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a cappella small world

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  • Oct 24, 2011
    a cappella small world

     

    It was a dark and stormy night…wait, no, that’s not right.

     

    It was a sunny and bright fall morning. This fateful day saw a high school sophomore sleepily stumble across Simms St. into Chatfield Senior High. After dozing through Algebra II and American Literature, Don found his way into his third period choir class. Little did he know that his next class period would change his life forever.

     

    No, it wasn’t another day that Mr. Roberts would launch into a near-incomprehensible rant about orphans in Bosnia or refugees in Somalia (these happened regularly, trust me). A guest group had come to perform. A graduate of CSH, Tony Huerta, had brought his 5-person a cappella group, Exact Change* (a lot of these memories are pretty hazy, so don’t quote me on the group name…or anything else) to perform. They were all students at the University of Northern Colorado, renowned for its vocal jazz program. As a young, impressionable student lacking any instrumental abilities, Don was inspired. Between this group and watching Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Don’s future musical endeavors (endeavours for our British fans) were now set in stone. These influences led to numerous high school a cappella group performances (including If I Ever Fall in Love, Up the Ladder to the Roof, Never My Love, Sittin’ in Limbo, and Everything to Me), Don went on to sing with not one but two a cappella groups in college…and now he spends some time singing as well.

     

    So why bring this up now? Well, we got a new sound guy. This move was born out of both necessity and selfishness: necessity, because we’ve got more set, more lights, more sound, and more diva attitudes than ever (that last one is not true), so somebody needed to keep Korby from strangling one or all of us; selfishness, in that we wanted to free Korby from the confines of the sound board and be available for answering our questions and being there for the folks who run the venues – basically, being our road dad, like our real dads, only younger, more patient, and with more hair and more motorcycle experience.

     

    So we got a sound guy with considerable singing experience of his own. Trist Curless is a member of M-Pact, an a cappella group that SNC actually sang with when some of us were in college.

     

    I imagine you’re still confused. When I mentioned to my high school buddy Matt (an a cappella dork in his own right) that Trist was going to be on tour with us, it was he who remembered that Trist was also in Exact Change. I can’t imagine that Trist remembers it, but he and I met in 1992, when I was about 15 years old. Making sense yet?

     

    So my guess is that Trist will have no idea that we met before until he reads this blog. Small world, eh?

     

    *Trist notes that the group was called Exact ¢hange (with a cent symbol for the “c”).

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Don_3's picture
on 24 October 2011 - 12:46am

 

It was a dark and stormy night…wait, no, that’s not right.

 

It was a sunny and bright fall morning. This fateful day saw a high school sophomore sleepily stumble across Simms St. into Chatfield Senior High. After dozing through Algebra II and American Literature, Don found his way into his third period choir class. Little did he know that his next class period would change his life forever.

 

No, it wasn’t another day that Mr. Roberts would launch into a near-incomprehensible rant about orphans in Bosnia or refugees in Somalia (these happened regularly, trust me). A guest group had come to perform. A graduate of CSH, Tony Huerta, had brought his 5-person a cappella group, Exact Change* (a lot of these memories are pretty hazy, so don’t quote me on the group name…or anything else) to perform. They were all students at the University of Northern Colorado, renowned for its vocal jazz program. As a young, impressionable student lacking any instrumental abilities, Don was inspired. Between this group and watching Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, Don’s future musical endeavors (endeavours for our British fans) were now set in stone. These influences led to numerous high school a cappella group performances (including If I Ever Fall in Love, Up the Ladder to the Roof, Never My Love, Sittin’ in Limbo, and Everything to Me), Don went on to sing with not one but two a cappella groups in college…and now he spends some time singing as well.

 

So why bring this up now? Well, we got a new sound guy. This move was born out of both necessity and selfishness: necessity, because we’ve got more set, more lights, more sound, and more diva attitudes than ever (that last one is not true), so somebody needed to keep Korby from strangling one or all of us; selfishness, in that we wanted to free Korby from the confines of the sound board and be available for answering our questions and being there for the folks who run the venues – basically, being our road dad, like our real dads, only younger, more patient, and with more hair and more motorcycle experience.

 

So we got a sound guy with considerable singing experience of his own. Trist Curless is a member of M-Pact, an a cappella group that SNC actually sang with when some of us were in college.

