressing thanks to SNC, your families, and your families at the management company, record label, etc. - for the sacrifices you've all made, risks you've taken, and dedication you've shown throughout. Wishing all of you the best with every day, performance, and adventure you're on.
nikki24's picture

Thanks for sharing Ryan! I can't imagine the whirl wind you guys have been on since that youtube video has hit the internet! I have to say, I was hooked from first note! First time I heard 12 Days of Christmas on the radio, I had to have your cd. I downloaded Holiday Spirits the very next day! That was December 2008! I wore my family out on that cd! Now I have 2 1/2 (Does Six Pack count as a half?) to add to my collection! Not to mention the wonderful dvd and bonus tracks!!! Selfishly I can't wait for your guys to come back to Colorado, but I know it must be very hard to be away from your families at birthdays, anniversaries, and especially the holidays. So as a fan, I want to say THANK YOU! Not just for being awesome and so very talented, but because having met you guys twice, you're all SO nice! You're not fake, or put off by absolute strangers that are drooling all over you! I will always be a fan! Keep up the good work guys!
EileenR's picture

SO well written, Ryan. Don't twitch! We all join you in wishing Holiday Spirits a happy birthday. YouTube originally got you noticed on the internet, but Holiday Spirits sealed the deal by bringing your music to the airwaves. That CD definitely has a special place in my heart, as do all SNC members (past & present), staff, fans, family.
Lillian's picture

Thank you for another thoughtful post, Ryan. As difficult as it is to choose a single favorite SNC album, I'd have to say Holiday Spirits is mine. I became a Chaser last December and I always feel as though I missed out on a lot. So, I truly appreciate hearing about those earlier days and especially about Steve and Michael Itkoff and now, Dan. They played a big part in making SNC what it is today and what drew me to you in the first place. Your talents and sacrifices are not wasted on us. We love you all and wish you the best. And with your good graces and those of your colleagues and loved ones, I look forward to many, many more years of SNC music.
Jennifer_11's picture

Thank you to all 10 of you (and all the SNC guys before you too!) for making the sacrifices to share your talents with the world. I know my holidays will be alot brighter this year, as I am sure I will be playing the cd's pretty much non-stop (which, honestly isn't much different from this week when the gift set arrived!). One of the things I love the most about SNC is watching you perform. You "sing with a smile"...and therefore, everyone smiles with you! Thanks again for sharing yourselves with all of us....both on the stage and here....I feel like I have 10 new friends! Looking forward to seeing all of you again soon!! Love, Jennifer Turland Livonia, MI
Tic Tac Lady's picture

WHOOPS! P90X...had to go back and look at the pic of Jerome's clean socks to double check!! Kudos to you all doing that and all you guys who run! That probably helps keep you SANE with all the other busyness in your lives!
Kathleen's picture

Ryan, Great blog as always, you definitely can paint a picture with your words. I have often wondered how the SNC guys who took a step back (Mike I., Steve, Dan) and the new guys stepping in (Seggie, Tyler and now Don) felt when faced with emotions of past and present SNC. All I can say is I love you all. You have all contributed to this wonderful, amazing legacy.You are all a class act, no one sets themselves higher than the others, you compliment and complEment each other. All of you make SNC what it is, past and present. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making you who you are...absolutely unique in the world of music.
Tic Tac Lady's picture

For Ryan and all the other people who make SNC so special to all their friends and family..thank you and congratulations! Not needing to echo what everyone else has said since they have all said it so well and so eloquently and straight from the heart! It's always interesting to see who YOU all are *following*...and I'm sure it amazes you to see who all are *following* YOU (you are *our* famous people!)...and everyone gets such a pleasure in seeing your blogs and photos and videos and how much your fans mean to you! ECC 5:19 for continued enjoyment of your talents and LUKE 6:38 for giving so much to your audience! Keep up the good (although hard and challenging at times no doubt) work, and many blessings for the future! (Good job on the PX90...that is probably inspiring a lot of people too!).
KarenS's picture

