The Choir (alternative rock band)
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|Origin||Orange County, California|
|Genres||Christian alternative rock|
|Labels||Broken, Shadow, Myrrh LA/A&M, Myrrh, Epic, Glasshouse, R.E.X., Tattoo, Galaxy21|
The Choir is an atmospheric Christian alternative rock band, led by Derri Daugherty on guitar and vocals, Steve Hindalong on drums—who also writes most of the band's lyrics—along with Tim Chandler on bass guitar, Dan Michaels on saxophone and lyricon and Marc Byrd on guitar (since 2005). As of 2016, the band has released 14 studio albums, three EPs, five live albums, one single-disc compilation, and one retrospective box set. The band maintains an extensive tour schedule both collectively and on individual projects.
The Choir was originally formed as Youth Choir in the early 1980s by Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong. The two songwriters had been introduced by a mutual friend, the bass guitarist Tim Chandler, who was touring with Daniel Amos along with Daugherty, who was the band's roadie and sound man at the time. Hindalong and Daugherty quickly became friends and a songwriting team. Youth Choir became part of the Calvary Chapel Christian punk and alternative music scene, which also included the bands Undercover, Crumbächer, Altar Boys and 4-4-1.
The Choir's music has been described by the Los Angeles Times as "magical songs that combine strains of murky psychedelia with pure pop." Billboard praised the band for its "dark poetic leanings, effects-laden guitars and strong melodic hooks". In 1984, Youth Choir became the first band to play at the Cornerstone Festival. By 1986, the band dropped the "Youth" from its name and began calling itself simply The Choir. Hindalong began writing most of the lyrics for the band at this point, songs that are known for their vulnerability and honesty, particularly about the challenges inherent in romantic relationships and the simple joys of family life.
Although the band has long had a cult following among listeners of Christian alternative music, that did not translate into financial success within the Contemporary Christian music (CCM) industry, nor did it lead to a successful mainstream crossover experienced by later groups like Jars of Clay, Switchfoot and Sixpence None the Richer, who have pointed to The Choir as a significant musical influence. As a result, the band nearly called it quits in 1996 after their final U.S. tour, a few years after Daugherty, Hindalong and Michaels moved from their homes in Southern California to Nashville, Tennessee, since much of the CCM industry is now based there. The difficulty of this move also made its way into the lyrics of the band's songs, primarily Speckled Bird. Nevertheless, the band continued recording, and were awarded a GMA Dove Award for Best Modern/Alternative Rock Album for Free Flying Soul in 1997. Five years later, they received a nomination for Best Rock Gospel Album at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards for their album, Flap Your Wings, released in 2000.
In spring 2005, The Choir returned to the dreamlike rock sound of Chase the Kangaroo and Circle Slide with the album, O How the Mighty Have Fallen, thanks to the influence of new band member Marc Byrd. He also produced the album, which was released independently on the band's own Galaxy21 label. Two months later, on August 19, 2005, The Choir played a 20th anniversary concert at Mariners Church in Irvine, California, along with 4-4-1, Altar Boys, Crumbächer and Undercover, in order to acknowledge the birth of the Christian alternative music scene under the aegis of Calvary Chapel in the early 1980s. Although The Choir had essentially ceased touring, the overwhelmingly positive response to this one-off concert led to a short series of tour dates to support O How the Mighty Have Fallen in the early part of 2006. A DVD of the Irvine concert was promised, but has yet to be released.
After a five-year recording hiatus, The Choir released two full-length studio albums in 2010. On June 29, The Choir released Burning Like the Midnight Sun, which received some of the most positive reviews of the band's entire career. Jeff Elbel, writing for the Spin Control column in the Chicago Sun-Times, called the album "a late-career triumph" and remarked that Midnight Sun was the band's "second exceptional album in a row, and its best since 1990's landmark Circle Slide". As of November 14, 2010, Burning Like the Midnight Sun has earned aggregate five-star reviews from consumers on both Amazon.com and the iTunes Store. In response, Daugherty and Hindalong went into the studio again, this time with cellist Matt Slocum of Sixpence None the Richer, to record de-plumed, a collection of acoustic reinterpretations of one song from each of their 12 prior studio albums. De-plumed was released on November 9, shortly after the band embarked on a multi-city acoustic tour.
On April 17, 2012, the band released The Loudest Sound Ever Heard, to fans who pre-ordered it, a month before the album hit retail. In April 2012, the band embarked on a tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of Chase the Kangaroo, playing the album in its entirety, including tracks like "Cain" that had never before been performed live. It marked the first time in 16 years that bassist Tim Chandler toured with the band. In July 2012, The Choir was the last band to play at the final gathering of the Cornerstone Festival in commemoration of their inaugural 1984 performance.