 

I imagine you’re still confused. When I mentioned to my high school buddy Matt (an a cappella dork in his own right) that Trist was going to be on tour with us, it was he who remembered that Trist was also in Exact Change. I can’t imagine that Trist remembers it, but he and I met in 1992, when I was about 15 years old. Making sense yet?

 

So my guess is that Trist will have no idea that we met before until he reads this blog. Small world, eh?

 

*Trist notes that the group was called Exact ¢hange (with a cent symbol for the “c”).

Comments

trailguide15's picture

Don, you have such a way with story telling that I think you should keep a diary of your SNC experience. It could provide twitters and you have a lot of Chasers with iphone in hand just waiting to hear from all of you. Well, maybe we aren't that dedicated...but almost! :-) Better yet, it would provide documentation for a book or video later and writing down all the little gems as they happen will add up faster than from memory (from writing experience). Little funny comments made when the guys are waiting for lunch, take 5 at rehearsal, en route, or comments from the audience that aren't understood by everyone are what we Chasers are waiting for. Thanks also for the songs that make us think about difficult situations, strength is gained by stress (weight lifting for instance) -- and if we ignore our pain we don't grow stronger. If something makes you laugh or re-evaluate something you thought you understood chances are we will experience that too. We all obviously enjoy each others company so think about 15 minutes each day with your notebook.Thanks for all the joy and growth you bring to our lives. Welcome Trist, from the Chaser world.
Annie L's picture

Great read, Don! Thanks for taking us back in time and then bringing it all full-circle with a fabulous introduction of your new sound guy! Welcome, Trist! Enjoy the Fall Tour, Gentlemen!!
LovedeAcapella's picture

At the risk of being stalker-esque (or perhaps just a social media ninja): http://www.m-pact.com/fr_home.cfm @mpactbassman (that's right, Chasers - more #basslove) #kmerchstillneedsatwitter
S. Brandon's picture

Marcaich has it -- I didn't quite know how to phrase it. Or is he still in the dark? ;-)
Marcaich's picture

So who was the first to ask him "Do you know what your getting yourself in to?" lol
S. Brandon's picture

Thanks for the blog, Don, but you left out a couple of important pieces of information: 1) Does he "go by" Trist, or Curless, or something else entirely, like Rufus, or a random color? After all, "Korby" is kind of one-name fame like "Cher," right? 2) Which "c" was the cent sign?
ngj3's picture

Great story! Thanks for sharing your "memories" and introducing us to Trist.
SheriS's picture

Thanks for the new insight into the real Don! And to Trist, you are in for a very strange and exciting ride with some really good singers who have become great and fun to watch and listen to. From past blogs, pictures, and seeing with my own eyes--life with SNC is definitely an experience worth every moment! Look forward to the Norfolk VA concert and getting impatient for the chance to see SNC again. Continued safe travels!
EileenR's picture

LOL @ the diva attitudes comment, Don! Thanks for a fun blog post, and a roundabout intro to your new sound guy. Welcome, Trist! Looking forward to hearing your handiwork in a couple weeks in Baltimore. PS- I think Don had an ulterior motive in posting this- he wants us to know he is no longer "the new guy".
GML's picture

Sounds like kismet to me: #SNC with a Trist!
GML's picture

Great blog and share Don. Thank You! (I look forward to reading more in the future!) Welcome Trist! I look forward to meeting you! Stay safe and healthy guys! @El in Fishers - I echo the sentiments you eloquently expressed!
ChaserJulie's picture

Thanks for the new entry, Don! Sounds a bit like serendipity! I'm sure there has to be a blog somewhere among the 10 of you that relates to the Ten Degrees of Kevin Bacon, lol. I've often wondered how Korby did everything for the group and had been the sound guy, as well! Happy to hear that Trist has joined the crew. Welcome, Trist!! I hope you're enjoying your SNC experience so far. If you didn't think you'd meet fans of the group while doing this gig, just talk with Lloyd, er, I mean Blaine, uh, wait, BLAKE! Yeah, Blake, that's it. Continued health and safe travels to all. See you in November!!
Rich Bentel's picture

Don - great blog! Really cool story, though I have to disagree with Victoria. We need more blogs from both you and Ryan and if your sleep is sacrificed, well, there's always time for sleep. Like maybe during Walt's three minute song intros :)
Victoria_G's picture

Thanks Don. Seems like the world gets smaller every minute. Thanks for the tale. Love reading these and keep them coming. Of course do not sacrifice your sleep to do them; just when you find the time. And I'm sure Mr. Roberts rants aren't that bad -- though would love to know his take on the Wall Street Zuccotti Park. Wait, I digress. Welcome Trist to the tour, SNC family and thanks for all you do to help make Korby's life easier.
cruiserkelli's picture

