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February 28, 2013

Dapper Dans hit boy-band land

Orlando Sentinel (FL):

Barbershop meets boy band in this week's edition of Limited Time Magic, the yearlong series of special events at Disney World.

The Dapper Dans, an a cappella quartet that has been at Magic Kingdom since its opening in 1971, are performing a medley of hits retrofitted in their barbershop style. I saw a preview of the numbers a couple of months ago, and although it's initially jarring to hear a verse of 'N Sync's "Bye, Bye, Bye" in throwback style, ultimately it's entertaining.

I chatted last week with Myron Whittlesey, 32, who has performed with the group since 2005, about the boy-band phase and about the Dans in general. They were told about this Limited Time event in October, and, at first, he wasn't sure how that might sound, he says.

"With my experience with barbershop, some things have worked before which maybe I thought wouldn't — but I was definitely curious to see how it would fit together … with the style of barbershop harmony and the boy-band tunes that we're actually doing," he says.

The Dans performed the medley a few times before this week, including at a Disney announcement in New York City and before a gathering of international media at Walt Disney World in December.

"Every time that we've gone through that song, the folks have kind of been on the edge of their seat like, 'OK, what song are they going to do now?'" he says. "As soon as they recognize it, it's been reactions of 'Oh, this is cool' or laughter — but not necessarily making-fun-of laughter, more of appreciating what we're doing with it, basically."

A relatively recent modernization helps spread the Dapper Dan joy on Main Street. In late 2010, group members started wearing lavaliere microphones on their striped lapels. Their voices are amplified through speakers. Read more.

The four current Dapper Dans at Magic Kingdom are Myron Whittlesey (clockwise from top right), Kevin Souppa, Ken Thiboult and Chad Bennett

Posted by acapnews at February 28, 2013 12:00 AM