HomeContemporary A Cappella League Spotlight: Redline

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They don't say which Boston restaurant, but Matthew Craig and Dave Raiser say they're sitting in the same place where Redline began.

“Yeah, we're currently sitting in the place where we started talking about a group two years ago, it was early November, I believe,” said Craig. Almost 24 months after Craig and Raiser decided to form Redline, there are now 11 members of the all-male a cappella group involved, three of whom were just added recently.

Craig and Raiser said the decision to expand the group came from trying to juggle everyone's schedules. “When you've got a big group of people like that, and then you add gigs into the mix, people's schedules, it can be hard to make sure everyone can come,” said Raiser. “Then you start getting into, one person sings a certain part and if they're not there, you can't perform that song. It limits your repertoire,” added Craig.

Also, not being in a school setting, which is where most of the members are coming from, has its own challenges. “Not being in a school environment, with 11 members who have a day job, yeah, it can be difficult to get everyone together, but we've got an enthusiastic bunch of guys who want to do this,” said Raiser, adding that some members drive up to 45 minutes to reach Redline's rehearsal space.

Craig said the group's current repertoire is a mix of standards and more “Top 40, modern” a cappella that many groups across the country are embracing. “We know that there are certain songs that people like to hear and want to know, want to sing along.

“But we also wanted to showcase a few songs that aren't as well-known...show what we can do.” Some of those songs include Moxy Fruvus' “Fell in Love” and All American Rejects' “Gives You Hell”.

Raiser said choosing their songs is a “very democratic process,” involving all the members of the group, and made easier by the fact many group members arrange their own material. Songs are then sent out to all the members in MIDI format so members can learn their parts without wasting valuable rehearsal time. This also makes it easier for new members to learn the group's bulk of material quickly.

Craig said they know they're fighting a stereotype about the genre of music they sing.

“People, when they hear us, they're surprised. Most people when they think a cappella, they think barbershop, right? Well, so they're surprised when they hear what we can do, when they hear that song that's been on the radio recently.”

Currently Redline's focus is getting their newest members up to speed and concentrating on holiday repertoire.

“There are songs people just want to hear during the holidays,” said Craig.

But a slightly more long-term goal is to cut the group's first EP and to make themselves more well-known in Boston, where Raiser said there are several a cappella groups.

“We've got a holiday gig, we've done the usual singing on the streets,” said Craig. “Word of mouth does wonders.”

Find Redline online at www.redlineboston.com.

About the author:
Elisha Dacey is a writer and photographer living in Kelowna, British Columbia. She sang soprano for Winnipeg, Manitoba's only professional a cappella group, Mindset, for 15 years.