These Gentlemen rule

2012-11-16T00:00:00Z 2013-11-04T16:40:51Z These Gentlemen ruleEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

There's a new musical entity on the scene.

With a powerhouse blend and infectious personalities, the 10-member male a cappella group Gentleman's Rule took the stage for the first time this week at Chicago's Royal George Theatre. They'll perform through Nov. 25 in the Windy City prior to taking their show on the road.

Gentleman's Rule, established earlier this year, is being managed by the team effort of Charlie Blum, president/CEO of Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville and creator of the a cappella group Under the Streetlamp, and Dan Ponce, reporter/anchor for WGN-TV, radio host on WLS Radio (890 AM) and founder of the hit group Straight No Chaser. Ponce, who was also a former member of Straight No Chaser, is the son of WTTW's "Chicago Tonight" host Phil Ponce, a native of East Chicago.

"Dan and I met through a mutual friend at WTTW who put the two of us together and we basically bonded," said Blum. "He knows music and I know the business so we became fast friends."

He said both he and Ponce are happy to bring this vibrant group to the musical forefront. With this project, Blum added that Star Productions continues to expand its reach beyond the Star Plaza Theatre.

"Currently, Star Productions produces and presents shows in numerous markets across the country," Blum said.

Ponce said the members of Gentleman's Rule are a great group of guys with a solid and creative musical background.

"All the guys are graduates of IU [Indiana University] and all are former members of Straight No Chaser," he said, explaining the singers were part of the undergraduate Straight No Chaser which is affiliated with the school and not the professional touring entity. IU's Straight No Chaser was recently renamed Another Round.

Gentleman's Rule is comprised of TJ Breen, Corey Frye, Drew Kipfer, Will Lockhart, Brent Mann, Luke Mechling, Andrew Morstein, Holland Nightenheiser, Jasper Smith and Jesse Townes. The singers range from 22 to 29 years of age.

Ponce said while Straight No Chaser is a "trailblazing" group, the members of Gentleman's Rule also stand out for their vocal talents and energy.

"I'm blown away by the star soloists that are in Gentleman's Rule," Ponce said, adding that the group itself has a young sound.

Added Blum, "They bring a younger vitality and a wider music selection. It's a different look" from other groups such as Under the Streetlamp and Straight No Chaser.

Ponce said that with a cappella, "there's nothing to hide behind" vocally.

The group's first album, "Act Accordingly," debuted this week and contains a mix of tunes. Ponce and Deke Sharon produce and write the group's vocal arrangements.

"They do a great variety of music," Ponce said. Everything from contemporary tunes to old school hits are tackled by the guys.

Blum and Ponce agreed it's been rewarding working together and they admire one another's past accomplishments.

"Dan's success with Straight No Chaser is well-known," Blum said. "He's taken that strength and genius and applied it to Gentleman's Rule."

Ponce said he's sure "Straight No Chaser fans are going to like this group."

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