In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
CVX is an entertaining award-winning five-member a cappella group based in Chicago. CVX is a three -time winner of the Midwest Harmony Sweepstakes competition, and has entertained crowds at venues such as sports events (Cubs, Sox and Bulls games, the World Cup), holiday events, festivals, industry conferences and bake sales.
In the Summer of 1991, Thano Chaltas and Tim Eaton moved to the Chicago area from Boston, where they had been members of the esoteric and offbeat performance art group " Thano's Boyz ". Thano and Tim were eager to bring their nutty a cappella vision to Chicago, and set about recruiting for a new group. It was difficult to find potential members who met the twin criteria that Thano and Tim had laid out (being able to sing, and willing to sing rather than argue). Just when Thano and Tim were about to shelve the plans for a group, they met Peter Harlan and Joe Dennis (recently of the seminal folk-blues trio " Peter, Joe, and Amy "). Peter and Joe were also looking to found an a cappella group in Chicago. After a 2 hour session at the 3D Goethe Studio in Old Town, the four agreed to start a group. Soon after that first meeting, the group found its fifth original member, Dan MacDonald.
One of the first actions of the group was to argue long and hard about what the name of the group should be. There were a whole host of possible names: WeWopDoo (from Peter Harlan, master of cheese), New Caboose, Vox Populi, Digital Voice Exchange, Five Guys named Moe, etc. Eventually, a compromise was reached with Chicago Voice Exchange. Hurrah.
The first time CVX sang in front of a (captive) audience was at a party in a friend's apartment in November of 1991. During the holiday season of 1991, CVX sang for shoppers in the streets of Chicago. This was, surprisingly, not a bad way to make a few bucks. Less than an hour of singing could lead to hours of inebriation thanks to the gentle citizens who appreciated the a cappella chestnuts roasting away on Michigan Avenue.
The group's first foray into the world of amplification came at the Harmony Sweepstakes competition in the Spring of 1992. Having just learned a jazzed-up National Anthem arrangement, the group led off the 10 minute competition set with a patriotic display that left most of the audience in total confusion. Soon after this debacle, the group purchased a sound system.
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Review: CVX has wowed us from more than one Harmony Sweepstakes Finals stage, and this is their raucous, more than slightly irreverent, fun Christmas CD! 14 songs: 'Jingle Bells,' a jazzy, driving 'Carol O' Bells,' the Beach Boys' 'Little St. Nick,' 'We Three Kings,' 'Santa Claus' (who has whether you've been good or bad 'on videotape'), a delightfully oily 'Mr. Grinch,' 'Deck The Hall,' 'Mistletoe and Holly,' 'Holly Jolly Christmas,' the requisite 'Rudolph,' 'Silent Night,' the hilarious 'Walkin' Round In Women's Underwear' ('Later on, if ya wanna, we can dress like Madonna'),the raunchy, macho 'Better Open Up My Present,' and finally 'Feliz Navidad,' which becomes the little-known Jewish carol--'Feliz Hannukah.' This is a party Christmas CD--not for everyone, but then it doesn't try to be!
Songlist: Jingle Bells, Carol O' Bells, Little St. Nick, We Three Kings, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, Gabriel's Message, Deck The Halls, You're A Mean One Mr Grinch, White Christmas, Mistletoe and Holly, Holly Jolly Christmas, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Gloria In Excelsis, Silent Night, Walkin' Around, You'rd Better Open Up My Present, Feliz Navidad
Review: CVX presents us with a wide variety of covers, Todd Rundgren's 'Hodja,' a doo wop 'In The Still Of The Night,' the Grateful Dead's 'Uncle John's Band,' to name a few. The delight of the album is found in the humor of the originals all of which poke sympathetic fun at social stereotypes. Yuppie yucks, falling in love, lost love drowned in booze, feeling bad, the inertia in small towns and the terminally straight-laced are all dealt with by these 1995 and 1997 Harmony Sweepstakes Chicago Regional winners. They're a complete delight.
Songlist: Hodja, Yuppie Refugee, In The Still Of The Night, High & Lonesome, Uncle John's Band, Mexican Polka, That Lonesome Road, The Beat Goes On, Message In A Bottle, Rooftop Dancing, Tempted, It's Only Life, Inertiaville, Love The One Your With, Carry On
Review: Ecoute! C'est bon! Magnifique! However, this CD is neither live nor recorded in Paris - nor is it a collection of French 'chansons' - so I guess we're not in on the joke, but what it is is a musically diverse, often sardonic and thoroughly solid slate of songs. Disco schtick ('Grooveline/YMCA'), cartoon themes ('Underdog') and seventies soul ('Midnight Train to Georgia') are interpreted fervently, but the originals have the staying power: 'The IHOP Song,' 'Crocodile Tears,' and the Sweepstakes best original song winner, 'So Far,' which nails those dulcet Beach Boys-type harmonies to the most engaging of melodies.
Songlist: Spiderman, Crocodile Tears, Grooveline/ YMCA, Stray Cat Strut, It's All Right, So Far, Midnight Train To Georgia, (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher, Underdog, Raccoon, The IHOP Song, Mary, I Hear The Fat Lady Singing