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Volume 26, Number 12 — December 2018

Two classics at ETSU

Chanticleer is an all-male a cappella ensemble.
Chanticleer is an all-male a cappella ensemble.

September 30, 2015

Two genres of "classic" music strike different chords in October at Mary B. Martin School of the Arts, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tenn.

The music begins, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in ETSU's Culp Auditorium, with the classic country of Christopher and Taylor Malpass, The Malpass Brothers say they are working to make "real country music cool again." As October winds down, another classic, Chanticleer, dubbed the "Rolls Royce" of men's choruses by The Los Angeles Times, presents a concert in Culp Auditorium Sunday, Oct. 25, at 6 p.m.

With early-Elvis hairstyles and an authentic mix of country, rockabilly and honky-tonk, The Malpass Brothers are unabashed purveyors of tradition from Goldsboro, N.C., transporting audiences "back 50 years," says The Californian.

"These guys don't just sound retro. They are retro," reports Dan MacIntosh of Roothog Radio.

"We usually bring in groups that are more established than The Malpass Brothers," says Mary B. Martin School of the Arts Director Anita DeAngelis, "but it's also important for us to support high quality up-and-coming artists, as well."

Traditional country music is the "real deal," lead singer Christopher Malpass says. "Every song portrays life's joys, heartaches, problems and happiness. It comes from the heart and has depth and truth ... Our goal, really, is to see this music be revived, to help ensure it doesn't fade away."

ETSU's Pride Band, composed of students in ETSU's Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies, open the 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $5 for students of all ages with ID, $15 seniors 60 and over and $20 general admission.

What Chanticleer, an all-male a cappella ensemble, lacks in instrumentation, they make up for in what The Boston Globe calls its "accuracy of intonation, purity of blend, variety of color and swagger of style."

While the two-time Grammy-winning ensemble was founded in 1978 with the mission of bringing Renaissance music back to the stage, the group now hailed by The New Yorker as "the world's reigning male chorus" travels the world to perform music spanning more than 10 centuries, from medieval plainchant to modern pop.

Bringing the Grammy-winning group is the result of a collaboration with ETSU's department of music, DeAngelis says. "It took us a while to get on Chanticleer's schedule," she says. "They are in very high demand internationally. ETSU has such a strong vocal music program and there are so many vocal groups in our region, this is really an opportunity to bring the community together for something very special."

The ensemble has amassed more than 30 albums, as well as having been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame, started its own National Youth Choral Festival and been recognized for its education programs with young singers.

Chanticleer takes its name from the clear-singing rooster in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and has gained an international reputation for its "seamless blend of its 12 male voices ranging from soprano to bass," and its diverse repertoire and mix of styles and textures.

The ETSU Chorale performs a pre-concert, starting at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for Chanticleer are $10 for students of all ages with ID, $25 seniors 60 and over and $30 general admission.