In September 2013, The Choir began a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of releasing a new studio album and live album in 2014. To promote the campaign, the band hosted a live acoustic concert on Livestream on October 1 of that year, during which the band talked about plans for the new album, answered fan questions, and performed several songs from their music catalog. Derri Daugherty also performed a Livestream solo acoustic show on October 27 as a token of appreciation to Choir fans for their years of support. When the Kickstarter campaign concluded, the band had more than doubled their $25,000 goal, raising $54,268 from 791 backers. Because of the success of their campaign, The Choir recorded a 5-song Christmas EP, Peace, Love & Light, which was released on November 27, 2013 to Kickstarter backers who pledged $60 or more. The live album, LIVE and ON the WING in Music City, was released in 2014, and the audio version of the Lifestream concert was released in 2015.
Each band member has worked on numerous projects outside The Choir: Hindalong produced the successful City on a Hill series of worship albums, co-writing the well-known song "God of Wonders" with band-mate Byrd. Daugherty has been a member of the contemporary Christian supergroup Lost Dogs since 1991, with Hindalong recently joining the group. Daugherty also released an instrumental solo project titled "Echo in Blue". Chandler has been the bass guitar player for Daniel Amos for many years, pre-dating his work with The Choir. Byrd was a member of Common Children and recorded with his wife Christine Glass as Glassbyrd.
- Derri Daugherty - lead vocals, guitars
- Steve Hindalong - drums, vocals
- Dan Michaels - saxophone, lyricon
- Tim Chandler - bass guitar, vocals
- Marc Byrd - guitars, vocals
- Mike Sauerbrey - bass guitar
- Robin Spurs - bass guitar, vocals
- 1985 Voices in Shadows
- 1986 Diamonds and Rain
- 1988 Chase the Kangaroo
- 1989 Wide-Eyed Wonder
- 1990 Circle Slide
- 1993 Kissers and Killers
- 1994 Speckled Bird
- 1996 Free Flying Soul
- 2000 Flap Your Wings
- 2005 O How the Mighty Have Fallen
- 2010 Burning Like the Midnight Sun
- 2010 de-plumed
- 2012 The Loudest Sound Ever Heard
- 2014 Shadow Weaver
- 1997 Let It Fly
- 2000 Live at Cornerstone 2000: Plugged
- 2000 Live at Cornerstone 2000: Unplugged
- 2014 LIVE and ON the WING in Music City
- 2015 The Livestream Bootleg
- "I Can't Take It" b/w "Here in the Night (live)" (7" single) (1985)
- "Travelin' Light (demo)" (MySpace digital download) (2004)
- "The Sun Also Rises" (MySpace music stream) (2006)
- "Babe in the Straw" (iTunes digital download) (2010)
- "Shadow of the Cross" (iTunes digital download) (2012)
- "Beautiful Girl" (iTunes digital download) (2013)
Appearances on other works
- 1983 What's Shakin' ["It's So Wonderful"]
- 1989 The Myrrh Radio Collection, Volume 1 ["Someone to Hold Onto"]
- 1993 Brow Beat: Unplugged Alternative ["Wilderness" (acoustic version)]
- 1993 Third Wave ["Kissers and Killers"]
- 1994 Can You Dig It? ["Kissers and Killers"]
- 1994 Strong Hand of Love ["Tip of My Tongue"]
- 1995 Contemporary Adult Music for the 90's ["Wilderness"]
- 1996 Orphans of God ["Tip of My Tongue"]
- 1996 Seltzer: Modern Rock to Settle Your Soul ["The Ocean"]
- 1998 Grab Bag Candy Sampler, Volume 1 ["Flowing Over Me" (demo version)]
- 2003 Contemporary Christian Hits: A Collage ["Grace"]
- 1989 Wide-Eyed Wonder Videos (includes two music videos and feature-length documentary)
- 1996 Sled Dog concept video
- 1996 Tattoo Video Hoopla (includes an entire live performance from Cornerstone '96)
Solo releases by members of The Choir
- 1991 Reveal [EP] - Dan Michaels
- 1998 Skinny - Steve Hindalong
- 2002 A Few Unfinished Songs [EP] - Derri Daugherty
- 2003 Open Wide This Window - Glassbyrd (Marc Byrd and Christine Glass)
- 2011 Clouds Echo in Blue - Clouds Echo in Blue (Derri Daugherty)
- 2016 The Warbler - Steve Hindalong
- 2016 Hush Sorrow - Derri Daugherty
- Thompson, John J. "Bio of The Choir, originally published in True Tunes magazine". Retrieved November 13, 2009.
- "Join The Choir To Create A New Studio Album & Live Album By The Choir". Kickstarter. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
- "Facebook: The Choir". Retrieved November 13, 2009.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 168. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
- "God Of Wonders". Ca.songselect.com. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 539–42. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
- "TheLostDogs.com". The Lost Dogs. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 226–32. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. p. 190. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.