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October 5, 2005

Chapter 6 blends harmonies, humor

Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewn (PA):

Not many bands can build a career on singing about their love for donuts. But Chapter 6, an a cappella band from Chicago, garners attention with their ballad about Krispy Kreme donuts. Several years ago, group members were stunned to discover that two of them had never tasted a Krispy Kreme donut. While on the road one night, the group stopped at a store and purchased several dozen donuts. The result, which was written for a performance at an awards show, is the popular "Ode to Krispy Kreme."

"That was an inspiring moment," says Chuck Bosworth, the group's baritone. Humor is just one of the aspects that has turned Chapter 6 into an award winning band in such a short time. People will be able to see what all the fuss is about when Chapter 6 performs Oct. 8 at the Robert S. Carey Performing Arts Center, St. Vincent College, near Latrobe.

Since the group's formation six years ago, Chapter Six has garnered a number of awards. In 2000, they became the youngest group to win the Chicago Regional Harmony Sweepstakes. They went on to become that competition's grand champions three times. In 2004, they made history when they won both the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella and the Harmony Sweepstakes. Last month, Chapter 6 was honored at the A Cappella Community Awards with five awards, including favorite jazz group, favorite religious group, favorite songwriter and arranger for band member Mark Grizzard, and favorite male vocalist runner-up for band member Luke Menard. "It was a huge blessing," Bosworth says about the recent awards. "We just want to go out and have a good time and want our audiences to have a good time. I think the awards reflect that that is happening."

Bosworth met his fellow band mates -- Grizzard, Menard, John Musick, Nathan Pufall, A.D. Stonecipher and Jarrett Johnson -- when they attended college at Millikin University in Decatur, IL. A musical group Chapter 6 had existed at the school for years, rotating members out as they graduated from the school. The group was disbanding when Bosworth and the others decided to compete in a competition during their senior year. When they won, the group decided to keep Chapter 6 alive and see if they could make a career out of their love for singing.

The band derives its name from the biblical book of Acts, chapter six, versus 3-4. The Bible verse reveals the story of seven Christians who like to help people through their love of music and song. The group openly admits that faith plays an important role in their life, but it does not dominate their music. "We're all Christians," says Bosworth. "(Jesus) is the rock we lean on. We don't want to preach to people or shove anything down their throats." "We want to play to the audience we are playing to, but we want to be honest about who we are," says Musick, adding that 10 percent of the show consists of Christian music.

What may be more prevalent in their music than faith is their love of humor. Chapter 6 has developed a reputation for entertaining crowds with their versions of the "Wizard of Oz" story and other musical medleys. The "Wizard of Oz" "is our staple song," says Musick. "It always works well. We all take roles. We play a bit more theatrically on that. The arrangement is one of the best arrangements in a cappella music." "We believe God has a sense of humor," says Bosworth. "We want people to walk out of our shows feeling good. We think humor is a key to that."

Bosworth and Musick promise a variety of music in their up-coming show. The band performs jazz, gospel, swing and pop. "We even try to do rock 'n' roll a cappella," says Bosworth. Musick warns audience members that they may be called on stage during the show. The group will also honor any requests.

Chapter 6 travels the country performing at many colleges and universities. They also perform at high schools and offer those students a master class in singing. Churches are another venue, where the group focuses on gospel arrangements. They have also begun performing a 1950s-inspired show and hope to perform in some country-music venues. Musick, who sings bass and is the band's music director, began singing when he was a child. Most of the men share the same love of music and early discovery of talent. "A lot of the guys would have the same story," says Musick. "Choir was good, but didn't fill them up in a way." The band has released four albums, which have sold more than 18,000 copies. The latest, "Swing Shift" is receiving critical praise since it's release last spring. That album won three nominations from the 2005 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, with "The Wizard of Oz" winning for best humor song.

Posted by acapnews at October 5, 2005 12:12 AM