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Chanticleer, Cappella Group Embarks On National Holiday Tour

Chanticleer, a renowned cappella group founded in San Francisco in 1978, is set to bring their unique vocal talents to 19 cities with 24 concerts across the country this holiday season. Known as “an orchestra of voices,” the group consists of twelve male singers with a vocal range from countertenor to bass and offers original interpretations of vocal literature spanning from Renaissance to jazz and gospel.

The Chanticleers will perform at Disney Hall on December 13.

What was your journey to joining Chanticleer?

Tavian Cox (TC): I recently submitted some videos and went out to San Francisco to audition.

Cortez Mitchell (CM): I sent in a CD and went through the audition process, joining the group in 2007 after discovering them during my undergrad years.

How do you create the unique blend of sound and voices?

CM: We consider both the individual voices and the overall group when crafting our sound, refining it during the rehearsal process to achieve a seamless blend.

How long are your rehearsals?

CM: We typically have four to five weeks of rehearsals before starting a tour.

How do you choose songs for the holiday tour?

TC: Our music director largely influences the repertoire selection, which includes both staple pieces and those tailored to the group of singers.

CM: We aim to provide variety, featuring standard carols, jazz arrangements, spirituals, and gospel songs.

Are most performance halls similar to Disney Hall in LA?

CM: Our performances can range from intimate venues with 250 attendees to larger halls accommodating up to 2,500 people.

Do you have a favorite genre or type of music to sing?

TC: I enjoy the classical and non-classical sides of my voice, with a love for early music and gospel and R&B respectively.

CM: Outside of Chanticleer, I have a passion for gospel and R&B, in addition to my background in opera.

Was your training mostly through college or private lessons?

CM: I pursued a master’s degree in vocal performance, focusing on opera but always cherishing choir singing.

TC: While obtaining a degree in voice, I received training in opera, appreciating the similarities between opera and choral performance.

What is it like to tour with 12 men?

TC: It can be both exciting and grueling, but we often find time to explore the cities we visit.

How do you take care of your voices?

CM: Each singer has unique methods to care for their voice, being mindful of its needs and signals.

Do you get breaks between locations?

TC: Our schedule varies, with some back-to-back performances and our busiest period leading up to Christmas.

What is your favorite song from this concert?

CM: “Village Wedding,” a piece that won a Grammy, holds a special place for me, while TC enjoys “Lullaby” for its seamless cohesion.

Where are you both originally from? Do you miss your hometowns?

CM: Detroit Michigan. I miss the seasonal changes.

TC: Jacksonville Florida. San Francisco is a new and enjoyable experience for me.

What is the ratio of veteran group members to new members?

CM: We have a diverse mix of veterans and newer members, contributing to our group’s dynamic.

Chanticleer Christmas will be performing at Walt Disney Hall on Wednesday, December 13 at 8pm and will continue touring nationally throughout the year.

Image Source: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock

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