Thanks for the word picture of those early days Ryan! That's an amazing amount of hard work and dedication. What a pleasure to see it paying off for you guys and for all of us fans. New album came while I was in Colorado and it is beautiful! (Wish I had had it for signing at the Broadmoor, but will make do with fun pictures-- many thanks again!). Looking forward to spending quality time with Holiday Spirits' brand new baby siblings, All I Want for Christmas and Extra Cheers. Here's hoping for many more additions to the SNC family! Congratulations all!
Terry Pius's picture

Wow, what a journey you have all taken! As so many others have said, THANK YOU for all you do and the sacrifices made by you and your families/loved ones. We love your music and you have brought more joy than you will ever realize to so many people (of all ages). And isn't just a great coincidence that "Holiday Spirits" was born on Daisy Kary's and Antoinette's birthday (LOL).
SamanthaBari's picture

Thank you so much for all that you guys do! You bring some pretty amazing music to the table and get to perform it for so many people (including me! Can't wait until you arrive in Boston)! I sometimes wonder what I'd be doing if I hadn't been introduced to SNC's music. I'm glad you guys took a chance and have so much fun singing. Congratulations on all your success & Happy birthday, Holidy Spirits~
MaryDSinTX's picture

Ryan, thank you for keeping up with the blog. I love the humor and your history is incredible. Each of one of you is an inspiration - you stepped out into the deep with courage and faith in each other. You had the talent, but your energy, and the way you all play off of each other as friends and good musicians with a shared history is truly unique - it really shows on the live videos. This is what will take you to the top and separates you from the rest. Plus, you guys are masculine, and that is somewhat rare in the arts and very attractive to your audience. It "sends me" anyway. That will also take you far, and the guys who don't have it can't fake it. Ditto: Julie's and SingForMe's comments on your sacrifice, integrity, dignity, respect for each other and your fans, and for your support group's hard work. I am a brand new fan who stumbled upon SNC on the web one week ago and fell hard. I have never been on any singer's fan page like this in my life, or cared to. You have renewed my faith and hope in good pop music and real classic singing without all the artificial aids: Clean, crisp, and so fun to watch and listen to. I've long been a fan of polyphony and Gregorian Chant, so a cappella naturally appeals to me. I haven't bought a CD in a long time, but I bought yours this week and downloaded singles on my iPhone. I haven't seen y'all live in person in concert, but because of these gracious fans, I get to see the videos they upload to get a taste.... so.... I finally got an OKC ticket for 11/9 (YES!!), so I am looking forward to the seeing and hearing the live SNC for the first time very soon! Can't wait to meet and greet.
SheriS's picture

As always, love your posts Ryan! Spirits really became the start, although you had been together way before. But still love it and will continue to listen to it during the holidays. It was and still is a great album, but with SNC all the music is amazing and a joy to listen to--specially when you just can't get enough of the incredible sounds you produce. Have fun on tour, and I will see 11/22 with a friend I took to your last concert in Virginia. We are both excited, but she doesn't have any idea how much better you are today then our first show! Thanks for a great post and the reminder of the release of "Spirits."
LovedeAcapella's picture

Yay! Rory and I (heart) the Straight No Chaser boys! We didn't order early enough for the childhood photo book, apparently, but we will love all the songs we know all over again, plus Extra Cheers. Especially "What Child Is This?" Wait. Steve was in Mamma Mia? On Broadway? Double WIN (as Shaina would say).
cant_wait_til_2012's picture

OH btw, you guys need to come back to the midwest again. Mhm, okay, Im done.
cant_wait_til_2012's picture

Holiday Spirits is the best CD out there to this day. People my age are captivated by the big Disney stars... nope, I'm sticking with the classics. I swear, give me the option for a free Miley Cyrus CD or pay 20 bucks for a SNC CD I'd go for SNC. You guys have beautiful voices that (I know you probably hear this from all your fans) I'd kill for. Atlantic Records did the best, most amazing thing in the world by singing SNC to a contract. You guys deserve more than just youtube videos. You deserve more praise and recognition than is granted to you. You are THE BEST. I've heard a LOT of different groups and artists, but you guys are still number one. If I ever hear a better group, I think I'll die. Thank you guys SO much for doing what you do. Thank you for making yourself available to the public, and being amazing singers who are still down-to-earth and funny. I love your music. You guys are my musical role models. Sincerely, A loyal fan :)

Pages