straight no chaser | SIMA

I don’t think I appreciated a cappella music until I went to college and saw a live performance of the Boston University Dear Abbeys. I have a vivid memory of them singing “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder… or was it a-ha’s “Take on Me?” Regardless, I was instantly hooked and spent many hours downloading a cappella music on Napster (remember Napster?) from more college groups, including The Brown Derbies, UVA’s Hullabahoos and The Beezlebubs from Tufts.

A couple of years later, my future husband was a member of the Dear Abbeys when they won the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) in New York City. One of the groups they beat was Straight No Chaser from Indiana University. So when I heard this summer that an alumni spin-off of Straight No Chaser would be playing at the Omaha Music Hall in September, I had to buy J tickets for his birthday.

Since J’s birthday was during his deployment, Thursday night’s concert was our belated celebration. You have no idea how tempted J was to make a large sign to hold up that said “We Kicked Your Ass at ICCA!” Among the crowd of middle-aged couples and school-aged children, J tried his best not to judge SNC’s arrangements but couldn’t help but laugh when they sang “Africa” by Toto. In the dark he updated his Facebook status to “hahahahahahahahah they’re doing Africa!!! it sounds exactly like the arrangement the Abbeys locked in the dungeon of “forget this ever happened” so long ago!”

J thought one of their best performances of the night was their rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” I really enjoyed the “I’m Yours”/”Somewhere Over the Rainbow” mash-up they sang early on in the evening (see video). That should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me and my immense love for Jason Mraz. Another highlight of the show for both of us was their Lady Gaga tribute. I actually would’ve been disappointed if they didn’t cover Lady Gaga, so the fact that they mixed together like four of her hits into one song was amazing.

Also, is it just me or does the a cappella version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” make anybody else think of that scene from “ER” when Dr. Mark Greene goes to Hawaii to die? It’s always the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear it, and it depresses me.