Another awesome look into the world of SNC! Thanks for sharing some of your acapella history with us Don. Welcome to the Chaser family Trist...we're an intense but fiercely loyal bunch of folks...don't be scared...we mean no harm. We come in peace and love which will be shared with you as a part of our Chaser family!! Hope you enjoy spending time with us!! Look forward to meeting you in a few weeks.
El in Fishers's picture

Ah, Don...written like a twisting Robert Ludlum novel...all you needed were a few italicized words for emphasis! Nice tale of smallworldness indeed! ThankYOU and that goes as well to your SNC colleagues, for letting that impressionable moment in '92 and others like it have their way during the past almost two decades. Just guessing here...but I think we all have only the greatest appreciation for those unique threads that have become woven together and continue to be expressed today as you guys pursue and reflect excellence and class in a capella music. Trist....Ryan shared with Kath and me a few anecdotes about your immediate impact/M-pact during a recent conversation. Looking forward to shaking your hand soon. To all the members of Team SNC (whether on stage before, during, or after a show, or driving a pair of busses and another vehicle with equipment safely through the early morning hours as others sleep, or handling merch or lights or sound or other details) and your loved ones who watch from afar...as you travel across this incredible country between now and the end of December, may the Lord bless you and keep you (ask Ryan for the rest...he knows it).
CailinAingeal's picture

Great blog Don. It really is a small world. Trist, welcome to the Straight No Chaser family.
Tic Tac Lady's picture

Wow..small world indeed...amazing how people come in and out of your life at different times!...especially gratifying when they come BACK in (perhaps unbeknownst) at a *needed* time! Yep, Korby has become increasingly popular in his own right...and no doubt with the increased popularity of SNC has found himself running to and fro doing all kinds of stuff we probably never have considered or realized that someone had to do! (Soothe security at midnight while devoted Chasers have hung around to take pictures??...not to mention taking some of the pictures himself for the afore mentioned fans?? ^ ~ ^). Welcome Trist...here's your life "With A Twist"...enjoy the ride!!
Shaina's picture

Wait. Tony Huerta is on The Sing-Off right now; he put together Urban Method. So, you met him AND Trist when you were fifteen? Who did *I* meet when I was fifteen?! Y'know, the first part of this story sounds a lot like that fateful December day when young Shaina was a junior in high school, and after having taken her French final, went with her mother to the Largo in Los Angeles to see some a cappella group that had made it big on YouTube... Of course, I haven't gotten that far into the future yet, so I can't tell how much of an impact that 10-man a cappella group (I think their name is Straight, No Chaser? Or maybe they'd gotten rid of that pesky comma...) made in my life. Yet. Anyways. Welcome, Trist, to the Straight No Chaser family! Please don't be alarmed by us weirdos. (Wait, that should have read "Chasers," not "weirdos." But I digress.) And thanks, Don, for sharing this great story!
DottieK's picture

I love your blogs, Don! You are just a great writer! What a cool story! Who would have thought?? I hope Trist is properly prepared for Chaser craziness. :) Welcome!
MaryDSinTX's picture

Thanks, Don! I didn't realize there were high schools with as many as 2 acappella groups in the 90's. Don, it's nice to learn where you were first inspired by acappella. Welcome to the world of SNC, Trist Curless!! I was at the Dallas &Tulsa shows. You were rockin' the bass there, and we LOVED it!! Keep up the good work.
Brittain's picture

Welcome Trist! Great story Don, thanks for sharing!
ToriCanuck's picture

Thanks for sharing this amazing story, Don! And welcome, Trist!
LovedeAcapella's picture

I'm enjoying a little bit of #acanerd heaven right now.
Amanda_5's picture

That is an awesome story! Welcome Trist!
kayzie's picture

Don, Thanx for the update. Enjoyed the blog very much. A big WELCOME TO CHASERVILLE to Trist. Enjoy the ride. You are right---It's a Small World After Alll~~~~~and a great world.
AngieTheCanuck's picture

Awesome story! Small world indeed! (PS: This Canuck approves of your use of the word "eh" in the sentence "Small world, eh?")
waterfallprincess's picture

Wow, that's amazing and so cool! Hi Trist, welcome to the madness! :o) Now for the most important question: Do you have a Twitter?